MontrealMLB rookie commissioner Rob Manfred held his annual All-Star break town hall meeting on Tuesday and of course the topic of the Tampa Bay Rays and their attendance struggles was brought up.

In the latest comments that suggest Manfred understands the Rays’ situation better than his predecessor — or is at least more empathetic — reiterated what most in the Bay Area have been screaming for years, that the problem is the stadium, not the fans or the area.

Manfred was then asked about Montreal as the potential home of an MLB franchise and the possibility of expansion and made it clear that the two are related. After noting that MLB has a list of “viable” cities for expansion, he commented on Montreal specifically.

“Montreal is certainly one of those markets … I think the city has done a fantastic job the last two springs, sold out two games, 90,000-plus people for a couple of exhibition games. So, I think Montreal is an important market  for us to monitor and cultivate as we look forward to expansion some point in time in the future.”

This is huge for the Rays because for nearly a year we have been working under the premise that Montreal is the mistress that all teams need when they are begging for a new stadium.

There was the chatter from one anonymous source who said the Rays are “finished in this market” and would end up in Montreal. There was also evidence that the Rays have discussed moving to Montreal.

However, these comments from Manfred suggest what most of us already knew, that MLB is nowhere near ready to give up on one of the top 15 TV markets in the country at a time when TV revenue is so important.

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4 Comments

  1. Chris says:

    It's a stadium issue. I have been to 7 MLB stadiums and took my daughter to her first game this weekend. I was a bit saddened that her first game was at Tropicana Field, as it's not the best introduction to what a baseball game can be.

    Don't get me wrong, they try to make it fun, they are just very limited on what they can do there.

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    • Geoff Peterson says:

      My first game was at Veterans Stadium in Philadelphia. Not a field of dreams by any stretch of the imagination but a pro baseball stadium nonetheless. When I walked up the tunnel and saw the field it was magic all the same. Sometimes the experience has more to do with who you're with, how much you love the game and how the person that brought you reacts. My dad never tried to run down the stadium or find its faults.Ultimately it's about the game and the players on the field, not the amenities.

      The Trop is comfortable with decent sight-lines and any new stadium in this area will have to have a roof and A/C as even less people would go if they had to sit in 90 degree heat, high humidity and a constant threat of thunderstorms. If they put it on the water somewhere, they might be able to have the roof open for the majority of April, May and late September weather permitting. They need a better location but I really don't see any limitations with what they do at the Trop for kids and all fans.

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  2. Brent says:

    The 2 things I'm sure stands out is having 2 top 20 tv markets, 4 in the top 50, and 5 in the top 65... Also, not just what the Tampa & Orlando markets are now, BUT what they will be like in only another 10-20+ years!

    Something I just thought of as well, how well will the Montreal market be compared to Florida if the reports are accurate about a "mini ice age" by 2030?! LOL

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  3. Starmand says:

    The strategy for procuring new stadiums is very well explained by John Oliver. See, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xcwJt4bcnXs

    It's also funny, if there is funny in that. As an added bonus, if there's interest, read "The Fine Art of. Baloney Detection" by Carl Sagan.

    And that's where the stadium issue is. Kudos to Commissioner Manfred for deviating from the script.

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