A day after Commissioner Bud Selig showed his support for the Rays' attempt to get a new stadium, St. Petersburg Mayor Bill Foster denied the team's request on Friday to explore potential sites in Hillsborough County, according to the Tampa Bay Times.
Selig told the media before Game 2 of the World Series between the Tigers and Giants on Thursday that he planned to speak with Rays principal owner Stuart Sternberg for an update on the stadium situation, and that he and Sternberg would make a judgment call soon on whether Major League Baseball will continue to be patient with the slow pace of progress in Tampa Bay's search for a new stadium and site.
Foster wrote in a letter to Sternberg that the Rays can only look for stadium sites in St. Petersburg or the Pinellas Gateway area in order to preserve the city's interests. The Rays, according to Foster, are obligated to play 1,215 more regular-season games at Tropicana Field.
The Rays continue to struggle to draw fans to the domed stadium, averaging 19,255 fans to home games this season, despite winning 90 games and fighting for a playoff spot into September.
Selig seemed disappointed by the trend.
"I'll let you draw your own conclusion," Selig said. "I think it's a conclusion that's pretty obvious."
Steven Miller is an associate reporter for MLB.com.