Major League Baseball has rejected the Tampa Bay Rays‘ idea to split future seasons between the Tampa Bay region and Montreal. Rays’ principal owner Stu Sternberg voiced his frustration at the decision during a press conference Thursday afternoon.
“I have no doubt that what we tried to accomplish with our ‘Sister City’ plan will become accepted in all of Major League Baseball and professional sports. Major League Baseball simply isn’t prepared to cross that threshold right now,” Sternberg said.
The team has an agreement to play at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg until 2027, but Sternberg wants a new stadium partially funded by taxpayers.
Over the years, the Rays have considered locations in Pinellas and Hillsborough Counties. Sternberg insisted that leaving town isn’t his first choice.
What are others saying?
In a news release, St. Petersburg Mayor Ken Welch wrote,
“We are working with our county partners and City Council to put together the best plan possible, which will work in conjunction with my planned evolution of the Tropicana Field master development proposals.St. Petersburg Mayor Ken Welch
With this collaborative approach, 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.”
Tampa Mayor Jane Castor tweeted,
“All along our goal has been to keep the Rays in Tampa Bay. 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.Tampa Mayor Jane Castor
I am optimistic Rays Baseball will call Tampa Bay home for many years to come.”
Even former St. Pete Mayor Rick Kriseman weighed in on Twitter,
“I wish I could say this latest development was surprising. I have always felt the split-season concept was an idea that faced great challenges. As I have said consistently, I believe St. Pete is a full-time city. Tampa Bay is a full-time region.”Former St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman