Baseball Snuffs Out Rays' Montreal-Tampa Split-City Plan


The city of Montreal's hopes and dreams of at least a part-time team have been quashed by major league baseball. 

The Tampa Bay Rays, who have perennially struggled to draw sufficient crowds to their woebegone Tropicana Field in Tampa, had been diligently working on a plan for the past 2 1/2 years to "share" the team with Montreal, and play half its games in the Canadian city. 

But MLB has officially put the kibosh on the plan, as reported by Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Timesdespite originally giving Tampa the OK to investigate such an arrangement. In fact,  baseball commissioner Rob Manfred said, just two years ago, “I am 100 percent convinced and, more importantly, the other owners have been convinced... that this is the best way to keep Major League Baseball in Tampa Bay.”

The Rays are stunned by the decision, and no particular reasoning has been given. 

“We put everything we had into this effort because we truly believed in it — we thought it was great for the Rays, for our players, for Major League Baseball, for Montreal and Tampa Bay,” team president Brian Auld told the Tampa Bay Times. “And to have the rug pulled out from under us like this is extraordinarily disappointing.”

The Rays' lease at Tropicana Field runs out after 2027, and as of now, they have no plans for where they will be on Opening Day 2028. 

They will "reluctantly" look at ways of securing a new full-time home in the Tampa area, as difficult as that may be. 

Team officials, however, according to Topkin, have "no immediate plans to ask permission from MLB to explore relocation to another market," and there are no current plans to sell the team.

Photo Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports