Jan 21, 2022 - Sports

MLB squashes Rays' split-city plan

Illustration of the Major League Baseball logo hitting part of the Tampa Bay Rays logo instead of a baseball.

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

No, you will not be getting poutine at a Rays game.

What's happening: MLB has officially rejected the Rays' plan to split seasons between Tampa Bay and Montreal, a heartbreaker for team officials who spent more than two years trying to get approval for open-air stadiums in both areas, the Tampa Bay Times reports.

Why it matters: The team has alluded to leaving Tampa Bay altogether if they couldn't get approval for Montreal, per the Times, while upset fans like Dick Vitale have said they'd rather have no team than share custody.

  • The team will now reportedly focus on finding a new place in Tampa bay to build a stadium.

What they're saying: St. Petersburg Mayor Ken Welch, who said he would consider the split-city plan during his campaign, will fight for the team to stay at a redeveloped Tropicana Field.

  • "I am confident we can partner with the Tampa Bay Rays to create a new and iconic full-time home for Major League Baseball in St. Petersburg while also achieving historic equitable economic growth," he said in a statement.
  • Tampa Mayor Jane Castor, who has been in talks with the Rays about moving to Tampa, is optimistic the Rays will stay. "We had been working on both sister city and full season proposals, and now we can focus all of our energy on a full season," she said in a statement.

What's next: The Rays will have to get serious soon about picking between Tampa and St. Pete.

  • Their lease at Tropicana Field expires after the 2027 season, so plans to build a new stadium would need to be finalized in the next year.

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