New Rays ballpark plan has been unveiled, complete with fancy drawings

Kevin Kaduk
Big League Stew

True story: The first Big League Stew post that ever went out on Yahoo!'s front page featured a new "sailboat stadium" proposal for the Tampa Bay Rays. That was early 2008 and luckily we've been a lot more successful than that ballpark plan. More than four years later, the Rays franchise still plays in the strangely lighted limbo that is Tropicana Field and we still harbor a keen interest in writing about the drawings for proposed stadiums.

The Rays still aren't anywhere close to finishing a deal for a new ballpark, but there's now another set of drawings out there. A development company named Echelon LLC unveiled its plan for St. Petersburg's Carillon Park on Friday afternoon. As the Tampa Bay Times writes, the proposed 35,000-seat stadium  "represents the most detailed alternative to Tropicana Field since the team's own waterfront project fizzled in 2008."

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But as the paper also notes, this plan is being introduced amid a lot of questions. They're not small either. First off, no one knows if the Rays are even interested in this plan because they've said they want to survey a lot of sites if and when they go out shopping for a new home. Given that this park in St. Petersburg is still on the wrong side of the bridge that every Tampa-side fan wields as an excuse for not attending Rays games, I'm guessing that owner Stu Sternberg and Co. won't put all their chips in this pot just because Echelon was able to get its act together.

There's also the matter of who's going to pay around $600 million for it, if it'll have a fixed or retractable roof or if there are even 35,000 people willing to fill this thing every night. But hey, the pictures are cool — check 'em out here — and some rich developers got a good excuse to hand out hot dogs as we all imagined a Rays future that doesn't involve playing baseball in a dank basement-like setting. You know, just like we dreamed back in 2008.

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