Rays’ Ownership May Want St. Pete Property

But the Rays’ ownership may still want to play games in Montreal.

Tampa Bay Rays owner Stu Sternberg may be making another run at a stadium in the Tampa Bay market. Sternberg would like to secure some of the land that surrounds St. Petersburg’s baseball stadium and develop it. The land is available after the 2027 season when the team’s lease with the city is done and the stadium could be razed. If Sternberg could build a stadium, it would be for about 40 games a year with Montreal getting other 40 or so games. Sternberg does not think either market would be a good full-time home. St. Petersburg, Florida Mayor Rick Kriseman said that the team must play every home game scheduled in St. Petersburg through the 2027 season. There was a planned move of Rays’ summer home games to Montreal beginning in 2024. The franchise is now scheduled to play out the last seven years of a 30-year lease in St. Petersburg. Major League Baseball wants to get back into the Montreal market. Sternberg is convinced that Montreal is a good part-time market despite the fact that the Canadian dollar has been hanging around 78 cents US for quite a while.

Sternberg had an opportunity to change the terms of the St. Petersburg lease had he secured funding for a baseball park in Tampa. In 2018, Rays’ owners had plans to build a park in Ybor City. That fell through. What happens next is anybody’s guess other than the Rays will be financially challenged. Tampa Bay’s business community could have second thoughts about supporting the franchise whose owners are not convinced Tampa Bay is a good market. If the corporate community walks away, that would destroy the Rays’ business. MLB’s might be hoping the threat of splitting home games will result in a getting stadium plan approved somewhere in the Tampa Bay market.

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Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Charlie Morton reacts after giving up two runs against the Los Angeles Dodgers during the third inning in Game 3 of the baseball World Series Friday, Oct. 23, 2020, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez