Foster Continues to Stand Against Rays' Plans to Leave St. Pete

St. Pete Mayor Bill Foster speaks to a town hall meeting sponsored by USF St. Pete's Neighborhood News Bureau
ST. PETERSBURG (2011-9-1) -

Saint Petersburg Mayor Bill Foster continues to play hardball when it comes to the Tampa Bay Rays' future plans.

Echoing a letter he wrote to the St. Petersburg Times' editorial board earlier this week, Foster continued insisting Thursday that the Rays must honor their contract to play in Tropicana Field until 2027.

"The idea of ignoring the comitment and obligation of the Rays and Major League Baseball to the taxpayers of St. Petersburg and Pinellas County, not gonna do it, I'm not gonna do it."

During a town hall meeting sponsored by USF St. Petersburg's Neighborhood News Bureau, Foster said he has heard some Rays' officials, including manager Joe Madden, complain about the conditions of Tropicana Field, but only through the media.

"The city and the Rays, we need to be talking, and right now, regretfully for me, I'm the only one talking and I'm tired of talking," Foster said, tapping his hand on the table for emphasis. "We need to sit down at the table, and look at what has been proposed and see if we can't get some movement."

That "movement" does not include the Rays moving to Tampa or anywhere other than another site in Pinellas County.

"And any discussions that cross (the) Howard Frankland (Bridge), other than Hillsborough residents filling up the Trop, those are going to be met with some resistance."

Foster says he'd like to sit down with Rays' officials to discuss their future plans after the season ends.

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