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Friday, August 22, 2014

DRays Bay: Rays to Montreal? “Smart chronicler” says yes

Pre-game conversation with a smart chronicler of the Rays, who believes team is finished in this market and eventually headed to Montreal.

— Lynn G. Henning (@Lynn_Henning) August 20, 2014

As I have said before, and in direct disagreement with Henning, the Rays do not have a weak market as they face almost no competition for baseball, with excellent television ratings. Baseball is a television sport.

A far more likely team to move would be the Oakland Athletics, who have a far worse stadium than the Rays, and direct market competition with a massive franchise in the Giants, who surely would love to control the west coast, bay-area market.

 

” cols=“100” rows=“20”>

Oh goody, now Montreal can be part of the ruse to extort cities for new stadiums!

Lynn G. Henning, a writer for The Detroit News, reported at the beginning of this series that he’d had an in-depth conversation with a presumably knowledgeable source that the Rays are on their way to Montreal.

This is a standard rumor for the Rays franchise. Complications of baseball’s worst attendance and most chastised stadium, combined with two very limiting contracts in the lease on Tropicana Field and minimal television revenue, have made this a routine conversation. Purporting an actual source, however, is a new development….

 

As I have said before, and in direct disagreement with Henning, the Rays do not have a weak market as they face almost no competition for baseball, with excellent television ratings. Baseball is a television sport.

A far more likely team to move would be the Oakland Athletics, who have a far worse stadium than the Rays, and direct market competition with a massive franchise in the Giants, who surely would love to control the west coast, bay-area market.

 

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: August 22, 2014 at 01:02 PM | 39 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: montreal, rays, relocation, stadium

Reader Comments and Retorts

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   1. RMc is a fine piece of cheese Posted: August 22, 2014 at 01:15 PM (#4777192)
It would be funny if the Rays threatened to move to San Francisco, Texas, Seattle and/or Chicago...since teams in those cities threatened to move to Tampa Bay in the 90s.

eventually headed to Montreal


I first thought, "Well, they'd have to build a big-league stadium there first"...until I realized they don't have one where they are now...
   2. TerpNats Posted: August 22, 2014 at 01:23 PM (#4777205)
We're from Washington; we know the drill. If Montreal can find an equivalent of the Lerners and build its version of Nationals Park, MLB will be back in Quebec. (I personally would prefer the A's go there, with the Rays moving to the AL Central a la the Bucs in the NFC Central all those years, with the Royals going to the AL West.)
   3. villageidiom Posted: August 22, 2014 at 01:26 PM (#4777210)
Setting aside any consideration of whether this has any chance of happening... Would it be better for Montreal to have an AL team or an NL team? If the former they have more games against Toronto, which would be a natural rival. If the latter they have... tradition?
   4. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: August 22, 2014 at 01:26 PM (#4777213)
I personally would prefer the A's go there

Yeah, well screw you.
   5. DEF: hates freedom Posted: August 22, 2014 at 01:38 PM (#4777219)
#2 nailed it - for baseball to return to Montreal, they need a billionaire who wants a team, and a publicly-funded, state-of-the-art stadium. Neither of those things can be found in Montreal right now, and neither of those things are likely to happen in the next couple of decades. Montreal isn't a real possibility, it's just a bogeyman to scare current cities unwilling to give in to MLB's demands. They'll play pre-season exhibition games in Montreal, and maybe even an in-season series or two, just to promote the fiction that Montreal is a viable alternative.
   6. AROM Posted: August 22, 2014 at 01:54 PM (#4777240)
A far more likely team to move would be the Oakland Athletics, who have a far worse stadium than the Rays


I haven't been to either, but for those who have is this even remotely true? Oakland sure looks better on the TV.
   7. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: August 22, 2014 at 01:57 PM (#4777246)
Pre-game conversation with a smart chronicler of the Rays, who believes team is finished in this market and eventually headed to Montreal.

Good rumor-spreading by Jonah Keri!
   8. AROM Posted: August 22, 2014 at 01:58 PM (#4777248)
Since they got good, Rays have had 18-22K per game attendance.

Expos:
2004 9369
2003 12662
2002 10025
2001 7935
2000 11435
1999 9547
1998 11295
1997 18489
1996 19959
1995 18189
1994 24543 - should have gone to WS

Their best ever was 27-28K from 1980-83, the best years of Carter-Dawson-Raines-Rogers.

   9. JE (Jason) Posted: August 22, 2014 at 02:00 PM (#4777253)
Yeah, well screw you.

Last I checked, the Montreal A's would be a bit closer to the Upper East Side.
   10. McCoy Posted: August 22, 2014 at 02:05 PM (#4777258)
Oddly enough I had dream last night that I was back in time and 18 again. The Cubs had picked me up the year before and right before the season started they traded me away. I was devestated because I was going to be so great that I just knew the Cubs would win the world series that year with me as the starting SS. So with my soul crushed by the apparent stupidity of the Cubs I refuse to play for the new team and instead buy the Montreal Expos. I then go about totally revamping the Expos and build a franchise that knocks the Yankees out in the World Series.
   11. Nasty Nate Posted: August 22, 2014 at 02:10 PM (#4777263)
That's a better plot than Inception.
   12. An Athletic in Powderhorn™ Posted: August 22, 2014 at 02:12 PM (#4777267)
I haven't been to either, but for those who have is this even remotely true? Oakland sure looks better on the TV.
The pre-Raiders Coliseum was quite pretty. Even the current Mt. Davis version is nothing to be ashamed of. I've never understood the near-universal condemnation of the place. It's a perfectly fine place to see a game.
   13. Random Transaction Generator Posted: August 22, 2014 at 02:15 PM (#4777271)
It's a perfectly fine place to see a game.


But not necessarily a fine place to play a game.
   14. An Athletic in Powderhorn™ Posted: August 22, 2014 at 02:26 PM (#4777280)
Now how could I miss (or possibly forget) a story like that? Damn. If that or similar problems are recurrent, it would explain a lot about the disconnect between my experience of the Coliseum and all the complaining done by Wolff and Selig.
   15. McCoy Posted: August 22, 2014 at 02:43 PM (#4777301)
A lot of the maintenance issues are usually self inflicted wounds. It would be interesting to see who is in charge of maintenance or better yet who sets the budgets and pays the bills for upkeep. At one point in time people thought Fenway was a dump and the Red Sox needed a new stadium. I think even Gammons got in on the Fenway bashing. Then, poofda, new ownership comes in and actually picks up the trash and suddenly Fenway is a great place. Veterans had the same stories told about it as well.
   16. Der-K and the statistical werewolves. Posted: August 22, 2014 at 02:48 PM (#4777305)
14 - they are, as i understand it
15 - no doubt
   17. villageidiom Posted: August 22, 2014 at 03:16 PM (#4777321)
Expos:
2004 9369
2003 12662
2002 10025
2001 7935
2000 11435
1999 9547
1998 11295
1997 18489
1996 19959
1995 18189
1994 24543 - should have gone to WS
The metro Montreal area has something like 20% more people than it did 20 years ago - and more to the point, 40% more than the metro Tampa/St. Pete area does now.

Montreal would be around the 15th largest metro area with a team (Tampa is 19th), comparable to Detroit and Seattle. The Riverside/San Bernardino/Ontario CA metro area would be the only one in the US that is larger and "without" a team. (It is close enough to LA/Anaheim that I don't really consider them to be without a team.)

And unlike much of the population growth in US metros, which generally comes in outlying areas, much of the growth in the Montreal metro area has been within the city. The city of Montreal has seen population rise 60% from 20 years ago.

Montreal is probably a more viable baseball town than Tampa is.
   18. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: August 22, 2014 at 03:28 PM (#4777336)
#2 nailed it - for baseball to return to Montreal, they need a billionaire who wants a team, and a publicly-funded, state-of-the-art stadium. Neither of those things can be found in Montreal right now, and neither of those things are likely to happen in the next couple of decades.


Its just a rumor, and not a good one at that, probably more wishful thinking, but the rumor is that Stephen Bronfman, son of former Expos owner Charles Bronfman, might be interested in bringing a team back to Montreal.

But yea, they need a publicly funded stadium. I'm guessing there isn't much political enthusiasm for that?
   19. The Anthony Kennedy of BBTF (Scott) Posted: August 22, 2014 at 03:50 PM (#4777352)
I'd be really interested in the Rays attendance numbers if their stadium weren't a pain in the ass to get to. Even if it were just a Trop clone in a better location I think you'd see a big increase as they do gangbusters on local TV, with IIRC the fifth highest ratings overall. There's a lot of Rays fans who find it hard to get to games, and that artificially deflates their attendance.
   20. Ron J2 Posted: August 22, 2014 at 03:50 PM (#4777353)
#18 Somewhat less than zero enthusiasm for a publicly funded stadium.
   21. AROM Posted: August 22, 2014 at 03:55 PM (#4777358)
How long is the Rays lease anyway? Aren't they obligated to play in the Trop for about 75 more years?
   22. The District Attorney Posted: August 22, 2014 at 04:20 PM (#4777375)
Good rumor-spreading by Jonah Keri!
Hopefully Jonah doesn't want to steal someone else's team. I do think his book has invigorated more conversation about Montreal as a market. It'd be sadly ironic if that contributes towards Montreal becoming the boogeyman to make everyone else worry about losing their team as #5 speculates, or even actually netting them a stolen team.
   23. DL from MN Posted: August 22, 2014 at 04:34 PM (#4777390)
a billionaire who wants a team, and a publicly-funded, state-of-the-art stadium


I think they might be more likely to find these things in San Antonio, TX. They built the AlamoDome without an NFL team, they would probably build an MLB team if they knew it was coming.

I'd rather see expansion to Montreal and San Antonio and have 32 teams with 4 team divisions. Let the A's move to San Jose and move the Rays to a new stadium in Tampa.
   24. DL from MN Posted: August 22, 2014 at 04:37 PM (#4777392)
The Rays' lease at Tropicana Field runs through 2027
   25. Flynn Posted: August 22, 2014 at 04:38 PM (#4777394)
There is a Liberal government in Quebec City, there is absolutely more than zero enthusiasm for a publicly funded stadium. This is a government that is paying half the bill for an arena in Quebec City for an imaginary Nordiques team, and it would win votes off-island. If it's seen as being the last piece in the puzzle for a team, it's all up for grabs.

As for the money men, the Stephen Bronfman rumor has been around for a while, but there's also Bell Media. TSN in Canada lost ALL of their NHL rights (except for a few regional rights) to Rogers, and the first thing a LOT of people thought (after what's gonna happen to Hockey Night in Canada) is that puts Bell in the baseball business. CFL and junior hockey isn't going to bring in sustainable eyeballs.
   26. AROM Posted: August 22, 2014 at 04:42 PM (#4777398)
There is a Liberal government in Quebec City, there is absolutely more than zero enthusiasm for a publicly funded stadium.


Good for them. A multibillion dollar industry like baseball should be paying its own expenses. Liberal doesn't have anything to do with it. In the U.S. Bud and Co. have found plenty of liberal and conservative politicians to do their bidding.
   27. AROM Posted: August 22, 2014 at 04:45 PM (#4777402)
The Rays' lease at Tropicana Field runs through 2027


13 years - you can almost see the light at the end of the tunnel.
   28. Chone Mueller Posted: August 22, 2014 at 04:59 PM (#4777412)
The pre-Raiders Coliseum was quite pretty.


Since the Coliseum was built for the Raiders and the Raiders were its original residents, a "pre-Raiders Coliseum" doesn't exist. Not in Oakland, anyway.
   29. RMc is a fine piece of cheese Posted: August 22, 2014 at 05:19 PM (#4777425)
They built the AlamoDome without an NFL team, they would probably build an MLB team if they knew it was coming.

They've used the Alamodome for baseball before, so it's least possible it could be used temporarily whilst building a real MLB ballpark. (They'd have to do something about right field, though; it's only 275 feet from home plate.)

Montreal is probably a more viable baseball town than Tampa is.

Montreal was a viable baseball town for a generation. Tampa, not so much.
   30. God Posted: August 22, 2014 at 09:10 PM (#4777523)
Stupid question -- why does having a lease force you to actually play in a given location? Can't you just make your lease payments on the empty stadium while playing somewhere else?
   31. An Athletic in Powderhorn™ Posted: August 22, 2014 at 09:20 PM (#4777531)
28: Well, true. A more accurate way to phrase what I meant would have been "The Coliseum, in the interim between the Raiders moving to LA and their return, which necessitated the building of that concrete eyesore beyond center field, was quite pretty." But that seemed too wordy.
   32. bobm Posted: August 22, 2014 at 09:44 PM (#4777537)
[30]
http://www.tampabay.com/sports/baseball/rays/the-powerful-piece-of-paper-that-is-the-tampa-bay-rays-lease/1223089

The threat begins on page 32 of the document. It doesn't sound scary at all.

And, yet, it is the reason politicians, business leaders and maybe even the commissioner of baseball are careful what they say about a new stadium for the Tampa Bay Rays.

This brief, four-sentence section is known as the "exclusive dealings'' portion of the stadium use agreement between the Rays and St. Petersburg.

In other words, it is the lock keeping the Rays inside Tropicana Field. And if you doubt its ability to intimidate, you haven't been paying attention. [...]

The clause, essentially, forbids the Rays from negotiating to play in any stadium other than Tropicana Field before 2027. And any violation would result in "irreparable harm and damages.''

Translation: We'll sue the jockstrap off ya.

"Did we do our homework?'' asked St. Petersburg City Attorney John Wolfe, who was an assistant city attorney at the time. "Yes, we did.''
   33. Greg K Posted: August 22, 2014 at 10:04 PM (#4777548)
As for the money men, the Stephen Bronfman rumor has been around for a while, but there's also Bell Media. TSN in Canada lost ALL of their NHL rights (except for a few regional rights) to Rogers, and the first thing a LOT of people thought (after what's gonna happen to Hockey Night in Canada) is that puts Bell in the baseball business. CFL and junior hockey isn't going to bring in sustainable eyeballs.

It should be noted for those that don't know, Rogers owns the Blue Jays, so TSN getting into the baseball business that way is unlikely.

(And Rogers taking over NHL rights starting this year gives them the two biggest sports tickets in Canada. Not sure what TSN can broadcast now...some Raptors games? I see TSN is launching 3 or 4 new channels this week too...what are they going to be showing?)
   34. boteman Posted: August 22, 2014 at 10:39 PM (#4777564)
The past few days TSN seems like an endless loop of "Top 10 Weird Defensive Plays" and begging for dollars to restore that water park that is rusting away. Oh, and the Canadian Pacific Women's Open golf tourney. Overall, I have been completely underwhelmed by the TSN offerings I've seen while in the upper right corner.

I did see the Blue Jays at Brewers game the other day, but don't know if that's a rarity for them.
   35. SteveM. Posted: August 23, 2014 at 05:35 AM (#4777632)
[quoteThe Rays' lease at Tropicana Field runs through 2027
13 years - you can almost see the light at the end of the tunnel.
]

Until the inevitable Tet offensive.
   36. SteveM. Posted: August 23, 2014 at 05:37 AM (#4777633)
Geez, I will never get the hang of being able to post correctly from my IPhone.
   37. RMc is a fine piece of cheese Posted: August 23, 2014 at 08:36 AM (#4777643)
I see TSN is launching 3 or 4 new channels this week too...what are they going to be showing?

Re-runs of The Edison Twins...
   38. DFA Posted: August 27, 2014 at 02:23 AM (#4779777)
In 2009, the Rays totaled 1.8M fans, in 2013, total attendance 1.5M. Obviously 2009 was after their 2008 pennant, but in 2013 they were a playoff team. Franchise relocation should not be taken lightly, though I'm not sure how much weight to put into TV figures, especially if it doesn't translate to butts in the seats...
   39. BrianBrianson Posted: August 27, 2014 at 06:04 AM (#4779781)
In the U.S. Bud and Co. have found plenty of liberal and conservative politicians to do their bidding.


Liberal doesn't mean liberal. In context, it means "federalist". I doubt a nationalist or sovereignist government would feel any differently about a publicly funded baseball stadium, however. As noted, they're keen on a publicly funded sports stadium for a profitable professional team, as long as it's the Northmen. I don't see a public outcry for a hypothetical-Expos stadium happening, I don't see how it's in the mob's interests, so I don't see it happening, regardless of who's in power.

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