St. Pete Mayor Bill Foster
Tampa, Florida -- Hillsborough County commissioners voted Thursday morning to invite the Tampa Bay Rays to a future meeting to discuss the team's long-term plans.
A few hours later, a Rays spokesperson confirmed the team will accept the offer and attend a meeting.
But St. Pete Mayor Bill Foster indicated Thursday afternoon the stadium saga could end up in a courtroom if the team talks to Hillsborough leaders.
See Also: Continuing Coverage of the Rays' Stadium Saga
"Hopefully this will alow us to start to break the log jam that has not moved in over three years," said Hillsborough County Commissioner Ken Hagan.
Included in the commissioners 5-2 vote is the hope for a regional meeting, including public officials from St. Pete and Pinellas County as well as private businesses, on how to keep the team in Tampa Bay.
Commissioners want that after meeting with the Rays.
"I think it's very likely they'll show up," Hagan said.
Rays principal owner Stu Sternberg told 10 News:
"Since 2008 we have suggested regional dialogue to ensure the successful future of MLB in the Tampa Bay region. We greatly appreciate the Hillsborough County Commission's action today and look forward to the progress which this regional discussion can bring."
Mayor Foster knows the Rays have an agreement to play at Tropicana Field for the next 15 years.
He hinted the team may risk violating the terms of that deal by meeting with Hillsborough leaders.
"We'll just see how it works out. We have really good representation. I'm getting really good advice," Foster said.
Hagan says issue has remained stagnant for too long.
"I respect St. Pete and Pinellas County elected leaders," he said, "however, it's been nearly three years and they have been reluctant to do anything."
Commissioners hope the Rays will give a presentation at a meeting right after the season.