The Tampa Bay Rays have had serious issues with both their ballpark (which needs upgrading) and their fan support (which is often lacking) and the franchise is reportedly considering a creative way to help.
ESPN’s Jeff Passan reports that Tampa Bay has received permission from Major League Baseball to explore a deal with Montreal.
“The plan: Play early-season home games in the Tampa Bay area and finish the season in Montreal,” he reports.
Yes, it’s a real plan.
BREAKING: The Tampa Bay Rays have received MLB's permission to explore becoming two-city team: the Tampa Bay area and Montreal, sources tell ESPN. The plan: Play early-season home games in the Tampa Bay area and finish the season in Montreal. News at ESPN: https://t.co/X6uSt4KLfC
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) June 20, 2019
From the report:
Under the plan, the Rays would play in new stadiums in both the Tampa Bay area and Montreal, according to sources. The ability to play games early in the season in Florida would preclude the need for a domed stadium, cutting the cost of a new building. A month ago, Bronfman — who along with Montreal businessman Mitch Garber has expressed interest in taking a minority stake in the Rays alongside owner Stuart Sternberg — reached an agreement with a developer on a site in Montreal’s Point-Saint-Charles neighborhood to potentially build a new stadium. The number of home games each city would receive has not been determined, according to sources.
Tampa Bay is currently second to last in MLB attendance. The Rays were second-to-last in attendance in 2018 and last in 2017.
The product on the field has been decent, as Tampa Bay is currently in second place in the AL East.
The Rays went 90-72 last season.