Tampa Bay Rays potential move to Ybor City a hot topic in St. Petersburg

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (WFLA) – The Tampa Bay Rays’ decision to focus on Tampa’s Ybor City for its new stadium is getting mixed reviews on the streets of St. Petersburg. 

Friday night in the city’s “Edge District” and bars and restaurants are hopping.

Living in the shadow of Tropicana Field is feast or famine for business owners, with a resurgence in recent years.

The prospect of seeing the team jump across the bay has fans divided.

“I think it’s a smart move. Ybor City has far more opportunity, far more parking and far more action,” said Gregory Thole.

But others are not happy it could be the bottom of the ninth for the Rays.

“I’d like to see them stay here. The area here benefits from it and I think with time we could get to the point where the area would support it,” said Matt Holthusen.

The Rays, ranking at or near the bottom in attendance, is proof enough for some that baseball doesn’t belong.

“I’m happy to see ’em go. I don’t think they has been a really great asset,” said Ted Furio.

St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman is quick to remind people, the decision to move isn’t final.

But plans are in the works on what to do with the area if the team bolts.

“If they decide that they’re gonna move across the bay, I want the team to be successful because I want to be able to continue to go to the games myself, “ said the mayor.

He insists the Trop is still the best fit for the Rays, but team owners don’t agree.

If the Rays leave town before their contract ends in 2027, the team will pay a penalty to the city every year until then.

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