Tampa Bay Rays may depart St. Petersburg home

Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg
Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg

The Tampa Bay Rays may leave their domed home in St. Petersburg, city-owned Tropicana Field, where the Major League Baseball team has been based since its inception in 1998.

The St. Petersburg City Council approved an agreement giving the Rays permission to spend the next three years searching for a new ballpark location in neighboring Hillsborough County, where Tampa is located, as well as Pinellas County. The team already had begun looking at alternative locations in St. Petersburg and surrounding Pinellas County.

The agreement also details how much the Rays would have to pay to break its lease on city-owned Tropicana Field, which is set to expire in 2027.

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St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman favors construction of a new stadium at the downtown location Tropicana Field now occupies.

Major League Baseball released a statement saying the league “appreciates this step forward taken by the St. Petersburg City Council and remains fully supportive of [Rays owner] Stu Sternberg’s vision to bring this stadium process to conclusion.” [Associated Press] — Mike Seemuth