ST. PETERSBURG (FOX 13) - Comments from St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman on a radio show turned heads Tuesday morning.
Kriseman hinted towards another plan for Tropicana Field, the fate of which is already in limbo, depending on whether the Tampa Bay Rays stay or leave.
Mayor Kriseman was on a local sports talk radio show when he said - worst case scenario, if the Rays leave the Trop, Major League Soccer has expressed interest in turning it into a new soccer stadium that would seat more people than what's been proposed for Al Lang Stadium downtown.
It’s still up in the air as to whether the Tampa Bay Rays will build a new stadium at its current location in St. Pete - or relocate.
“It was more of a product of conversations I had had with the commissioner,” Kriseman told FOX 13 Tuesday. “It wasn't like, “I don't like Al Lang. We are not going there,’ It was like, ‘Hey, I like that site too,” Krisemen said during the program.
Those comments haven't sat well with Rowdies owner Bill Edwards, who is working on his own plans to take his team to the major leagues.
He's paying more than $80 million to upgrade Al Lang stadium, so it will be able to seat about 18,000 people.
Edwards released a statement saying, “I have a beautiful, privately-financed stadium plan at the Al Lang site that has already been submitted to MLS and voted on by the citizens of St. Petersburg. At this moment I am in Chicago for the MLS All Star Game and expect to meet with Commissioner Garber, Deputy Commissioner Abbott and other MLS executives who have seen the plan and liked it. I never considered the Tropicana Field site - as I support the Rays redeveloping and remaining at that location.”
The mayor says he does, too. His top priority is keeping the Rays at the Trop site and has overwhelmingly supported Edwards’ plans at Al Lang.
“If anybody is asserting that I'm not supportive of the efforts at Al Lang, that's further from the truth,” Kriseman said, adding he was merely repeating a conversation with MLS commissioners. “He raised it with me, I didn’t raise it with him.”
Kriseman says, first and foremost, if the Rays want this site - it's theirs. They're expected to make their decision by the end of the season.