For the past couple years the Rays have focused on what their new home will be after their lease at Tropicana Field (AKA the mausoleum) is up after the 2027 season almost exclusively via an idea of splitting time between the Tampa Bay Area and Montreal. Well, they can forget that as MLB has now given the idea a big thumbs down.
So now the Rays are back to square one. Few argue that Tropicana is a substandard venue. Many do not know it is also the 8th oldest stadium in MLB. Sternberg’s main beef is the poor attendance at home games in their crappy stadium in a bad location in St Pete. Of course, his preferred solution is a billion dollar freebie, or at least deeply discounted.
So, now what? They could resurrect a prior idea in the area, and it might work depending on how much money they are willing to kick in. No doubt various groups will posit any of a handful of cities for relocation. The primary obstacle to the most commonly mentioned places—Orlando, Portland, San Antonio, Las Vegas, Nashville, Montreal full time, Charlotte—is that none of them have major league ready venues…or plans to build one. Also, every one of those places is claimed as territory of another MLB team that would want (a lot of) remuneration should the Rays choose to move—except Orlando, which is their territory.
Best of luck to them.
2 thoughts on “Rays’ Two-City Plan Down in Flames”
Obviously MLB has decided that if the Ray’s organization were to acquire even just a mid market status they would become so dominate that fan interest would decline in all the other markets.
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It’s the same MLB that has never had the All Star game in Tampa Bay, never even considered it when they took it away from Atlanta last year. They’re trying to push the free playground for the billionaires and dangling the All Star Game as a carrot (not even close to an even trade).
I don’t really know why MLB is so set against two $500M parks in two cities rather than a $1G retractable roof palace somewhere else—other than a mild scheduling inconvenience to have to figure out an annual end of June/early July road trip and likely having to relocate back to FL for postseasons.
For right now, though, the Rays have lost the only viable blackmail chip they had. They also now need to find a no-kidding plan by about 2024, get an agreement in place and funding NLT 2026, and then almost immediately start ground-breaking. Otherwise any new home won’t be ready by Opening Day in 2028…and they’ll still be playing in the mausoleum.