Jun 21, 2019 - Sports

A 2-city plan to create the Tampa Bay Rays of Montreal

Illustrated collage of line going through a manta ray.

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The Tampa Bay Rays have received permission from Major League Baseball to explore a two-city plan in which they would play the first half of the season in St. Petersburg, Fla. and the second half in Montreal.

Be smart: Like self-driving vehicles and colonizing Mars, this international timeshare idea is certainly fun to think about. Sadly, there's almost no chance that it actually comes to fruition.

What they're saying:

  • "The news definitely surprised me," Rays CF Kevin Kiermaier told The Athletic. "We were talking on the bus today — it's weird to think about splitting games."
  • "Love it. Wouldn't it be kind of cool? Let's do a little 'European Vacation' in the middle of the summer, head north of the border," said former Rays manager Joe Maddon, before adding that he couldn't see this actually happening.

What we have here is a classic game of chicken: The Rays are trying to scare St. Petersburg into ponying up for a new stadium. But Mayor Rick Kriseman has already called their bluff, effectively closing the book on this until 2028, when the Rays' lease is up.

Between the lines: Consider all the challenges associated with a two-city agreement. How do you attract free agents when they know they won't be able to settle down in one city? Which city hosts the playoff games? How would broadcast rights work? The logistics would be insane.

Go deeper: What MLB expansion might look like

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