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Recently, the MLB gave the Tampa Bay Rays permission to explore splitting their home games between Tampa Bay and Montreal and here is what you need to know about it.
One of the main reasons for the idea to do this is the lack of interest in baseball in Tampa Bay. The Rays attendance has not been about the bottom two spots in the MLB since 2010 and they are currently sitting at an average of 14,545 people per game. This is despite a 45-33 record, which is good for 6th best in baseball. The Rays manager, Kevin Cash, said that the goal is to keep, and hopefully, improve baseball in Tampa Bay. Along with the lack of interest in Tampa Bay is the interest that exists in Montreal since the Expos left following the 2004 season. While Montreal had some of the worst average attendance during its time, new teams almost always generate large public interest in their first few years.
In order to actually be able to split their home games between two different countries, the Rays will have to get a lot done. First, the Rays will have to figure out a way to get out of their contract with the city which says that they have to play their home games at Tropicana Field. The lease runs out after 2027 and the mayor of St. Petersburg, where Tropicana Field is, said that he would not do anything to change the Rays’ lease of the stadium from the city. Second, the team needs a new stadium. Actually, the team will need two new stadiums. One in Tampa Bay and one in Montreal. Getting one stadium is hard enough and the amount of work that it will take to get two new stadiums will be ridiculous. A third obstacle that the Rays will have to face is the living arrangements of the players. The idea would have them playing around the first half of their home games in Tampa and then the second half of their home games in Montreal. The players would obviously have to find somewhere to live in both cities which would be very expensive. The players might also have to move their families during the year, which no one would want to do. The Rays are going to have to figure out all of these issues, and many more, if they want to even have a chance at pulling off this plan.
Overall, the idea is farfetched and probably not worth all the problems that they will have to deal with.