ST.PETERSBURG, Fla. (WFLA) – If Rays fans have their way on this split-city baseball proposal, most have no plans to sing “O Canada” before home games in Montreal, Quebec.
Surrounded by works from the famous artist, Salvador Dali, Stu Sternberg, the Rays’ principal owner laid out his methodology for splitting home games with Montreal.
“We are focused on how the Rays can thrive here in Tampa Bay. This is about Tampa Bay keeping its hometown team and Montreal having one as well” said Sternberg.
But a Rays fan at the news conference isn’t having it.
He let team ownership know. “Tampa Bay Devil Rays. Not Canada Devil Rays. The number one America’s team to another country. Traitors! Traitors! Traitors !” he shouted.
Tracey Garland at The Bodega on Central Avenue, believes sharing the team may be the only way to keep the rays from bolting. “I think whatever works for the Rays is what we need. I want to see the City of St. Petersburg survive, so I want to see the Rays survive” said Garland.
The Rays envision an open-air stadium suitable for spring weather.
If it goes that way, the Mayor of St. Petersburg told the Rays in a statement, they are on their own. “The City of St. Petersburg will not participate in the funding of a new stadium for a part-time team,” wrote Rick Kriseman.
I believe progress moves at the speed of the trust. If Mr. Sternberg and his team are serious about this idea or any other, it will require the reestablishment of a good working relationship with my office. #RaysUp pic.twitter.com/NZDYjXJON2 — Rick Kriseman (@Kriseman) June 25, 2019
Tampa Bay: It may not be easy today, but try not to let the ugly business of ⚾ negatively impact our love of the game & our appreciation for the guys on the field. This team is a contender. Cheer at the Trop, watch on TV. We’ll do our best to figure out the boring stuff. #RaysUp — Rick Kriseman (@Kriseman) June 25, 2019
Long-time fan and bar owner, Mark Ferguson opposes the move. He’d like to see a new stadium right where the team plays now.
He’s not completely against the Canadian idea. “Ya know? Maybe it will work. Maybe it’s a good idea in 2028, we can start playing that game” said Ferguson.
Stu Sternberg is asking people to open their minds to new possibilities, including an open-air ballpark.
But if it means sharing the beloved Rays, fans are saying no.