New Rays stadium talk between Bill Foster and Clutch Hitters

1:35 PM, Aug 10, 2011   |    comments
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ST. PETERSBURG, Florida - As the Rays Stadium Saga drags on into another late summer with few developments, a grassroots group is lobbying local leaders to break the deadlock.

"The Clutch Hitters," a multi-county coalition of business leaders who aim to preserve baseball in Tampa Bay for generations to come, have spent the last few years on the sidelines of the stadium debate. 

But recently, under the leadership of St. Petersburg lawyer Bob Byelick, the group has gotten more involved in trying to foster a regional discussion.

Flashback Oct. '09: Byelick & ABC Coalition present findings
Flashback May '09:
Mayor Foster tells Clutch Hitters Rays will leave without new stadium

With members from Pinellas, Hillsborough, and Manatee counties, The Clutch Hitters aren't advocating specific locations or financing plans; they're trying to encourage Foster and other local leaders to get together and take a regional approach toward satisfying the Rays' needs.

Timeline: Continuing coverage from Rays' Stadium Saga

Byelick tells 10 News that his 4 p.m. meeting with the mayor - his second one this summer - will be a "low-key" chat.

Foster has repeated that he'll follow the terms of the city's use agreement with the Rays until 2027 unless the team comes to him with ideas to move forward.  So far, Foster and Rays' principal owner Stu Sternberg have generally remained at arm's length.

Connect with 10 News Investigator Noah Pransky on Facebook at or Twitter at  Follow his sports business blog at Shadow of the Stadium.

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