The Rays won’t stop thinking about a new home

by Gary Shelton on January 21, 2022

in general

Can the Rays replace Tropicana Field?/CARMEN MANDATO

Friday, 3 a.m.

What now?

Where now?

How now?

The threat from up North is dead now. The rather silly-to-begin with notion of the Rays playing some games in Tampa and some in Montreal and perhaps some on the road in-between has been rejected. Despite early noises that Major League Baseball was intrigued by the idea, the league as a whole tossed away such notions of split loyalties and giving two markets to one owner Thursday.

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So do the Rays now look elsewhere? Do they throw up their hands and get the best deal in Tampa Bay they can get? Do they find 80 other, smaller markets, and play two games in each of them?

Here's a hint: The people who thought Montreal was just a swell idea? They're still thinking.

Baseball didn't exactly shout out why it rejected the two-city plan of the Rays. One reason might have been that Montreal is too good a market to tie up with half a franchise.

But the Rays have built their reputation on thinking outside the box, whether it is game analytics or shifts or matchup baseball. The safest thing to assume is that the Rays won't settle for staying where they are and accepting things as they are. Too many empty seats and unclaimed profits for that.

Here's an idea: Maybe the Rays should continue to pursue their two-city split,only they should do it in Tampa and in St. Petersburg. Don't laugh, I'm serious. Not enough fans drive across the bridge to Tropicana Field as it is, so why not build one park in Ybor and another in St. Pete? Players (and employees) could live in the same houses that way. And Sternberg could vex politicians on both sides of the bay, which seems to be enjoyable.

Hey, it would be interesting to see the two cities arm-wrestle over the right to watch Wander Franco grow up, wouldn't it?

Sure, the Rays could shrug their shoulders and decide to make do. But the team has outperformed the market. The most steadfast Rays fan would admit that.

So bet on it. Something is coming. Maybe the Rays give up on Tampa Baya and simply relocate. Maybe Montreal works as a full-time destination. Maybe Las Vegas. Maye they try to get Orlando interested (although games over there were a total failure).

The point is this: The Rays' search for a new home isn't over.

And the Rays are certainly capable of more ideas.

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