Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig weighed in Tuesday on the politically charged debate in St. Petersburg over the future of the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field.
Selig said in a press conference before baseball’s All-Star Game that the Rays needed a new stadium, giving weight to similar claims made by Rays owner Stuart Sternberg last month. Sternberg vowed in a press conference that his team would not be playing in Tropicana in 2027 when the team’s lease with the City of St. Petersburg expires.
Sternberg drew city officials’ ire when he also said a search for possible sites for a new stadium should include areas outside the city. One study by the ABC Coalition commissioned by the city also found that viable sites should include Tampa.
After Sternberg’s announcement, St. Petersburg major Bill Foster said the city would enforce the lease binding the Rays to play in Tropicana through 2027, as well as a clause banning the Rays from negotiating with any entity other than the city about a new stadium.
Foster also acknowledged at that time his belief that MLB officials would weigh in on the Rays’ behalf at some point, which came true with Selig’s comments Tuesday. Though it is not the first time Selig has publicly said the Rays need a new stadium, it marks his only comment on the matter since Sternberg’s press conference.