With a stadium debate going on in the subconscious of the community, the Yankees in town, and their fans at the Trop, now seems like a good time to remind all the people who support a Rays move to Hillsborough County exactly where their allegiances lay.
Scan the Times archived articles below and you’ll see that in 1993 and 1994 the Tampa Sports Authority and Hillsborough County were willing partners with the Yankees to get together for some good old fashioned publically financed stadium building. I don’t question that any of the three people that read this don’t already know this, but it is worth revisiting. The situation isn’t transparent to the casual observer. I wouldn’t fault someone for assuming that a small stadium, with a field bearing George Steinbrenner’s name, would have been 100% financed by the richest team in baseball. But of course, it is not.
I guess I feel this all matter because the County decided to get in bed with another franchise, while our own community was in the midst of trying to land a team of its own. To me, the decision was made in 1994 that Tampa was not in the business of housing a Tampa Bay baseball team. End of discussion.
How would it look if the City of St Petersburg redeveloped Al Land Stadium into a practice facility for the Carolina Panthers, erected road signs directing traffic to “Panthers Stadium” so fans could go watch practice? That’s basically what Hillsborough’s partnership with the Yankees is akin to.
St Petersburg Times Articles on Legends Field
HCC, the TSA and the Yankees - August 1993
Yankees talk with TSA - Septemeber 1993
Yankees price tag increases - September 1993
Intial proposal - October 1993
Delays - December 1993
Parties agree to site - January 1994
More expensive plan passes - April 1994
Prison site affected - April 1994
Final deal - April 1994