The Tampa Bay Rays plan to launch a website soon that will let the public contribute their ideas, and feedback on what they'd like to include in a new ballpark.
Rays Team President Brian Auld doesn't have a launch date for the website, but said it will be up in a matter of weeks.
“We’re seeking to embark on a public-private partnership here,” Auld said. “We will not build a ballpark unless it makes sense both for the Rays and the community. And we feel a great responsibility to make sure that happens. In order to ensure that happens, we can’t be telling people what they need – we need to hear directly from them.”
Auld along with several Rays’ players, Manager Kevin Cash, and President of Baseball Operations Matt Silverman made their pitch at the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce luncheon Friday.
The Rays organization hopes to keep the website operational throughout the planning and selection process for the new stadium.
It's no secret -- the Rays want to move out of Tropicana Field.
The team is still shopping around for where to build it. Auld did not give any hints as to where that will be other than the site must be 20 acres or larger.
However, he did tell 300 people gathered at Friday’s luncheon at the chamber that the team really needs the business community to be more involved.
“What we will not do is invest significant amounts of money into a new ballpark if we’re not confident we’re going to get better results,” Auld said. “And the best way that I know to be confident of those results is to start seeing some progress made at Tropicana Field.”
Auld said the major league team needs to have a higher level of support from businesses in the community. So, the team is holding “blue sky workshops” with organizations and business groups to gather their feedback and generate enthusiasm and support.