by Alex Poletti
Major League Baseball has granted the Tampa Bay Rays permission to explore becoming a two-city team, playing home games in Tampa Bay and Montreal within the decade. If the Rays follow through with this, they could succeed in becoming the first team in MLB history to lose money in two cities at the same time.
Despite the Rays enjoying one of the most successful starts in franchise history, talk of relocation continues as the Rays ownership realizes local Florida retirement homes don’t show up for baseball as consistently as they show up for Republican primaries.
Relocation is nothing new in baseball. Major League teams have folded and changed locations many times over the storied history of the sport, often because no profit was being made. While some teams have lost money in two cities, they relocated completely before achieving the status of economic disaster the second time around. The Rays, always a revolutionary franchise, want to change the way we think about losing income.
“We love Tampa Bay, and we want the city to continue to be our home,” Rays President of Baseball Operations Matthew Silverman says. “But we aren’t content with the low fan attendance and potential for bankruptcy. If the Rays are going to achieve our full potential, we need to go bankrupt in two cities.”
After a thoughtful process, the Rays selected Montreal as their second city to blow a couple hundred million dollars. Montreal is no stranger to professional baseball, being the former home of the Expos organization, which relocated to Washington in 2005.
“When we reviewed all the options, Montreal seemed like a no-brainer,” Silverman continues. “It’s a great baseball town, and in many ways is very similar to Tampa. They had terrible attendance and a God-awful stadium. Really, it’ll be like we never left St. Petersburg.”
One of Tampa Bay’s most notable characteristics is their disgustingly terrible stadium, Tropicana Field, which doesn’t even do justice to its eponymous concentrate orange juice. For that reason alone, Montreal is a great fit, as the Olympic stadium has often been lampooned as an unsuitable arena for America’s pastime.
“I’m just happy that the Rays are going to remain the Rays,” Silverman concludes. “However, we can’t truly call Montreal home until we build a bridge to the Big O and make traffic absolutely atrocious. Maybe then, and only then, will we be able to lose as much money as we’ve been able to do in Florida.”