“I am the mayor of St. Petersburg”
Dear Senator Latvala,
Thank you for your letter and interest in our Baseball Forever campaign to keep the Tampa Bay Rays in St. Petersburg.
As you know, the discussion regarding the future of the Rays resulted from the City of St. Petersburg allowing the Rays to explore future stadium sites, not only in St. Petersburg, but throughout Pinellas and Hillsborough Counties.
I am proud of the agreement we reached and proud of our City Council for understanding that not allowing the Rays to explore area sites may have led the team to leave our region altogether following the 2027 season. But allowing the Rays to explore future stadium sites outside St. Petersburg’s city limits should not be taken as a sign of our willingness to cede the team to another municipality or county.
We strongly believe that the Rays’ current site, reimagined and redeveloped, remains their best long-term option, and we’re confident that the team’s exploration will lead them to agree. I’ve said this consistently.
The Tampa Bay Rays were born in St. Petersburg, and the Baseball Forever campaign is about making our case as to why they should remain here. It’s about showing enthusiasm for our hometown team and presenting to them a vision of the future. We fully expect other area cities, counties, and/or private landowners to do the same.
And as has been reported since the inception of Baseball Forever, we will work closely with neighboring cities or counties should the Rays identify a future stadium site outside St. Petersburg, as we fully support the regional impact of this team.
Rebuilding relationships and regional thinking has been a hallmark of my time in office, and is the very reason we’re having this conversation. We have commitments from Tampa Bay’s four biggest governments to fund a high-speed ferry because we recognize that we are all stronger when we work together.
But first and foremost, I am the mayor of St. Petersburg, and I will always fight to keep a large employer, especially a good corporate citizen like the Rays, in my city.
Finally, please know that anyone who shares my vision for St. Petersburg’s future is welcome to be a part of Baseball Forever, and having your support would give our efforts a considerable boost.
Thank you for your understanding and consideration.
Mayor Rick Kriseman