Tampa Bay Rays could play portion of seasons in Montreal


There hasn't been a major league baseball team in Montreal since 2004 when the Expos left for Washington.

"My priority remains the same, I am committed to keeping baseball in Tampa Bay for generations to come", Rays principal owner Stu Sternberg said in a statement.

I don't know. This is only in the exploration phase, but apparently it's serious. 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.

As Passan reported, a key component of the plan would be for the new stadiums to be built in both Tampa and Montreal. The Expos relocated to Washington following the 2004 season where they remain today as the Washington Nationals. Whether the Montreal games would be played at Olympic Stadium - previously home of the Expos - or a new venue is yet to be determined.

The Rays went 90-72 last season.

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But it was a short-lived thought, as mayor of St. Petersburg Rick Kriseman reportedly said he won't allow the Rays to talk to Montreal about such a possibility. "I do believe that". "Ultimately, such a decision is up to me". So this wouldn't just be about getting the Rays to move to a more geographically appropriate area of the Tampa Bay region. Tampa Bay was twice abandoned at the altar, but the eventual reward was the expansion Rays.

The Expos were MLB's first worldwide franchise and a popular destination for fans and visiting teams when they began, offering a lively, festive atmosphere at tiny Jarry Park with their jaunty organ music, curious logo and red, white and blue colours.

"Look, MLB, the Rays, they're trying to grow the brand of baseball". The city has hosted Toronto Blue Jays exhibition games in each of the past six years.

Rays management received permission from the league's executive council to "explore a plan" regarding the multiple city approach. Bronfman's father Charles is the original owner of the Expos.

What's clear, though, is that Sternberg is driving this process, and by pulling Montreal out from the shadows and into the spotlight, he's changed the rules of engagement as a way to force a resolution that has long eluded him.