MLB Baseball

Rays owner says shared season with Montreal is best option

FILE - In this April 1, 2017, file photo, ground crew works on the bullpen behind the outfield wall at Olympic Stadium in Montreal. Starved for fans despite success on the field, the Tampa Bay Rays have been given the go-ahead by Major League Baseball to look into playing a split season in Montreal. No timetable for the possible plan was announced. An idea under consideration is for the Rays to play early in the season in Tampa Bay and later in Montreal. (Paul Chiasson/The Canadian Press via AP, File)

By MARK DIDTLER

Associated Press

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) The principal owner of the Rays says it's unrealistic for his team to play full time in the Tampa Bay area, and a shared season with Montreal is the best option.

"I don't see it happening in St. Petersburg and would be hard-pressed to see it working in Tampa from what I know," Stu Sternberg said at a news conference Tuesday. "This is not a staged exit. This is about Tampa Bay keeping its hometown team and Montreal having one, too. I believe strongly in the sister-city concept. We're asking for open minds."

Commissioner Rob Manfred said last week the Rays have "broad permission to explore what's available." Tampa Bay is averaging 14,546 fans a game, lowest in the American League and well below the MLB average of 27,360. Only the Miami Marlins draw worse at 9,378.

"We are at or near the bottom in every economic category in Major League Baseball," Sternberg said in his remarks at the Dali Museum in St. Petersburg.

An agreement between the Rays and St. Petersburg for Tropicana Field runs through 2027. St. Petersburg's mayor has shot down the two-city possibility.

"The City of St. Petersburg will not participate in the funding of a new stadium for a part-time team," Mayor Rick Kriseman said. "We remain receptive to partnering with the Tampa Bay Rays to redevelop the Tropicana Field site and build a new stadium for a full-time team."

Sternberg envisions open-air stadiums in both cities but noted there are no plans to pay for them. He said an ideal target date would have everything in place for the 2024 season.

The Rays have played at Tropicana Field since their inception in 1998 and drew their lowest home crowd of 5,786 against Toronto last month.

Montreal has been without a big-league team since the Expos left after the 2004 season for Washington and became the Nationals.

The Rays had looked into building a stadium for years, but in December abandoned a plan for one across the bay in Tampa's Ybor City area.

Private equity mogul Stephen Bronfman, whose father Charles was the original owner of the Expos, is part of a group spearheading effort to return baseball to Montreal.

Sternberg said it's possible the Bronfman group could join the current Rays' ownership if the sister-city plans succeeds, but he will keep controlling interest.

Sternberg reiterated that the Rays will remain in St. Petersburg through 2027 but doesn't know what would happen after that if the plan fails.

A possible site for a new St. Petersburg ballpark would be Al Lang Stadium, a longtime spring training facility now used by a pro soccer team owned by the Rays.

Also under consideration: shifting the spring training season from Port Charlotte, Florida, to Tampa Bay to provide two more months of baseball in the area.

---

More AP MLB: https://apnews.com/MLB and https://twitter.com/AP-Sports

Updated June 25, 2019

Sports Data API Powered by STATS © 2019 by STATS.
Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS is strictly prohibited.

Teams Score Time
NCAA MBB
Georgia State   7:00pm
Duke  
Gardner-Webb   9:00pm
North Carolina  
NCAA FB
North Carolina 27 00:00 4th
Pittsburgh 34
Syracuse   Sat 4:00pm
Duke  
Louisville   Sat 7:30pm
NC State  
NFL
Falcons   Sun 1:00pm
Panthers  
NHL
Hurricanes 5 F/OT
Sabres 4
Teams Score Time
Towson 60 F
Florida 66
San Jose State 39 F
Arizona 87
Michigan State 76 F
Seton Hall 73
Long Beach State 63 F
Saint Mary's 81
CSUN   7:00pm
Auburn  
Georgia State   7:00pm
Duke  
Marshall   7:00pm
Notre Dame  
Missouri State   7:00pm
Xavier  
West Virginia   7:00pm
Pittsburgh  
Western Carolina   7:00pm
Florida State  
Monmouth   8:00pm
Kansas  
Gardner-Webb   9:00pm
North Carolina  
Gonzaga   9:00pm
Texas A&M  
North Carolina A&T   9:00pm
Utah State  
Texas State   9:00pm
Baylor  
Teams Score Time
North Carolina 27 00:00 4th
Pittsburgh 34
Alabama   Sat 12:00pm
Mississippi State  
Alabama State   Sat 12:00pm
Florida State  
Florida   Sat 12:00pm
Missouri  
Indiana   Sat 12:00pm
Penn State  
Kansas   Sat 12:00pm
Oklahoma State  
Michigan State   Sat 12:00pm
Michigan  
Wisconsin   Sat 12:00pm
Nebraska  
Navy   Sat 2:30pm
Notre Dame  
Georgia   Sat 3:30pm
Auburn  
Memphis   Sat 3:30pm
Houston  
Ohio State   Sat 3:30pm
Rutgers  
Texas   Sat 3:30pm
Iowa State  
Virginia Tech   Sat 3:30pm
Georgia Tech  
Wake Forest   Sat 3:30pm
Clemson  
Minnesota   Sat 4:00pm
Iowa  
Syracuse   Sat 4:00pm
Duke  
Cincinnati   Sat 7:00pm
South Florida  
LSU   Sat 7:00pm
Ole Miss  
Louisville   Sat 7:30pm
NC State  
Oklahoma   Sat 7:30pm
Baylor  
UCLA   Sat 8:00pm
Utah  
New Mexico   Sat 10:15pm
Boise State  
Arizona   Sat 10:30pm
Oregon  
Teams Score Time
Heat 108 F
Cavaliers 97
Bulls 115 F
Bucks 124
Mavericks 103 F
Knicks 106
Clippers 127 F
Pelicans 132
Hawks 112 F
Suns 128
Nets 61 11:20 3rd
Nuggets 51
Pistons   7:00pm
Hornets  
Spurs   7:00pm
Magic  
Pacers   8:00pm
Rockets  
76ers   8:00pm
Thunder  
Jazz   8:00pm
Grizzlies  
Wizards   8:00pm
Timberwolves  
Celtics   10:30pm
Warriors  
Kings   10:30pm
Lakers  
Teams Score Time
Steelers 7 F
Browns 21
Falcons   Sun 1:00pm
Panthers  
Bills   Sun 1:00pm
Dolphins  
Cowboys   Sun 1:00pm
Lions  
Broncos   Sun 1:00pm
Vikings  
Texans   Sun 1:00pm
Ravens  
Jaguars   Sun 1:00pm
Colts  
Saints   Sun 1:00pm
Buccaneers  
Jets   Sun 1:00pm
Redskins  
Cardinals   Sun 4:05pm
49ers  
Bengals   Sun 4:25pm
Raiders  
Patriots   Sun 4:25pm
Eagles  
Bears   Sun 8:20pm
Rams  
Chiefs   Mon 8:15pm
Chargers  
Teams Score Time
Hurricanes 5 F/OT
Sabres 4
Rangers 3 F
Lightning 9
Jets 4 F
Panthers 3
Coyotes 2 F
Wild 3
Avalanche 2 F
Oilers 6
Stars 3 00:00 2nd
Canucks 2
Sharks 2 00:00 2nd
Ducks 2
Red Wings 1 06:35 2nd
Kings 1
Bruins   7:00pm
Maple Leafs  
Canadiens   7:00pm
Capitals  
Penguins   7:00pm
Devils  
Blues   7:00pm
Blue Jackets  
Flyers   7:30pm
Senators  
MONSTER ENERGY NASCAR CUP SERIES AT PHOENIX
Pos # Name Start Pos
1 11 Denny Hamlin 3
2 18 Kyle Busch 1
3 12 Ryan Blaney 10
4 42 Kyle Larson 5
5 4 Kevin Harvick 7
6 19 Martin Truex Jr 4
7 20 Erik Jones 9
8 14 Clint Bowyer 13
9 22 Joey Logano 2
NASCAR XFINITY SERIES AT PHOENIX
Pos # Name Start Pos
1 7 Justin Allgaier 5
2 00 Cole Custer 2
3 2 Tyler Reddick 4
4 36 John Hunter Nemechek 13
5 8 Zane Smith 6
6 22 Austin Cindric 7
7 11 Justin Haley 14
8 98 Chase Briscoe 3
9 1 Michael Annett 9
NASCAR GANDER OUTDOORS TRUCK SERIES AT PHOENIX
Pos # Name Start Pos
1 52 Stewart Friesen 2
2 19 Brandon Jones 7
3 46 Chandler Smith 6
4 99 Ben Rhodes 4
5 98 Grant Enfinger 8
6 88 Matt Crafton 10
7 18 Harrison Burton 32
8 13 Johnny Sauter 11
9 45 Ross Chastain 14