In a move that shocked the world ( sarcasm ) MLB told Tampa Bay Rays principal owner Stewart Sternberg their executive council voted down the Rays plan to split its home games with the city of Montreal.
Statement from the Tampa Bay Rays regarding Sister City Baseball plan: pic.twitter.com/N9tA1CTeED — Tampa Bay Rays (@RaysBaseball) January 20, 2022
Long Dead End
For more than two and a half years the Rays have been laying the groundwork for this snowbird baseball lifestyle. And they thought MLB and the Commissioner were on board with this, Rob Manfred told the Tampa Bay Times in February 2020
Major League Baseball officials and owners now see the season-sharing plan with Montreal proposed by the Rays as the best way — “100 percent” — to keep a team, albeit part time, in the Tampa Bay market, commissioner Rob Manfred said Thursday.
“People continue to believe that the two-city alternative they’re exploring is viable and could be a really good solution for keeping baseball in Tampa Bay,” Manfred told the Tampa Bay Times after a scheduled owners meeting.
“I continue to be impressed by the energy that they’ve devoted to the project. And to the fact there is significant receptivity among our group, and excitement in some quarters about the possibility.”
Seems fair to assume after a statement like this that the Rays had pretty good reason to be optimistic about their cockamamie plan. I mean all they had to do was convince a bunch of rich old white guys to go along. oh yea and the MLBPA. You know those guys who just love traveling and being away from family. I’m sure they would have been on board with however the season was to be split up between the two home cities.
Stuart Sternberg says the team will be “exploring things in the Tampa Bay region.” He says Rays will examine attendance this year before determining future plans. @MLBNetwork — Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) January 20, 2022
So what is the endgame here for MLB
I believe it’s to move the Rays out of Tampa completely. The teams lease with Tropicana field expires in 2027. With this in Sternberg’s back pocket he can leverage Tampa St Pete into a more lucrative agreement on a new open air stadium with the threat of relocation. Not to just Montreal but to any MLB hungry area ( Like the Carolina’s. ) The Rays had been in Talks with the city about building a 700 Million Dollar open air stadium in which they would pick up half the tab. I’m sure that deal will be looked at again. This time with the team picking up much less of the cost.
As always you can follow/give me grief on Twitter @Tmurph207