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Foster Says Rays' Talks Not Going Well

Sep 5, 2013

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Credit Tampa Bay Rays

While it seemed like talks between St. Petersburg officials and the Tampa Bay Rays about the team's future in the Bay area were moving along, Mayor Bill Foster has thrown a curveball with a memo saying those talks aren't going so well.

The Tampa Bay Times reports that Foster sent a memo to City Council Wednesday that suggested the talks are breaking down - and a compromise is not looking very likely.

"It has become apparent to me that Major League Baseball has no intention of assisting the city and Rays in reaching a mutually beneficial solution," Foster wrote in a memo to the council. "Nor does Major League Baseball seem interested in a cooperative effort to keep the Rays in the Tampa Bay Region for the long term."

Foster has long been opposed to letting the team break its lease and leave St. Pete.  But last month, he backed off that and said he would be okay with the team looking elsewhere, like Tampa, provided it doesn't come at the public's expense. However, it's not known if Foster will let the team out of a lease that ties them to Tropicana Field until 2027.

In return, the Rays issued a statement expressing disappointment at Foster's latest comments.

"It is unfortunate and unproductive in so many ways that Mayor Foster chose now to publicly describe our conversations. We have remained silent about the details of our discussions and we will have no further comment today," Rays officials said in a release.

MLB Commissioner Bud Selig said three weeks ago that his office might get involved in the talks if necessary.