Ybor City Wants To Be Back In The Running For The Rays’ Home

Back in the game?

If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. There are some people in Ybor City who are thinking about building a baseball park for the Tampa Bay Rays. It was in Ybor City that Rays owner Stu Sternberg and his partners failed to get enough capital to fund a planned Rays’ stadium. But that was in 2018, it is 2019 and a new plan has emerged where Rays’ ownership could play their Major League Baseball games in Tampa in April and May of a given year and then move the baseball operations to Montreal for the summer and there are those in Ybor City who think they can make it happen with the creation of an entertainment district which would direct taxes collected from businesses built in the area to fund a small baseball park. The facility could also be used for minor league soccer and even baseball spring training. One of the problems, and there are many problems with the Tampa/Montreal dual home concept, Sternburg has a lease with St. Petersburg to play Rays home games in the city’s municipal domed stadium through 2027 and has been unable to break the lease.

The Ybor City plan doesn’t seem to solve any of the Rays’ ownership problems. Sternburg wants to leave St. Petersburg. Elected officials in St. Petersburg did give Sternburg a window of opportunity to find another place in the Tampa Bay market but that ended in 2018. Funding a Rays’ park in Ybor City was not to be found. The Montreal element is not looked upon favorably by the Major League Baseball Players Association. There is no small facility available in Montreal that would fit MLB or Sternburg’s needs. There is no funding mechanism at the moment for this Ybor City plan. Montreal baseball backers want an expansion team but Montreal baseball backers will take whatever Major League Baseball is about ready to offer.