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Orlando mayor: Rays welcome if they come knocking

Published:   |   Updated: March 21, 2013 at 03:45 AM

Could the Tampa Bay area lose the Rays to Orlando? It might be a long shot, but Orlando's mayor probably wouldn't mind.

Over the weekend, the Orlando ABC affiliate, WFTV Channel 9, ran an interview with Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer. The host of the "Central Florida Spotlight" program asked Dyer whether he would answer if the Rays came knocking on his door while looking for a new home.

"I'd certainly answer, and I'd want to explore that opportunity," Dyer said, according to video of the interview posted on WFTV's Web site.

Dyer went on to say Orlando has supported the NBA's Orlando Magic and might do the same for the Rays.

"I think Major League Baseball could do better in Orlando," he said, but he added that the best overall fit for Orlando would be an NFL team.

Will the city make a pitch for the Rays? Dyer said he's friendly with St. Petersburg Mayor Bill Foster and Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn. So, he wouldn't discuss the matter unless negotiations failed in the Bay area, he said.

On Thursday, a spokeswoman for Dyer said Orlando has no effort to lure the team to that city

msasso@tampatrib.com (813) 259-7865