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Politics / Issues

Tampa Mayor Buckhorn: Bring the Rays Here

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Lucielle Salomon

Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn spoke Tuesday about the possibility of the Tampa Bay Rays exploring new stadium sites in Pinellas and Hillsborough counties.

Buckhorn said downtown Tampa is a "convenient location" for the team. He said the stadium should be around a residential and commercial area where people work and live, so they can stay around after the game.

"If you want to play baseball, Tampa is the place to be," he said during a press conference at City Hall.

Buckhorn said he does not want to lose the Rays because Tampa is a baseball city. He said he is very competitive and will present good alternatives to the team, but he will support the Rays' ultimate decision.   

"I think they do want to stay here, I think they want to be in downtown Tampa," he said. "I think they recognize this market will support them, but they will use every trick in their book, every resource in their bag, they will play cities off of their shoulders and they will play states off of each other."  

Buckhorn said he recognizes their strategy.  

"We've been down there before, it is part of their game," he said. "It is what it is."  

He said he is working with St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman to find the best location for the baseball team. Even though both mayors prefer stadiums in their cities, they say they will support each other no matter the final decision. But Buckhorn thinks the stadium will be better located in Tampa, rather than St. Petersburg.