Tampa Bay Rays still in search of location for new ballpark

By Ronald Blum | Associated Press Published:

Associated Press

NEW YORK -- Six years after saying they wanted to explore alternative sites to downtown St. Petersburg for a new ballpark, the Tampa Bay Rays still are in search of a location.

"Tampa is obviously very, very attractive on the list, and we expect to at some point, hopefully sooner, look there as well as some other parts of the region," Rays owner Stuart Sternberg said Tuesday during a panel at the MLB Diversity Business Summit.

Sternberg took control of the team after the 2005 season, and in November 2007 the Rays proposed to replace Tropicana Field with a 34,000-seat, open-air stadium at the downtown site of Al Lang Field, a longtime spring training ballpark. They withdrew that plan the following June, and Sternberg said in June 2010 he wanted to explore potential sites throughout the Tampa Bay area.

The Rays' lease at Tropicana Field runs through 2027. Tampa Bay hasn't drawn more than 2 million fans at home since its first season in 1998. Despite winning 90 or more games in each of the last four seasons, the Rays haven't topped 1.6 million in any of the last three years.

"We haven't had the greatest success in attracting the what we call enough fans relative to the success we've had on-field, and we would like to explore other part of the region, specifically Tampa and parts of St. Petersburg," Sternberg said.

He said the Rays need to undertake "a full-out exploration" of transportation and access issues.

"Until we're able to do all the work that's necessary there, I won't really have an answer for it," he said.

Yankee great Rivera's son on New Hampshire team

LACONIA, N.H. -- The son of retired New York Yankees closer Mariano Rivera is going to pitch for a collegiate summer program in New Hampshire.

Mariano Rivera Jr. will join the Laconia Muskrats this summer, part of the 12-team New England Collegiate Baseball League.

He's a right-hander, like his dad.

Noah Crane, the Muskrats' general manager, tells New Hampshire Public Radio the 20-year-old Rivera Jr. is coming to the state because of the Muskrats' close relationship with Pat Carey, Rivera's coach at Iona College in New Rochelle, N.Y. He says each year, the team has one or two of the school's players.

Rivera's dad retired at the end of last season after winning five World Series championships with the Yankees. He is Major League Baseball's career saves leader with 652.

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