Major League Baseball Seems To Want To Return To Montreal As Soon As Possible

Viva Montreal!

Whatever the future holds for the Tampa Bay Rays and the possibility, although it seems like a Rube Goldberg invention, of Rays’ home games being split between St. Petersburg, Florida and Montreal, Quebec is up in the air. But this much can be gleaned from the split games proposal. Major League Baseball wants to get back into the Montreal market. Major League Baseball knows it has people willing to invest in a Montreal team led by Stephen Bronfman, and that the Montreal corporate community seems to be on board with a Major League Baseball team returning to the city. That is something MLB did not have when the Montreal Expos franchise was transferred to Washington after the 2004 season. There is also much more TV money available in Montreal for a team than in 2004. There are still two obstacles and one may not be overcome. The Canadian dollar has been hanging around 76 cents US for quite a while and Canadian teams in MLB, the NBA and the NHL do business in American greenbacks. Montreal still does not have an MLB acceptable stadium although MLB Montreal backers have land that they claim can house a baseball park. In the 1990s there was a push for a new Montreal stadium but that ended around 2002.

But Stu Sternberg’s Tampa Bay Rays Major League Baseball franchise is still in St. Petersburg and has a lease through 2027. Sternberg had an opportunity to change the terms of the lease had he landed a baseball park in Tampa. In 2018, Rays’ owners had plans to build a park in Ybor City. That fell through. The next step in the process has come, an awkward St. Petersburg-Montreal set up proposal. What happens next is anybody’s guess other than a hope of building a stadium in Tampa or in Montreal or maybe in both places.

Roy Cummings