The ongoing saga of where the Tampa Bay Rays will be play baseball in the future continues. We learned this week that the latest Ybor option is off the table as the stadium would be too tall. Months ago, that notion of a split season with Montreal was scrapped. So what’s next? Twitter is abuzz that the idea of putting a stadium at the Florida State Fairgrounds in Tampa could be the move. It’s always been the option that seems to make the most sense to me for the 3 most obvious of reasons. Location, location, location.
There’s no perfect location for a new Rays stadium. But being at the intersection of I-4 and 75 means it would be easier to get to for most Tampa Bay residents. The Fairgrounds would be a heck of a lot easier for fans out of town in Polk County and Orlando. Tropicana Field is convenient only for those who live on the southern side of Pinellas County. For those of us on the north side near the Howard Frankland, a stadium in Tampa near the casino won’t be a major change in commute time. Will it be a quick and easy drive? No. But nothing is in this town because we won’t have good public transportation in place anytime soon.
I did like the idea of an Ybor stadium as long as it had a roof and was smaller than the Trop. Poor attendance at baseball games isn’t unique to The Trop. But if you were to have it in an area that’s going through the growth like we’re seeing near Amalie Arena and if you keep the size of the stadium to something more reasonable, I think it would have worked. But that idea is off the table for now, so it’s time to go back to the drawing board.
The biggest complaint many had about the Ybor idea was parking. What many didn’t realize is that radius within walking distance of the proposed site had enough parking. And obviously, more parking options would have been built. As for the Fairgrounds, you’ve got a lot more options. The area is already equipped to handle thousands of concert goers.
What do you think? Is keeping the team in Tampa Bay even important to you? If so, where would you put a new stadium? Tweet your thoughts at @GenoRadio and I’ll include them below.