After years of failed attempts by the MLB’s Tampa Bay Rays to build a new stadium, the team thinks it’s finally come up with a solution — play some of its home games in Montreal.
According to ESPN, the Rays have received permission from MLB’s executive council to explore a plan that would see the Rays play homes games in both Tampa Bay and Montreal.
The plan would see the Rays playing early season home games in Tampa Bay and the rest in Montreal. Both cities would then plan on getting new stadiums to host the games. The idea being that the ability to play games early in the season in Florida would allow for a stadium without a dome, which would reduce the cost of a new facility.
"It's an interesting kind of idea," Rays outfielder/infielder Brandon Lowe told ESPN in Oakland on Thursday night. "It's in the future. It's so far ahead of us that it's going to be big news right now, but I feel like a lot of us are just kind of, 'Iit happened, we saw it,' but that's really all it is."
Montreal lost the Expos back in 2005. That team became the Washington Nationals. However, the city has continued to support the idea of bringing baseball back.
"My priority remains the same, I am committed to keeping baseball in Tampa Bay for generations to come," said Rays owner Stuart Sternberg said via statement. "I believe this concept is worthy of serious exploration."
The plan is considered long-term, and local government appears to be in opposition.
"The Rays cannot explore playing any Major League Baseball games in Montreal or anywhere else for that matter prior to 2028, without reaching a formal memorandum of understanding with the City of St. Petersburg," St. Petersburg mayor Rick Kriseman said via statement. "Ultimately, such a decision is up to me. And I have no intention of bringing this latest idea to our city council to consider. In fact, I believe this is getting a bit silly."
The Rays' average attendance of 14,546 is the second lowest in the majors, ahead of only the Miami Marlins, despite a 43-31 record.