Published: Sat, December 07, 2019
Sport | By Kayla Schwartz

Mayor shoots down plan for Rays-Montreal

Mayor shoots down plan for Rays-Montreal

The long-term future of the Tampa Bay Rays is again in sizable doubt after the Major League Baseball team and the City of St. Petersburg, Florida, broke off talks to explore the potential of playing a split-season schedule between the team's home market and Montreal.

But the team is contractually obligated to play all their home games at Tropicana Field through the 2027 season, and are forbidden from negotiating to play elsewhere through the end of the contract term.

In a letter to the City Council, Kriseman said both parties have agreed to abide by the current deal that keeps the team at Tropicana Field until after the 2027 season.

Sternberg had said he envisioned the plan taking effect as soon as 2024.

The mayor has stated that while he is open to public funding toward a new baseball stadium, it would be with the understanding that the team remain in the city full-time, and that no funding would be available for any construction of a ballpark for a part-time team.

The Rays routinely rank near the bottom of the majors in attendance, including 29th among 30 teams this year, and have been pursuing a replacement for Tropicana Field for the past decade.

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"I proceed to contemplate that the Rays Organization will come to uncover that the Tampa Bay region, and particularly St. Pete, remains the absolute most realistic region to play baseball and to succeed within the long lumber", Kriseman said within the letter.

"First, we do not agree that this is the best path forward".

Rays' main owner, Stu Sternberg, responded to the letter by saying, "We do not think this is the best way to go". Second, we asked for the opportunity to explore this concept with both St. Petersburg and Montreal, and with Tampa and Montreal.

Sternberg released a statement later Wednesday in response to Kriseman's memo.

"We glance for that we must now earn into consideration our publish-2027 ideas and all that entails, and we remain steadfast in our belief that the Sister Metropolis concept is deserving of apt consideration", he said. "We will have no further comment at this time".

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