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Jim Furtado
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Montreal Newsbeat

Thursday, January 20, 2022

MLB kills Rays’ split-city plan with Montreal

The Rays’ proposed plan to split seasons in Montreal has been killed by Major League Baseball officials, the Tampa Bay Times has learned, creating even more uncertainty about the team’s long-term future in Tampa Bay.

The decision is sure to frustrate and stun team officials, who had spent 2 ½ years on the project and were expecting approval to proceed with efforts to get open-air stadiums built in both markets. The Rays also sought approval from the players union.

Rays prinicpal owner Stuart Sternberg is set to discuss the issue with media at 1 p.m. Among the questions will be whether the Rays will now seek permission from MLB to explore relocation to another market, and if Sternberg, who took over the team in 2005, will look to sell.

Rays officials now will head down a path they have explored — and dismissed — previously: seeking a new full-time home in the Tampa Bay area. The lease agreement at Tropicana Field expires after the 2027 season and plans to build a new stadium would likely need to be in place by 2023 to be ready for opening day 2028.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: January 20, 2022 at 12:25 PM | 26 comment(s)
  Beats: montreal, rays

Tuesday, October 26, 2021

‘Dear Rays, Montreal won’t pay for your new stadium’ billboard up near Trop

Right next to the Interstate 275 exit for The Pier, between flashes of ads for light beer, is a message on a billboard from the Canadian Taxpayers Federation to the Tampa Bay Rays.

Every minute or so, “Dear Rays, Montreal won’t pay for your new stadium. Sincerely, Taxpayers” lights up just west of Tropicana Field.

It’s a stark message for the Rays, who have been exploring splitting future seasons between Tampa Bay and Montreal, a move they say would make the organization more financially viable in Tampa Bay long-term. The Rays’ lease at Tropicana Field is up in 2027, and the topic has dominated the St. Petersburg mayoral race, which ends Nov. 2. Tampa has been working on finding a site for the Rays in Ybor City.

Renaud Brossard, Quebec Director for the Canadian Taxpayers Federation, flew down for less than 48 hours to host a news conference Monday morning underneath the billboard outside Lot 2 at Tropicana Field. He said he had hoped the Rays would be in the World Series so he could go to a game.

Brossard said his organization, which he characterized as not-for-profit and nonpartisan, wanted to send a clear message to the Rays: that Quebec taxpayers are against any kind of subsidies to build a stadium in Montreal for a part-time, or even full-time, Rays team. He cited a March poll, where 60 percent of 1,000 Quebecers surveyed did not want public money to go toward the construction of a baseball stadium in Montreal, a project led by billionaire Stephen Bronfman.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: October 26, 2021 at 11:19 AM | 12 comment(s)
  Beats: montreal, rays

Monday, September 27, 2021

TB progressing with Montreal Sister City plan

While expressing club officials’ desire to be “very considerate” about keeping their focus on the field, Rays president Matt Silverman revealed the team will soon be “more visible and more vocal” regarding its Sister City plan to split future seasons between the Tampa Bay area and Montreal.

During an interview on the This Week in Rays Baseball pregame radio show, Silverman said the Rays will unveil a sign representing the plan at Tropicana Field during the playoffs.

“For the postseason, we’re going to add a sign in the right-field foul territory with a very simple Tampa Bay Montreal graphic. Especially with the eyes of baseball on us this October, we want that visible symbol of our plan and our excitement for it,” Silverman said during his radio interview. “It’ll mark the effort subtly and keep the focus on winning and winning games in October and getting to that final game, maybe, and finally winning it for the first time in franchise history.”

The Rays first unveiled the Sister City concept in June 2019, when Major League Baseball’s executive council granted the club permission to explore the possibility of playing a schedule with home games split between the Tampa Bay area and Montreal. At the time, Commissioner Rob Manfred said the plan would aim to “preserve baseball in Tampa, but improve the economics of the club overall by playing some of their games in Montreal.”

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: September 27, 2021 at 01:17 PM | 63 comment(s)
  Beats: montreal, rays



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