We all know that Tampa Bay isn't much of a baseball city, which is why they are always towards the bottom in attendance, no matter how good their team is. That's why they are getting creative and exploring an unprecedented opportunity.
ESPN's Jeff Passan is reporting that Major League Baseball has given the Rays permission to explore splitting their season in two, playing their early-season games in Tampa Bay, and the other chunk in Montreal, both in new stadiums.
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
This is something that's never been done before, and obviously the entire game plan isn't set in stone, but essentially they'd become a two-city team, something we've never seen in professional sports.
This idea comes on the heels of the Rays' inability to get a new stadium plan approved, which they desperately need, and this course of action might be the only way they save baseball in the Tampa Bay area. Of course, it involves TWO spankin' new stadiums. Which taxpayers are approving that, exactly?
The return of baseball to Montreal has been a topic of conversation in recent years, as the team moved to Washington D.C. in 2005 and became the Nationals. There's a chance that Montreal could be one of the cities MLB chooses if or when they expand, but this might bring another baseball team to Canada sooner.
Will the creation of two new ballparks actually happen? Playing the early portion of the season in Tampa Bay would mean they don't need a domed stadium, which would cut costs.
I...guess this could work out? Nevertheless, this is a creative way to save baseball in Tampa and bring it back to Montreal, though we're not entirely sure why they don't just rip the bandaid off and check out sites north of the border exclusively.