Tampa mayoral candidates Rose Ferlita and Bob Buckhorn weigh-in on Rays stadium issue

4:15 PM, Mar 15, 2011   |    comments
Tampa mayoral candidates Rose Ferlita (left) and Bob Buckhorn
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Tampa, Florida - Tampa's two remaining candidates for mayor say if the Rays look to leave the Bay area they'll try and move the baseball team to Tampa.

"We are looking forward to being a partner with them in the event that they can't resolve their differences in St. Petersburg," mayoral candidate Bob Buckhorn said on Monday.

"I will tell you right now I would love for the Rays to be in Tampa," added Rose Ferlita.

Read all of 10 News' coverage of the Rays Stadium Saga

However, Ferlita noted no taxpayer money would be used in helping the Rays build a new stadium in downtown Tampa if she is mayor and the Major League Baseball team is relocated across the Bay.

The comments by both candidates caught the attention of St. Petersburg Mayor Bill Foster.

"It would be nice if there wasn't all that discussion of moving the Rays to Tampa," Foster told 10 News.

"We are fully aware of the Rays' desire... but their future remains in the City of St. Petersburg not in the City of Tampa."

The Rays have said they need a new stadium will continue playing in Tropicana Field when their contract expires in 2027.

Foster said he's sure Tampa mayoral candidates would probably love to leave the subject of the Rays alone, but he understands it's a question that is bound to come up on the campaign trail.

But Foster says he wishes people would stop talking about the issue and had a message for his neighbors across the Bay:

"You know it would be nice to see Bob and Rose encourage people to come over to St. Petersburg, drive over the bridge and enjoy this team this year, and I'm sure they'll do that."

The Rays open the regular season at home on Friday April 1st. 

Preston Rudie, 10 News

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