ESPN’s Jeff Passan is reporting the Tampa Bay Rays are exploring the idea of becoming a ‘two-city’ team with Montreal that would have the Rays play the first half of the season in Tampa, Florida, and the second half of the season 1,500 miles north in Montreal, Canada.
Despite being 43-31 and in position to qualify for the American League’s Wild Card, the Rays have the second lowest average attendance in the Major Leagues and have repeatedly failed at securing a deal for a new stadium.
According to Passan, the MLB’s executive council gave the Rays the greenlight to explore the possibility of merging cities during owners meetings on Wednesday and Thursday.
The plan would mean Tampa could escape the derided Tropicana Field for the first months of the season while the Florida weather was still somewhat mild, and then head to Montreal for the June, July, and August months when the extreme heat and humity would have been a problem in a non-domed stadium.
The city of Montreal hasn’t had a baseball team since 2004 when they lost the Expos, who played in Montreal from 1969 to 2004.
Passan says the Rays ultimate goal is to build a new stadium and stay in the Tampa or St. Petersburg area.