Tampa Bay Rays announce sign of Montreal future coming in the MLB playoffs

MONTREAL —
Baseball fans in Montreal will want to look on the right field wall of Tropicana Field during the MLB playoffs when the Tampa Bay Rays play.

Team president Matt Silverman said on the This Week in Rays Baseball radio show that the team will unveil a sign with a Tampa Bay Montreal graphic just as baseball viewers hit their peak for the playoffs.

“Especially with the eyes of baseball on us this October, we want that visible symbol of our plan and our excitement for it,” he said. It will mark the effort subtly and keep the focus on winning.”

The announcement about the sign confirms what Rays owner Stuart Sternberg first said in 2019 that the team would split time between Montreal and Tampa Bay in the future.

“It’s an affirmation of the intention of the owner of the Rays to have the team play out of Montreal for half of the year,” said Expos Nation founder and TSN 690 Radio host Matthew Ross.

Major League Baseball already gave the Rays permission to split their season in Montreal.

A Journal de Montreal story on Friday said the partnership will be announced after the Nov. 7 Montreal mayoral election.

The Rays’ lease in St. Petersburgh, Florida runs until the end of 2027, so they would need to buy out the lease if they wanted to split time with Montreal before 2028. The local Bronfman Group will need to cement plans for a new stadium in Montreal before MLB games will be played here, Ross said.

SIlverman said that the plan is the only way to ensure baseball stays in Tampa in the future.

“That’s been our sole focus,” he said. “It’s never been about other markets and relocation overtures. It’s always been about how we can make it work here.”

The Rays recently clinched a post-season birth and first place in the AL East division. Tampa lost in last year’s World Series to the LA Dodgers.

Ross said the new sign may be a shot across the bow from Sternberg to put pressure on local administrators to approve a new stadium in Florida.

“He’s already said that Tampa Bay is not viable anymore for all 81 homes games,” said Ross. “They clearly want everybody to know that this is the plan moving forward accept it, and embrace it.” 

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