Major League Baseball has pulled the plug on the Tampa Bay Rays‘ pursuit of a split-city arrangement that would have seen them play half their games in St. Petersburg and the other half in Montreal, according to Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times.
Here’s part of Topkin’s report:
The decision is sure to frustrate and stun team officials, who had spent 2 1/2 years on the project and were expecting approval to proceed with efforts to get open-air stadiums built in both markets. The Rays also sought approval from the players union.
Stuart Sternberg, the principal owner of the Rays, is expected to address the local media at 1 p.m. ET.
The Rays first introduced the split-city concept in 2019. As we wrote at the time:
If that sounds convoluted and unrealistic — well, yeah, absolutely, it is. The Rays haven’t been able to convince one city to finance their new playhouse, let alone two at once. Oh, to make matters better — the whole sister-city thing? A handful of legal challenges stand in its way to boot. Sternberg may have found that out the hard way on Tuesday with regards to a comment he made about Montreal.
It’s unclear what the next step for the Rays is in their pursuit of a new stadium. Ostensibly, they will pivot back toward trying to find a full-time home in the Tampa Bay area. It should be noted, however, that team president Brian Auld previously said the franchise had concluded that it was “next to impossible that full-season baseball can succeed in Tampa Bay today.”