Published: Fri, June 21, 2019
Sport | By Kayla Schwartz

Rays given permission to explore splitting games with Montreal

Rays given permission to explore splitting games with Montreal

According to Evan Drellich of The Athletic, the approval is only for an exploration of the possibility, with nothing set in stone.

There are still significant hurdles to be overcome that would preclude the plan from being in place until around 2023, according to reports. "I believe the concept is of serious consideration".

The Rays are open to the two-city solution to save baseball in Tampa Bay after years of lobbying for a new stadium in the area. Whether the Montreal games would be played at Olympic Stadium - previously home of the Expos - or a new venue is yet to be determined.

Securing funding to replace the archaic Tropicana Field with a new stadium has continually failed, and rumors have swirled for years that the Rays were a prime candidate to relocate out of St. Petersburg.

"My priority remains the same, I am committed to keeping baseball in Tampa Bay for generations to come, " Sternberg told the newspaper.

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Montreal has been without baseball since 2004 when the team moved to DC and became the Washington Nationals ahead of the 2005 season.

"There was a broad grant of permission to explore what's available", Manfred said. This when Rays owner Stuart Sternberg has been unsuccessful at getting a stadium built for a full-time team.

In their final two seasons, the Expos played 22 home games in Puerto Rico. If Montreal is successful in building a new ballpark and Tampa is not, then the obvious thing would be for the team to leave Florida entirely after its lease at miserable Tropicana Park ends in 2027. "And I have no intention of bringing this idea to our city council to consider", Kriseman said Thursday evening. Despite a 43-31 record and reigning Cy Young victor Blake Snell heading the pitching staff, the Rays are now averaging just 14,546 fans per game, the second-lowest in the Major League Baseball.

Montoyo, who played for the Expos in 1993 and spent four seasons on the Rays coaching staff, said that it would be "awesome" to have baseball back in Montreal, but he questioned the logistics of the operation.

Manfred said it's too soon to detail the particulars - as in, where the team would play postseason games, or in what stadiums.

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