MLB nixes Rays' split-city plan with Montreal
The Tampa Bay Rays' plan to split their home schedule between Florida and Montreal is off.
Team owner Stuart Sternberg said Thursday that the MLB executive council killed the plan, according to the Los Angeles Times' Bill Shaikin.
The proposal was under discussion for more than two years. Rays officials said it was their best long-term option and dismissed their chances of finding a new stadium in the Tampa area, according to the Tampa Bay Times' Marc Topkin.
Despite the setback, team co-president Brian Auld remains optimistic about the future.
"We're absolutely committed to figuring it out," Auld said. "If there's one thing the Rays have been pretty good at over the years, it's accomplishing things that people think we can't do. So we're going to bring every ounce of innovation and creativity and analysis we've got to solve this problem."
Stephen Bronfman of Montreal Baseball Group reacted to the decision in a statement.
"While we are disappointed with MLB's decision, we respect it. I am very proud of the work we've done together with our partners and friends in Tampa Bay," Bronfman said.
Tampa Bay's lease at Tropicana Field is set to expire after the 2027 season. The Rays would likely need to secure a new stadium deal by 2023 to be ready for Opening Day in 2028, Topkin adds.
Sternberg said attendance in the 2022 campaign could be a factor in deciding future plans.
The Rays owner also said he has no plans to sell the team and relocation is not part of his thought process, according to MLB Network's Jon Morosi.
Tampa Bay established itself as one of the best teams in baseball in recent years, making the postseason three consecutive times, including a World Series appearance in 2020. It reached the 100-win plateau for the first time in franchise history last year.