Lynn G. Henning, a writer who covers the Detroit Tigers had a conversation with somebody prior to the first game of this series against the Rays. That person thinks the Rays have already closed the door on the Tampa Bay area and will eventually move to Montreal.
Pre-game conversation with a smart chronicler of the Rays, who believes team is finished in this market and eventually headed to Montreal.
— Lynn G. Henning (@Lynn_Henning) August 20, 2014
The smart chronicler.
Your first question is probably, “who is the smart chronicler?” I think it is pretty obvious. There are only three people I can think of who would be considered “a smart chronicler of the Rays.” Two are beat reporters and a third wrote a book. The book author is not currently in the Bay Area.
The educated guess.
The biggest thing to keep in mind is that this is most likely just a hunch the writer has and is probably not based on any insider information.
That being said, there are reasons to be worried. This person is around the team as much as anybody and knows what has been reported and what has been said off the record. Having heard some of these things, I can say that there are indeed some skeptical people in the organization.
There has also been a lot of nothing in the last year or two when it comes to a new stadium. When was the last time we heard anything that was constructive or positive or suggested a new stadium is coming? In other words, there are reasons that this person’s hunch is more like a very educated guess.
Even if there is nothing to this story, this is not the last time we are going to hear that the Rays are “threatening” or “leaning towards” or “open to the idea of” moving to Montreal.
Every new-stadium story comes with a mistress. Montreal is going to be the Rays’ mistress, whether the team divorces the area or not.
Just like how the Tampa-St. Pete area was the mistress to help several other teams get their new stadiums (e.g. Giants, White Sox), the Rays now have Montreal. It is not fair to the people of the Bay Area and it is not fair to the people of Montreal. But this is how rich teams get new stadiums without having to pay for it.
The reason for hope.
Remember, the Rays have a stadium they don’t want and an average attendance that is last in baseball. But they also have good television ratings and Major League Baseball is not going to want to abandon this market, at least not long-term.
So either MLB finds a way to keep the Rays in the area or the Rays are going to move. If the Rays move, MLB will find a way back into either this market or possibly Orlando, although the latter seems highly unlikely. And keep in mind, a new team won’t have a contract with the city of St. Pete to worry about.