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New stadium Q&A: Dry, but hot with view of the bay

By MARC TOPKIN and AARON SHAROCKMAN, Times Staff Writers
Published November 10, 2007


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Rays on the bay?

What would the proposed stadium be like?

The biggest difference is that baseball would be played outdoors. The planned waterfront stadium would be open-air but have a sail-like covering in the event of rain, so fans would be dry but at times hot. The design is likely to be traditional, like with an urban retro feel.

Would there be any cool waterfront features like in San Francisco?

By shifting the orientation of the field, home runs to rightfield could land in the water.

What's Al Lang being used for now?

The Rays are using the historic site for spring training games. But after next year, the team is moving its spring operations to Charlotte County. The city says it has no plans to try to lure another team for spring training.

Where would people park?

There would little if any on-site parking for fans. Fans probably would be asked to park at nearby city parking garages. The city could also shuttle fans to the game.

Wouldn't it be a tight fit for a big-league stadium?

Yes. The city owns a little over 10 acres of waterfront property. Fenway Park in Boston was built on 10 acres, and AT&T Park in San Francisco was constructed on 13 acres.

Why not Tampa?

The Rays' lease with the city of St. Petersburg makes it difficult, if not impossible for the team to leave St. Petersburg before 2027. The team, according to the lease, cannot move anywhere without the city's permission.

The Marlins, in Miami, have said they would consider leaving the state if a new baseball stadium isn't built for them. Could the Rays leave if this falls through?

Anything is possible, but the city's lease with the team would make it very difficult for the Rays to leave St. Petersburg for another 20 years.

What's wrong with Tropicana Field?

Despite significant upgrades, it is still a dome, it still has catwalks that interfere with play, and it still has a drab, warehouse feel.

What would happen to the Trop site?

The land would be sold, and the stadium knocked down, and a mixed use retail/entertainment/residential development would be built. That would create jobs and provide affordable housing.

Would voters have to approve this?

Yes. The city could lease the Al Lang site to the Rays for less than five years and not need a referendum. But in that case, the city would still be responsible for the property taxes on the site. The city likely would sell the land to the county, as it did with Tropicana Field. The county would not have to pay property taxes. But the sale would need voter approval as would a long-term lease.

[Last modified November 10, 2007, 01:00:11]


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