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Rays Could Become a Team of Two Cities

Tampa Bay considers splitting home dates with Montreal
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 20, 2019 6:29 PM CDT
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Fans watch the Montreal Expos and Florida Marlins play at Olympic Stadium in Montreal in 2004. The Tampa Bay Rays are looking into playing half their home games in Montreal.   (Paul Chiasson/The Canadian Press via AP, File)

(Newser) – With the wisdom of Solomon, maybe, Major League Baseball has given the Tampa Bay Rays permission to look into permanently playing home games in Montreal. After years of failing to win support for a new stadium where they are, ESPN reports, the Rays see the two-hometowns possibility as the most likely way to keep baseball in the Tampa Bay area—at least part of the time. The number of home games in each country hasn't been decided, but the Rays would play the early part of their season in Florida and the rest of the year in Montreal. The early plan calls for new stadiums in both cities. With the home schedule split that way, the Florida stadium wouldn't need a roof, which would cut the cost. Of course, each stadium would only be used half the time.

Montreal had the Expos until 2005, when they became the Washington Nationals. For the past few years, Montreal has been in line as a landing place for an expansion team or team ready to move, per the Washington Post. The lack of a stadium is a problem there, too, however. The Rays owner said the idea is worth serious consideration, but the mayor of St. Petersburg didn't need long to reach his conclusion. The city, home to the team's stadium, and the Rays have a deal, per CBS. "I have no intention of bringing this latest idea to our city council to consider," Rick Kriseman said. "In fact, I believe this is getting a bit silly." The many obstacles include higher taxes for the players, Forbes points out. No matter what happens with this proposal, Gabe Lacques points out in USA Today that it probably signals the beginning of the end of baseball in the Tampa Bay area. (Read more Major League Baseball stories.)

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