Given all of the problems with the Rays—and there are many—dire situations call for nontraditional thinking. Like hanging out with your friends and smoking a ton of weed and wondering aloud Dude. What if a team could play in two cities? That is probably not how this proposed solution to the Rays’ attendance woes came about, but process matters less than outcome.
The Tampa Bay Rays received permission from Major League Baseball’s executive council to explore a plan in which they would play early-season home games in the Tampa Bay area and the remainder of the year in Montreal, sources familiar with the situation told ESPN.
While the plan is in its nascent stages, the Rays have embraced the two-city solution as the most feasible to saving baseball in the Tampa Bay area after years of failed attempts to build a new stadium in the region, according to sources.
This is, both on the face of it and once you interrogate the implications a little, completely batshit. Would they switch uniforms and logos midseason? Would either city give a shit about its half-team? Would any free agent except those who hate their families and don’t like seeing them want to play for this team? What of Youppi!?
Is there any real reason to think Montreal could currently support a team better than the Tampa Bay region does, or than Montreal did before?
Is this proposal serious?
“My priority remains the same, I am committed to keeping baseball in Tampa Bay for generations to come,” principal owner Stuart Sternberg told the Tampa Bay Times on Thursday. “I believe this concept is worthy of serious exploration.”
I do not for a second believe this will ever actually happen, as much as I’d sort of love to see the chaos. No, this is more than likely just a bizarre new front in the Rays’ attempts to leverage a local stadium, paid for by taxpayers. And there’s a sort of weird half-sop to money-conscious politicians in this proposal: Passan writes that “the ability to play games early in the season in Florida would preclude the need for a domed stadium, cutting the cost of a new building.” But it still calls for brand-news stadiums in both the Tampa area and Montreal. The Rays can’t find a sucker to build them a stadium now; do they really think they’re going to get two publicly subsidized stadiums even though each would only be used for 41 home dates?
It’s fun to think about the Tampontreal ExpoRays, and to joke about them. But if MLB really wanted to kill baseball in Florida, it couldn’t find a faster way than to pick up and move the team midway through every season. Not even if they just moved them away permanently.
Please give me your even batshittier suggestions for saving the Rays.