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98.7 The Fan hosts "Save Baseball in Tampa Bay" rally Thursday | Business

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98.7 The Fan hosts "Save Baseball in Tampa Bay" rally Thursday
98.7 The Fan hosts "Save Baseball in Tampa Bay" rally Thursday

St. Petersburg, Florida  -- The latest development in the Rays Stadium Saga has one of the region's sports-talk stations, 98.7 "The Fan," launching a "Save Baseball in Tampa Bay" campaign today. 

The free kick-off rally runs 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. at Ferg's Sports Bar, prior to this evening's Rays/Red Sox game.

TIMELINE: 10 News coverage of the Rays Stadium Saga
BLOG: Shadow of the Stadium

John O'Connell, Program Director for 98.7 "The Fan," took the time to answer a few questions for 10 News via e-mail about the campaign:

10 News: How did the idea for the campaign first arise?
98.7 The Fan: We've received a number of calls from our listeners who are concerned about the real possibility of losing our team, as a result of stalled negotiations between Major League Baseball and the City of St. Petersburg. We felt that we could help bring awareness to the situation by launching this campaign.

10 News: There's contentious debate about where a new stadium should go and who should pay for it.  How is 98.7 The Fan approaching the touchy subjects?
98.7 The Fan:
 To start, we don't shy away from touchy subjects. But our goal isn't to determine where the new stadium should be built, as long as it remains in the Tampa Bay area. Our mission is to do everything we can to rally Rays fans to come to games, get behind their team and let Major League Baseball know that this is a very viable market for baseball, and that we care about this team.

10 News: There hasn't been a hostile relocation of an MLB team in decades. What does 98.7 The Fan think Tampa Bay Baseball needs saving from?
98.7 The Fan:
 True, and a lot of fans believe that no one is ever going to move their team. In reality, anything is possible. Go back a few decades when the Baltimore Colts left town in the middle of the night. We're pretty sure the majority of Colts fans never expected that to happen to a heritage team, their team - but it did. Save is another word for "keep" and that's our goal, to keep the Rays here.

10 News: What role will the station's on-air talent play in the campaign?
98.7 The Fan:
 We are here to amplify the voice of our listeners. We have a transmitter that allows us to get the word out to those who care about the team, but who also may not be as informed about the severity of the stadium situation as we are. Frankly, this is more of a public service mission than anything else. 

10 News: What can fans expect from the kick-off event, and what other events can they follow down the road?
98.7 The Fan:
Fans will hear this community's passion for keeping the Rays here, from the team's economic impact to its meaningful connection with the community. We have invited Mayor Foster and City Council members. We have also invited former players, umpires and season ticket holders. We have more plans to keep this going and will unveil them as time progresses. This is not a short term campaign. We are determined to keep awareness high. We are also sure that this entire situation will be an ongoing debate for months to come - and we promise to ride it out with our fellow Rays fans.

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