Tampa Bay gets OK from MLB to explore Montreal
NEW YORK — The Tampa Bay Rays have been given the go-ahead by Major League Baseball to look into playing a split season in Montreal.
Commissioner Rob Manfred said made the announcement Thursday at the end of the owners’ meetings.
There is no timetable for the possible plan. An idea under consideration is for the Rays to play early in the season in Tampa Bay and later in Montreal.
Tampa Bay is averaging 14,546 fans per home game, ahead of only the Miami Marlins. 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. They had looked into building a new stadium for years but in December abandoned a plan to build across the bay in Tampa.
The Montreal Expos existed from 1969-2004 before they moved to Washington and became the Nationals. In their last two seasons before moving, the Expos played 22 games per year at San Juan, Puerto Rico.
Manfred said the MLB executive council had given permission for the Rays to explore a split season.