ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (WFLA) – The Tampa Bay Rays shared team plans with Montreal is still at work, if you ask Rays owner Stuart Sternberg, and the Montreal group hoping to make it happen.
“This is real,” Bronfman told TSN 690. “This is the year we’re going to prove this thing out.”
Stephen Bronfman, a Canadian businessman says that he not only expects the plan to work but, threw a slight jab at the city of St. Petersburg when asked how the group expects the MLB Players Union to agree to the plan to spend the first part of the season in Florida and then move north.
“Say the shift (to Montreal) happens second week of June, mid-June,” Bronfman said. “School season is over. Family moves up, they move to Montreal for the summer. Wives are happy. Much nicer city to be in than St. Petersburg, please. Much more cosmopolitan. Much more fun.”Stephen Bronfman
St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman has pushed back against the split-season arrangement, calling on the team to adhere by its current lease which runs until 2027.
“I continue to believe that the Rays Organization will come to determine that the Tampa Bay area, and specifically St. Pete, remains the best place to play baseball and to succeed in the long term,” Kriseman said in a memo.
Mayor Kriseman added that the city of St. Petersburg will not contribute public dollars to construct a new stadium for a part-time team and is willing to discuss funding for a full-time team in St. Petersburg.
“We are not a part-time city, we’re a full-time city,” Kriseman said. “Would we miss having the team? Absolutely… Can we survive without the team? Absolutely.”
However, MLB commissioner Rob Manfred appears on board with the potential two-city season. Manfred said on Thursday that the sharing plan is “100%” the best way to keep the Rays in Tampa, according to the Tampa Bay Times’ Marc Topkin.