The Stink Of Desperation

June 26th, 2019

Quality Sage perspective today. No surprise there.


The Buccaneers have already endured their Stu Sternberg moment.

When original owner Hugh Culverhouse died 25 years ago, the organization was thrown into chaos. Even as a three-man trust was formed to oversee the estate, relocation rumors began to circulate.

Why not? Attendance was down and the Bucs were in the midst of a 14-year stretch of losing seasons.

For a while, it seemed every city with a potential stadium deal was in the mix for our local NFL franchise. Each day brought fresh, unsubstantiated reports about the Bucs packing up and heading for St. Louis, Toronto, Orlando or Baltimore.

We watched as a bidding war broke out between George Steinbrenner and Orioles owner Peter Angelos. whose group offered $205 million to move the Bucs to Baltimore.

Throughout the 1995 season, relocation rumors hung over the Bucs like summer thunderstorms. When the Baltimore option fizzled, Maryland officials sizzled. Gov. William Donald Schaefer, looking for a culprit, settled on NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue.

“I want you to know one thing, our enemy and the guy who has hurt Baltimore and continues to hurt Baltimore is Tagliabue,” Schaefer said. “Al Davis, he was never going to really sell to us. But Tampa … we should have had Tampa.”

By mid-January in 1996, the franchise was sold for $192 million to Malcolm Glazer, who paid a then-record price and promptly vowed to keep the Bucs in Tampa “forever.”

Malcolm Glazer

In pro sports, “forever” tends to have a short shelf life, so it wasn’t long before the new owner in town started talking about the pressing need for a new stadium.

Unlike the farce Sternberg presided over on Tuesday, discussing his Tampa Bay Rays playing in Montreal, the Glazers never talked about a tale of two cities. But there was a real sense that the Bucs would open relocation talks if funding for a new stadium was rejected.

Learning The Hard Way

Two days before Hillsborough Country residents voted whether to support the Community Investment Tax, the 1996 Bucs dropped their season opener 34-3 at home to the Packers. Brett Favre threw four TD passes and the Tony Dungy era opened with six turnovers by Tampa Bay.

Before Dungy could study film of the beat down, he weighed in on the half-percent sales tax proposal that was heartily endorsed by Tampa Mayor Dick Greco.

“I’d like to see it pass because I think it’s going to be a real good situation for the city of Tampa and the county,” Dungy said. “I’d also like to see it pass because we want to stay here. In the long-term, we’re going to deliver some good football.”

As usual, Dungy was good to his word. The Bucs made the playoffs four times during Dungy’s 6-year tenure after the referendum was passed by a 53-47 margin. Sternberg’s two-city plan smells like a desperate ploy, a last-ditch attempt to avoid abandoning Tampa Bay altogether.

He has learned the hard way that this is a football town, first and foremost. Always has been –and probably always will be. Raymond James Stadium has held up very well over two decades, but there will be an eventual push for a new facility down the line. Pro sports owners want what they want, and they usually get their way.

The Bucs aren’t going anywhere. In Sternberg’s mind, the Rays are already gone.

More TAMPA TWO with Tampa Bay legend Derrick Brooks and The Sage, columnist Ira Kaufman! In the video below they dive in to new defensive coordinator Todd Bowles. It’s all presented by Caldeco Air Conditioning & Heating. And the great folks at The Identity Tampa Bay and Joe put it all together. Enjoy!

46 Responses to “The Stink Of Desperation”

  1. D-Rome Says:

    In Sternberg’s mind, the Rays are already gone.

    Absolutely correct! The two city solution is a farce and he plainly stated he doesn’t believe Tampa Bay can support the Rays. He’s wrong about that. The Bay Area loves the Rays, but not enough to pay higher taxes to build another stadium. Baseball stadiums are not money makers.

  2. Rod Munch Says:

    I wonder how many of the posters that talk about how awful the Glazers are actually have any memory of the Culverhouse years. I’m guessing it’s 0% of them.

    Anywho Sternberg is awful, he’s constantly talked down the stadium and talked down the fans to the point that an already bad situation has been made much worse. He clearly just wants to move the team at the first chance he gets and the MLB wants the team moved as well. So seeya baseball, you won’t be missed.

  3. Rod Munch Says:

    D-Rome – the only person I’ve ever heard talk about the Rays is my grandfather. That’s it, no other friends, no other family, I never hear about them. But sure, Tampa will support them better than St Pete, mainly because it’s easier to get to, but they’d still be drawing 12,000 people a night in a couple of years. This isn’t a baseball market because baseball is a dying, slow, boring sport. I used to try to go to a few games a year and the last few times I just sat there, in a completely quiet and nearly empty dump of a dome, asking myself why am I here, this is boring, I’d rather be down at the Pier. Then the dummies in St Pete tore down the Pier so there’s even less of a reason to go down there.

  4. fernando diaz Says:

    there is no better stadium deal than the one in Tampa for the Bucs
    Florida taxes are a benefit too.
    The Rays moved to far for the fans east of Tampa
    iSad but the owner wants to make $$$$$$

  5. Rod Munch Says:

    fernando – Raymond James cost $168-million to build and in latest round of renovations the team paid I believe $90m of the cost while the city paid $30m. The lease the Bucs have is a good deal, but the cost of everything is pennies on the dollar compared to, for example, what the Marlins got for free. Heck, the stupid dump that is the Trop cost $130-million to “renovate” for baseball in the late 90s, around the time Raymond James was built, plus another $35m and $10m in the 2000s.

    As for owners making money… yeah, of course, and there’s nothing wrong with that. But this area benifits huge from having the Bucs and it’s why they’re not going anywhere. This is a tourist driven economy still and nothing draws people to this area like a Sunday afternoon game in December when it’s 78 degrees in perfect weather while the midwest or northeast is dealing with a blizzard. The chamber of commerce could literally spend millions in advertising to bring people here as tourists and it would have 1% of the effect of a Sunday Night Football in good weather in winter. So for this area the Bucs stadium situation is easy to justify.

  6. batman Says:

    Rod Munch, you do know that there’s a brand new pier being built, right? And it’ll be open in a few months? And that St. Pete has an avalanche of other things to do within walking distance of said pier?

  7. #1bucsfan Says:

    I support all of our TB teams but baseball for real is something to fall asleep to haha just to boring to watch

  8. rhenry Says:

    Hey batman, thanks for that update. I always loved the old pier, especially on the 4th of July but haven’t been back since it closed. Are they planning any festivities when it opens?

  9. rhenry Says:

    If Tampa is going to spend future tax dollars on anything stadium related, please for the love of god build a dome over Ray Jay with air conditioning cold enough to make it snow inside. Yeehaw!!!!!!!!!

  10. Magadude Says:

    The Rays proposed 1/3 they pay for the stadium, 1/3 businesses, and 1/3 taxpayers, and the County and City of Tampa couldn’t get it done. A disgrace. Would have been great downtown by Ybor City…but NO. The demographic here is changing to one of let someone else always pay…where’s our free stuff?


  11. DB55 Says:

    Isn’t it interesting how we’ll support a half-a-percent tax for a new stadium but will frown upon a half-a-precent tax on stock purchases to pay for college tuitions? I’ve said too much.

  12. Demetrios Says:

    It’s interesting to note that Glazer first proposed a multi-city plan for an expansion baseball team which included Tampa Bay, I believe D.C. and another city that I do not recall. This was his first attempt to get into major league sports. Obviously they were not successful with that attempt.

  13. DB55 Says:

    renovations the team paid I believe $90m of the cost while the city paid $30m.
    Yet you can’t drive down Kennedy without slamming into a pothole. F’n socialist always want everything free free free.

    My tax dollars should go to billionaires making more money not the lazy single mom or dad working 3 jobs to put food on the table and gas in her car. If she even has a car, lazy freeloaders!

    I want to pay more taxes so the rich can get richer, that’s what makes America great and if you disagree you’re just a commie aoc loving snowflake.

  14. Alanbucsfan Says:

    How about if the Rays played their home games in the Tampabay area at the various Spring Training facilities.
    They could play in Clearwater, Dunedin, Tampa, Lakeland, even Bradenton and Sarasota and still play some games at the Trop.
    Might create more fan interest with the novelty angle.

  15. JA Says:


    Socialism-socialism-socialism! Quid pro quo … Ha!
    Actually, that was a good post. Irony with a sprinkling of humor …
    And, I wholeheartedly agree!

  16. Mike Johnson Says: been thru a few Buc Rodeos…and those Culverhouse years were quite grueling. Despite Grudens Superbowl. you almost gotta say overall, Dungy was our best coach. He had multiple playoff runs. Still to this day wish we could have coaxed him out of retirement. Our franchise is past desperate, So forgive me if I’m not completely on board with this revised upcoming version. Been to disappointed to do that. Can’t wait to see what we got. Although its promised our D will do more blitzing. fans need to be aware, good teams got plans for that. So hopefully Arians finds another steal of a DE somewheres. I can’t believe people actually think JPP will return to his old self after that injury. They are dreaming bigtime. Here we go…Again.

  17. DB55 Says:


    I’m here all week, don’t forget to tip your waiters.

    Actually don’t tip, No more hand outs!!!

  18. Beligerentbuc Says:

    Bye Felicia…BB attendance has be declining for years now in almost all markets. Too many games and too much competition for our time.

    As far as calling people socialists, we are all socialists to a degree. If you believe in our public transportation, cops, teachers, and military or any other aid program is a socialist program.(Serving the public)

    Even the billionaires are calling on both political parties and the president to Tax them as they are making too much money and paying too little in taxes. Stop spewing Rush Limbaugh radio on everyone and labeling people.

  19. Magadude Says:

    We have these things called community college, student loans, scholarships, grants, and trade schools, and here’s a novel idea: work your way through college. Options galore. Oh, more taxes by all? Yeah, for the deadbeats. Why not start saving that 1/2% when YOUR kids are born instead of expecting someone else to do it? Don’t have it? What’s that $800 cell phone in your hand? Oh sure, the very poor can get some help…they should…and back to ALL of the above. How about EVERYBODY pay taxes. Now that’s a plan.

    As for stadiums, all sides are motivated when they all have skin in the game. I never got the impression the losers on the Tampa City Council and County Commision were serious about the new Rays stadium. I live just west of Channelside now but even before that, was not too far a drive on weekends to go to St Pete from Brandon. It was a bear on weeknights. The RayJay is good for 15 more years, thanks mostly to the Glazers. Otherwise it would be quickly outdated, low end stuff. That stadium could use some sunshades like a lot of the soccer stadiums and that’s it. No way will taxpayers go for a cool billion for a new stadium in the next several decades.

  20. Magadude Says:

    @Belig…no, don’t candy up socialsim. Don’t confuse things like defense and public infrastructure and community programs, and social programs that function as safety nets that people pay into (social security and medicare, for example)…as socialism. Socialism is where production, distribution, and exchange is owned or controlled by the community/government) as a whole. Those who should know better don’t go into detail on the dangers of socilism…all they do is counter postions from guy like Bernie calling for medicare for all, and say that is “socialism.” So the ignorant and naive think “what’s wrong with that?” Spend some time living in a country with a no kdding socialist government and see how well things work out. As for your comment: “Even the billionaires are calling on both political parties and the president to Tax them as they are making too much money and paying too little in taxes.” Don’t think that’s particularly accurate.

  21. Magadude Says:

    @Mike Johnson…agree totally. Dungy WAS our best coach. Gruden was not even the second best….McKay gets that one.

  22. Clw JB Says:

    Baseball is the most boring sport on the planet…bye Rays, who cares

    Baseball is for OLD MEN transplants from the north

    Baseball is about as exciting as watching cricket

    Baseball just plain sucks out loud

    Please return to football, this isn’t Rays fan .com

  23. DB55 Says:

    All I know is we don’t need Air conditioning in schools as long as we get a nice fancy bar a RayJay.

    We’re raising a generation of moochers, if you want air conditioning then go work for it like I did LaQuisha

    I worked my way through college and had to pay $500 for an entire years tuition. 20 hours a week at Jimmys Ice Cream shop. No one worked harder than me. People are so lazy and entitled today.

  24. Destinjohnny Says:

    Eddie d please buy our team

  25. Wesley Says:

    I’ll never understand the hate for the Glazers. They spend the money, they just make poor G.M. choices. That doesn’t mean they don’t want to win. They just need someone to make those hiring decisions for them. I guess people just want to blame someone, and I get that, but I don’t think the Glazers are the problem. Unless you’re going to blame them for their hiring decisions, that I understand, but they do spend the money.

  26. Rod Munch Says:

    DB55- You have to pay taxes before you worry about where those tax dollars are being spent.

    batman – yeah I know about the new Pier, looks lame as hell. It’s just a sidewalk with some chairs at the end. You had the million dollar pier way back, then the pier we remember, and now you have a sidewalk. No restaurant, no attractions, just a sidewalk and some chairs at the end.

  27. Rod Munch Says:

    Alanbucsfan – I’ve always wondered why the Rays haven’t tried playing at some spring training fields as well, would be a welcome change from the dump that is the Trop. The obvious choice is the Yankees spring training stadium, but of course they’re a division rival, so you can’t have that! Grrrr…

    But yeah, play some games in different parks, the novelty of it would mean they’d sell out, and they’d certainly look better on TV. The downside is half of them would probably get delayed or cancelled because of thunderstorms.

  28. Magadude Says:

    DB55…I agree with your last post. You were trying to be sarcastic, but you are spot on. Of course, my situation was working 35-40 hours a week at night and weekends carrying a full load at USF, and tuition was never cheap, but I got in state rates and didn’t blow my money on pot and lotto and beer. Not saying all do. But there is a way to do it. Guess what? Folks that do that know the value of what they pay for, and earn. Imagine that. AC in classrooms? Car washes and spahghetti dinners. And most everyone worked for they got…lots of folks worked as hard as or harder than me. Those that didn’t…last I saw them at high school reuniion that are doing what they did then. Some of them are happy that way. Yes, oiut with the moochers. You are starting to get it.

  29. Rod Munch Says:

    Growing up in the 80s, Pinellas Park elementary didn’t have air conditioning, it’s good for you, puts hair on chest.

  30. Magadude Says:

    The Rays GIVE away loads of tickets and can’t folks to show. I’m bummed out about no stadium so didn’t renew our weekend plan this year and now they are likely leaving, I’m less inclined to go. It’s a slippery slope, and really stinks because they are doing well. The Bucs were RUNNING the way of the rays until the stadium upgrades started and they literally wanted to build the stadium over from the inside out. The poor play and deviations of some player conduct and social activim along with continued losing really got them last year, and frankly, it’s not looking good for the season opener this year. In fact, last year there was one week the Bucs gave away tens of thousands of tickets and less than half were used. Free ticket to an NFL game and folks said “no thanks.” Scary, and sad.

  31. Magadude Says:

    @Rod…Hillsbrough County elementary…started with 5th grade and worked back to 1st grade. Took four years for all to get AC, which kept the youngest kids from getting hair on their chest until later. Perfect plan.

    Yeah, had a slight termite problem too…but cleaning desks every morning builds character.

  32. Magadude Says:

    The Glazers are far from perfect but they are not the cheapos they have been accused of being. That stadium and gameday experience is awesome now…just too bad the team sucks. But consider least the Glazers stay out of (most) football decisions. When it comes to strategic decisions about football that determine whether their organization sinks or swims (like drafting a QB/face of franchise and letting one go) they are in the mix. Day to day stuff….thank goodness they don’t “Jerry Jones” or “Dan Snyder” it. Would be a disaster.

  33. Jim Says:

    Mega, does Costa Rica fit your definition of socialist? Been here thirteen years…

  34. DB55 Says:

    I’m gonna stop before I get put in the cooler but just …. WOW

    I was “trying” to be sarcastic. Bruh…..😭😭😭😭😭😭😭

    The Florida public education system truly is remarkable, second only to Mississippi and Alabama. Bless y’all hearts.

  35. DB55 Says:


    I’m taxed at a higher rate than Warren Buffett.

  36. Magadude Says:

    @Jim, I don’t follow it much…don’t know. At least it’s a democratically elected republic but not exactly much more than third world. Still, lots of places are good if you can take money there to live that you had in the USA. I know people in Costa Rica that planned to move there…but I think a lot of the “offshore” financial stragies are no longer allow. CR neds to get it’s debt under control though, just like the USA does.

    @DB55…Yes, I know you were being sarcastic…but you made GREAT SENSE.

    I hope the Rays and local governments come to their senses…need to get a stadium…and I’d even support AC in public buildings! How’s that DB?

  37. Ndog Says:

    Sternberg is a lier plain and simple. He is 100% about money and it shows in every move he has made. He has spent no money, doesn’t want to pay anything of substance for a stadium puts on farce press conferences for show. The one in St. Pete at Al Lang he knew he had no support, the one in Ybor he took so long he knew he couldn’t get funding in a years time. Now he rolls this crap out and pretends like he’s surprised that EVERYONE hates it. Please tell me this how was the Ybor site THE LOCATION a year ago but now won’t work? Could it be that he found out that we wouldn’t just give him a stadium? This guy is a joke and the only shot we have of keeping the Rays is if he sells which isn’t likely. Lastly I watch every Rays game and go to a few each year but since this news broke I have not watched one second of them and don’t intend too until they actually commit to Tampa.

  38. Rod Munch Says:

    DB55 – I know you were being sarcastic, I was just giving you a hard time. But Buffett, who is a leftist, pays his lifelong secretary like $50k a year – you don’t get to be that rich by giving your billions away.

    Jim – From what I heard about Costa Rica from people that have lived there and still have property there is that it’s really popular with ex-CIA and ex-FBI and they keep the Americanized areas nice and safe. No idea since I’ve never been there, but they make it sound pretty nice. Then again if I just want to go to the beach I can a few mins to get to one, so the draw isn’t the same as them who were from the northeast.

    Magadude – Growing up here, I’d say probably just under half the places you went to didn’t have AC into the 80s. I know we didn’t live in a place with A/C until I was probably 8 or 9 years old. But with as “rough” as that was, my grandmother didn’t even have electricity at that age – and my forefathers had kids young, so it’s not like she was an old lady. The standard of living for everyone has gone up tremendously in a fairly short period of time.

  39. Rod Munch Says:

    Ndog – I agree with you on Stu, he’s just been playing the area and will leave as soon as another market builds him a stadium – for free of course. The issue for Stu is that baseball is in a decline and cities really aren’t bending over backwards to spend a billion dollars to get a team. But if Charlotte or San Antonio or whoever wants to give him a new free stadium, he’ll move there and pay whatever the few million a year it costs to break the lease on the Trop.

    Now with football it’s a different story. If the Bucs were looking to move you’d have cities doing what Vegas did to get a team. That should worry Bucs fans since this area can’t afford a billion dollar new stadium – and notice that while the Glazers did spend a good amount of money out of pocket on the renovations, they also declined to extend their lease at the same time. RayJay is already 22 years old, which means in the next few years we’re going to start hearing about the stadium “situation”.

  40. SenileSenior Says:

    I’m a veteran who appreciates his VA benefits and used GI Bill money. Nevertheless, all of that is socialistic and goes far beyond anything Abe Lincoln conceived. My conscience is clear.

    I did not “earn” any special treatment either. Thanking me along-side all of those who served the country on each Veteran’s Day is good enough.

    My main point is we have all lived in a hybrid capitalistic-socialistic economic system all of my life at least. We’ve got some of the better features of both here in America.

    Discussion of economic theory and political debate is not why I participate in the discussion here. Bucs fan participation, news and debate is it. Politics just happens to be a ubiquitous part of our everyday lives. I enjoy it all though. I am too old to get bent out of shape most of the time even though people make remarks that piss me off once in a while. (Not today. Just throwing my two cents out.)
    Go Bucs!!!

  41. Bucsfanman Says:

    St. Pete is not the St. Pete “death’s doorstep” of old. If you haven’t been, you might want to check it out. I’m 50 and I’m too old for this place. I get b!tch slapped by my wife every time we go out at night downtown because my eyes “wander”!

  42. Bobby M. Says:

    The Rays owner has given Tampa Bay every chance possible to come up with a winning formula…..Baseball just doesn’t work here. If I were St Pete, I’d negotiate in a minor league team to play in St Pete the same as how Tampa has the Yankees….St Pete is better suited for that and they have Al Lang stadium already in place. The Rays are leaving, the area is hot for development, its time to do whats best for St Pete’s long term success as a community. St Pete already has developers ready to build where the Trop is….The ONLY reason local leaders don’t do it is they fear being voted out for losing the Rays. That’s it.

  43. Razor Ramone Says:

    No AC in Seminole elementary in the 70’s.

  44. Buccfan37 Says:

    Change the local baseball team name to the Wrinkle City Rays to reflect reality.

  45. BucThatNoise Says:

    The larger issue w/the Rays isn’t about fans. They don’t have the legacy of diehards like Yankees, Red Sox, Dodgers, Cubs, etc., but a more centrally located ballpark would at least get them more bodies in seats. Sticking the Trop at the south end of a peninsula was a bad move in retrospect, and one that IIRC even Ueberroth warned them not do make.
    It’s not even entirely about money either, although Sternberg would’ve possibly gotten what he wanted if he wasn’t disingenuous and said from the jump he’d pay half of that 900 million. Had that happened, Hagan could’ve likely gotten the other half paid for, spread out over many years, by bed taxes, state incentives, corporate kick-ins, etc.
    The issue with the Rays is a microcosm of the changing interests of a younger population that increasingly inhabits the TB area. They care less about sports, let alone the Rays, than other cultural aspects of the respective municipalities. It’s all about defining your identity. And this area is doing so less and less around professional sports, for better or for worse.
    Not sure I care either way what they do or where they play/go. There’s other things to do.

  46. unbelievable Says:

    DB55 – 100% my man. But hey wtfdwk?

    Let’s keep giving all the breaks to the billionaires. It’s worked so well up to this point!