The Tampa Bay Rays organization is exploring the possibility of playing the first half of their season in Tampa and the second half in Montreal. The Rays attendance figures have been the league low for years and the city of Montreal allegedly wants baseball back since losing the Expos in 2004.
I think this is a really strange idea that is definitely not going to happen.
The article mentions that both Tampa Bay and Montreal will be building new stadiums. If that’s the case, there is no way that the cities will be splitting the season’s slate of home games. Why spend all that money for new stadiums to only have 40-41 games there? I can’t see this happening.
Not to mention, who would want to play for the Montrampa Bay Rays? What are players supposed to do with their families, homes, jet skis? Good luck getting any free agents. There is also a large implication regarding the language differences, currency, taxes, etc. that would only create more confusion.
To me, this seems like an obvious ploy by the MLB to allow the Rays organization to engage in stadium deal talks with the city of Montreal while using those talks to leverage a new stadium deal with Tampa Bay.
Here are the two options of how this is going to play out:
- City of Tampa Bay agrees to build a new stadium. They still struggle getting people in the seats and eventually lose the team.
- City of Tampa Bay refuses to build the new stadium. Montreal builds a new stadium and gets the team.
TLDR: Just move the team to Montreal full-time.