Rays Life is not always Mosaic



I have known people up on the Corporate/Third Floor of Tropicana Field for a long time. And one of the biggest compliments I could always give this Tampa Bay Rays baseball organization is their extreme attention to details and doing more than needed due diligence by digging deep into the dark recesses and adequately formulating a favorable risk management course of action when dealing with past Rays business issues. 

So why is it that these same wise souls that I hold to such high standards within the Rays organization got so distracted and obviously mis-lead into dealing with a strip-mining company. And how is it that a multi-million dollar operation like the Rays could be corralled so neat, and packaged so air-tight in a naming rights agreement with one of their Spring Training counties biggest legal/environmental concerns without a raising a single red flag ?

How is it these same intelligent and resourceful Rays front office gurus got turned sideways and ultimately blindsided to the true life exploits by the world’s phosphate heavyweight, the Mosaic Company. Sure, on paper the deal look incredible for Charlotte County to get $ 75,000 each year for the next 15 seasons to help supplement their county-wide budget shortfalls. On paper, the entire deal might have looked like a total “W” for the Rays, but instead, it quickly became a localized fire storm of public concern and controversy with maybe a few misguided intentions.


I would have thought that the Rays would have had a team of public investigators, or at least economic or political renegades out in front of any type of naming rights agreements to fully dot the “I’s” and cross the “T’s” with total airs of confidence about any possible business misalignments with Mosaic. It took me only a short Google search on the subjects of “Mosaic Company” and “Charlotte County” to dig up a report filed by official of Charlotte County on a past Peace River pact and subsequent dealing with Mosaic and Charlotte County for “minor modifications” to their Old Colony Wetlands Resources Permit (146465-001) back in early 2009.

Or how local neighboring county, Manatee County filed civil suit after suit trying to protect the watersheds of the Peace River and their county from the possible potash pollutants produced by the strip mining of phosphates by the Mosaic Company.



Or maybe they could of just pulled up a web listing of an old Lakeland Ledger article dated 12/12/2008 that showed just how ruthless and to what lengths Mosaic would go to get its way in this region of Florida. If the Rays had seen in advance the past civil dealings of Mosaic when they planned to “indirectly” extract their company will upon regional county governmental agencies by filing a supposed $618 million lawsuit over the action of the Manatee County Commission after they denied a 2,000 acre Peace River Basin project.


In December 2008, Because of the clout and possible fiscal damages that could be endured by Manatee County, the collective majority of Manatee County attorneys was trying to convince the MCC to accept a settlement deal provided by Mosaic, and re-enter into public hearings to determine the feasibility of Mosaic’s proposed mining activities on the 400-acre Altman tract, which was located in a North Manatee tract of high quality wetlands that was eyed by the world’s phosphate giant for possible mining operations.

It is rare that you find a team like the Rays looking like a total stooge in a situation, but in this case……….the shoe fits, and it is might tight too. And I am not proud of the fact that a Rays management team got so turned around by the supposed huge dollar figures over the next fifteen years and might have been blinded by the process of gaining another Corporate heavyweight in their corner as a possible ally.

And it is great that the Rays would have lifted up this deal and shown that they have the backing of one of the world’s leaders in an industry to boost their Corporate credibility among the Tampa Bay region by the collective thinking of infusing both Charlotte County and their own coffers with a giant in their industry. The problem is that it directly insulted their Spring Training host county, and the cities surrounding it. And the stink from that meshing might take a while for everyone involved to forget totally about down in Charlotte County.

And you can bet there is definitely going to be a corporate “cleaner” or a nice team of spin doctors assigned to make this naming rights agreement not only disappear, but fade from public view and scrutiny as swift as corporately possible. Some had to have misplaced an Email or even misdirected a report for this to explode like this in the Rays faces. And you can be sure there will be someone within the Rays organization that is going to have to sacrifice himself for this error of corporate judgment.

Sure most of us north of Port Charlotte and Charlotte County were not as extremely effected by the news as the locale itself, but they are our neighbors, and for that we have to throw a bit of empathy their direction. But it is going to be a week of walking on eggshells for Rays officials down in Charlotte County before all of the stench begins to fall away from this dealing. With Rays staffers already hard at work down in Charlotte County, hopefully none of them will suffer or feel any of the fallout from this naming rights deal.

Hopefully the community will see it as a simple error in judgment, or maybe even a “business deal gone wrong” and let the dealings repair itself in time. But no matter what the outcome down in Charlotte Country from all of this, to what extent did the Rays damage their own reputations.


Major League Baseball hates controversy, and maybe with the Rays able to dodge the bullet a bit here and get the situation handled before it really hit the fan hardcore, they might have saved face within the community both with fans and the corporate world. I do not write a lot of political or business based blogs, but in this case I felt it was needed to provide an outlet and a chance for the air to clear.


With the Rays requesting the removal of any naming rights discussion of Charlotte Sports Park off the Charlotte County Commission’s agenda today, it was the right and first step to rectifying a huge wrong to our neighbors to the South of Tampa Bay. Maybe if the Rays had meeting with the Charlotte County head honchos this mud would have never hit the fan and all would have been avoided with any damage control.

And this is an issue I think will die down fast to us up here in Tampa Bay, but I have a feeling it will still sting and stink in Port Charlotte, Florida for a bit longer than Spring Training this year.

www.mocsaicco.com still has an announcement of the proposed naming rights deal with the Rays on their corporate website .With the Rays asking the discussion of the Charlotte Sports Park off the Charlotte County Commission’s agenda today, it was the right and first step to rectifying a huge wrong to our neighbors to the South of Tampa Bay.

Maybe if the Rays had meeting with the Charlotte County head honchos this mud would have never hit the fan and all would have been avoided with any damage control. And this is an issue I think will die down fast to us up here in Tampa Bay, but I have a feeling it will still sting and stink in Port Charlotte, Florida for a bit longer than Spring Training this year.


I was completely unaware of this story, so thanks for bringing it to our attention. You’re the Erin Brockovich of baseball!


Naming rights and controversies seem to have hit the Tampa Bay Rays. I think that the risks weren’t worth it for that team. Hopefully all goes well in this situation.

Matthew T

If I was a woman, telling me I might look like Julia Roberts would be……..maybe a good thing.
But I did nothing that a little sweat and eyestrain would have prevented the Rays from making a bonehead move and upsetting their Spring Training host county.
the good thing is that the Rays did backpedal and take the precautions to put the fire out before it became uncontainable….But the best thing is that it gave them wisdom to not always trust the dog and pony show, but to look underneath the surface for the real dirt.

Rays Renegade


This is why websites like Carfax and sites to investigate mortgage companies and background checks have been so popular.
Most days you do not know you have been taken advantage of until it is too late and the chekcing account is drained and the credit cards maxed to the limit.
The Charlotte County folks hit the alarm button fast and furious, or this thing might have gotten way out of hand.

Rays Renegade


i’m a big fan of corporate sponsorship. my buddies are big Indians fans and hate that Jacobs Field is now Progressive Field. It just comes with the times and is mainstream now. PNC is a national coroporation in Pittsburgh and i am proud to have them sponsor our beautiful stadium.


I is almost like you have to live with bad decision in some towns. PNC is a respected financial institution.
I agree with your Cleveland friend, I liked it better as Jacob’s Field too, but you are right times, they are a-changin’.
But the mis-guided attempts by the Rays to position themselves with Mosaic without consulting the Couty Government down in Charlotte County is insane to me.
Simply insane!

Rays Renegade


Big $$$ is always gonna attract big business. I agree with Jane though here, Cliff in that you have a knack for disclosing these issues that seem to be hidden from most of us. Nice work.

I totally agree with the statement on big business.
I would like to think the investigative side of my blogs comes from the newspapers from High School to professional that I have written for in my life are finally shining though clear as day.
I take pride in digging deep and finding clues, oddities or even a fine line of compromise and comparison to the sport and the things that happen both between and away from the foul lines.

Rays Renegade


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