The Rays have attendance problems. There are also a few people who wax poetic and get nostalgic about a team in Montreal that drew even fewer fans than the Rays.

So when the city of Montreal hosts a couple of baseball games next week, and that is combined with people in the national media who are unable to think beyond “1 plus 1,” we will once again end up with a lot of stories about how the Rays would be better off in Montreal. Of course, if any of those in the national media stopped to actually think about it for more than 15 seconds, they would realize just how laughable that is.

Enter Stu Cowan of the Montreal Gazette. He gets it. Yes, a writer in Montreal, wrote a column titled “106,000 tickets for Jays games, but dream of Expos’ return is still too far to grasp.

Here are the two paragraphs that are all anybody ever needs to read on the idea of the Rays moving to Montreal:

A return of Major League Baseball will probably never happen in Montreal. There are simply too many hurdles and selling out two pre-season games isn’t the same as trying to sell tickets for 81 home games a season — especially if the team isn’t winning in this city.

And then there’s the cost of building a new stadium and who is going to pay around $500 million for it?

These are the same things we have been screaming forever: 1) Anybody can sell out two games if those are the only two games played every 12 months. If that was all that was needed to be a big-league city, you could put a Major League Baseball team in Alachua and it would be successful; 2) Montreal is no closer to a new stadium than the Bay Area and in some ways are actually way behind — and that’s saying something  — considering there are actually people in the Bay Area working on a new stadium.

So let Montreal have their show for two days every March. And let the National Media be lazy and right the easy story that doesn’t require any actual, you know, thought. But Montreal is more likely to get an expansion team in 2030 than the Rays any time before then.



  1. Tom says:

    That's pretty shoddy writing - even for a blog post. If you knew anything about Stu Cowan, you'd know he's not a baseball fan at all - anywhere. Even when the Expos were in Montreal he was always negative.

    Interesting that you didn't quote the Mayor of Montreal or the more neutral journalists who favour a return of baseball to Montreal.

    The fact that Montreal would like a team back has no bearing on the pathetic Rays or their dead end quest to remain in Tampa. At this point, a return of MLB to Montreal is more likely than the Rays getting a brand new park in the Tampa area. For the Rays, there's no money and no viable place to build a stadium except for the Trop. And teh Rays want out from there!

    • Geoff Peterson says:

      Good luck with that lil fella

    • Jeason Gagnon says:

      Marlins proved that a stadium doesn't fix anything in Florida. Montreal was due after 30 years. Rays and Marlins are due within 10 years of existence, that's sad!

  2. Jeason Gagnon says:

    Well, Tampa has a fantastic ownership proving that they want to win, yet there's no sell out, not even a World Series team in the past! Montreal's fan base dwindled after the 1994 strike, having the best team in the sport that year and cancelling the World Series following with a fire sale. The ownership is whats to blame in Montreal. Let's look at the Expos' former ownership aka current Marlins ownership, not doing too good. Total different story in Tampa, you may know more than me about the fan problem in Tampa. Possibly the stadium, but who knows. I know Manfred is for Montreal 100%, the city just needs a stadium and financial plans. Everyone deserves a second chance, maybe not at Tampa's expense but Montreal is a baseball town and will get another shot within 5 years!

    • Geoff Peterson says:

      I'm not sure the interest is there. Last I knew there were no minor league teams at all in or around Montreal and the few minor league teams in Canada were most all independent. Montreal is by far the biggest metro area in US or Canada without even a MiLB presence. Sure they can drum up interest once a year for a few exhibition games much like some cities can drum up interest once a year for a Sprint Cup race, marathon, or a Little League World Series. I'm not sure that translates to a fan base that will support 81 dates.

      I'm not comparing them to the Rays because they've certainly had their struggles as well but the TV viewership is huge proving the fan base is here and the dollars are out there. While I think Montreal has the capability to be a MLB city again, I think they have some work to do to regenerate interest in the sport before they get a team again. I could see it in 10 years but I think 5 is a bit optimistic, especially with no stadium on the drawing board and no existing stadium that could accommodate a team.

      • Tom says:

        @Geoff - stick with what you know about your own area and stop with the bs re Montreal.

        "I'm not sure the interest is there." And that's based on what? No minor league baseball in Montreal? There's tonnes of MiLB in the Tampa area that translates in to a huge success for the area yet no one goes to see a Rays game...

        "but the TV viewership is huge proving the fan base is here and the dollars are out there."

        Watching on TV and PAYING to go see the team are two different things. The dollars are just not there nor are the fans.

        "especially with no stadium on the drawing board and no existing stadium that could accommodate a team."

        Again, shows what little you know. Montreal already has a location for a potential new stadium and a possible group of investors lines up. Stadium design and plans are not far behind. The mayor of Mtl will reveal all as appropriate.

        And in the interim, Montreal still has Olympic Stadium, which can be used while the new stadium is built.

        And again, it's not Montreal's fault that when it comes to talk of a team potentially returning to Montreal it's the Rays that gets talked about. You guys put yourself in that conversation. But as far as Montreal is concerned, they'd be happy with an expansion team and leave you your Rays playing at the Trop until 2027 ready to be moved to Mexico or Cuba.

        • Ted Sheckler says:

          Tom, to quote you to you, "stick with what you know about your own area and stop with the bs"... You clearly have literally no clue what you're talking about and just want Montreal to have a team again. You came on here telling other people how little they know while proving you are a complete idiot. Not partial. Complete. From head to toe. And you're an a-hole on top of it.

          • Geoff Peterson says:

            In addition to the fact that he proves my point. The Tampa Bay area supports not only the Rays but multiple A minor league teams and TV ratings ARE important. TV contracts are where the real income growth is in MLB. The Rays have been top 10 in MLB ratings and that will translate to a big contract in their next negotiation next year. As for my info on Montreal, I read an article in the NY Times a few years back stating that MLB baseball is not returning to Montreal any time soon and MiLB is what they should be shooting for given Canadian taxpayers will never build an MLB park. Ignorance is bliss I guess, huh Tom?

          • Tom says:

            Well, Ted... why don't you provide some facts rather than pulling a Trump?

            I'll start off:

            Fact: There's no appetite for the Rays to stay in St Pete. Source: Rays ownership, Stu Sternberg
            Fact: There are no viable sites in Hillsborough for a stadium. Source: Tampa Mayor, TBO.
            Fact: There's no public funding available for a Hillsborough. Source: Tampa Mayor
            Fact: There's some public funding for St Pete. Source: St Pete Mayor... BUT see Fact 1.
            Fact: Tampa TV contract is one of the lowest in baseball still and doesn't come up for renewal for another few years (not 2016). Source: Rays ownership, Stu Sternberg
            Fact: Attendance at Rays is DEAD last and has been for many many years. Source: MLB
            Fact: Montreal has site of *possible* baseball stadium identified. Source: Montreal Mayor. City planning commission
            Fact: Investor group is ready in Montreal for a team. Source: Montreal Mayor
            Fact: Public financing for a Montreal stadium not identified. Source: Mayor of Montreal.
            Fact: MLB would like to see a team back in Montreal. Source: Commissioner of baseball, Bob Manfred.

            So, Geoff and Ted... how about some facts

  3. Tyler Durden says:

    Montreal will be getting a team as soon as the Maple Leaf's win 3 Stanley Cups in a row....In other words, not gonna happen. You can take that to the bank.

  4. Geoff Peterson says:

    Tom, nice try with your "Facts". They're about as accurate as your boy Trump.

    • Tom says:

      Waiting for your facts Geoff.

      • Ted Sheckler says:

        Tom, typing the word fact in front of something stupid doesn't make it a fact. And typing the word source doesn't actually make something a source. Abraham Lincoln once said "Don't believe everything people say on internet message boards".

        Your first four "facts" prove you have no idea what you're talking about when it comes to the Rays/Tampa/St.Pete. They are so far from reality that taking you seriously is absurd.

        Don't worry, Montreal will get one of the next 2 expansion teams. And MLB will begin that process once Tampa and Oakland get their new stadiums under way. Until then, feel free to actually pay attention to what is happening here. Or don't.

        • Tom says:

          @Tom - Please feel free to actually counter the facts with your inside knowledge. The whole reason that the Rays are looking for a stadium outside of St Pete and the Trop is because they want OUT of St Pete - that is a FACT. But I see you are trying to gaslight like your buddy Trump... sure thing Trump Tom... don't let facts get in the way of your name calling and gaslighting. Idiot.

          • zenny says:

            "Fact: There's no appetite for the Rays to stay in St Pete. Source: Rays ownership, Stu Sternberg
            Fact: There are no viable sites in Hillsborough for a stadium. Source: Tampa Mayor, TBO."

            Well, to start with, both of the "Facts" quoted above are dead wrong. The Rays would be ok with a ballpark in the St. Pete Gateway area if the facility and finances are right, and Mayor Bob will tell you that there are several potential stadium sites in Tampa. Those are facts.

            The rest of Tom's list contains enough additional distorted and/or misconstrued "Facts" that it's pretty safe to assume that his actual knowledge of the Rays' stadium issue is pretty much nil.

          • Tom says:

            Zenny - I am sure there are tonnes of sites available in Tampa - most are not viable. Check them out. Take a look at the issues with each of them. Idiot.

  5. Tyler Durden says:

    Baseball won't be expanding. Montreal won't be getting a team. You can take that to the bank.

  6. Brent says:

    Well, the word of Canda's ESPN could be a financail backer w/ their own tv station behind it is worrisome, BUT the fact that the Expos drew thousands less year after yaer in Canada's 2 biggest city then the Devil Rays playing in a tent surrounded by water in the US's 79th & 53rd bigesst city filled w/ snowbirds speaks volumes...
    Plus, what about the 2030 "mini iceage" predictions?

  7. Geoff Peterson says:

    I think Tom's a little cranky because once the NHL playoffs start hockey will be over in Canada. Now that the US owns all the best franchises, he thinks stealing an MLB team will make them feel better up there. Since they all come to Florida half the year, I'm not sure most Canadians really care. At least they still have Curling... For Now.

  8. Tyler Durden says:

    Sooooo many people in Montreal care about baseball that 2 people have commented on that article. No team, know how, no Montreal. It's not viable.

    • Jeason Gagnon says:

      I live in Florida, marlins and rays are doomed. The state will not finance another stadium again! Montreal will get another shot, they have plans for a stadium in Griffintown MTL. Look it up! Baltimore, Boston, Montreal, New York and Toronto makes a lot of sense being in the same region and there's a natural rivalry right there. Rays are in the perfect predicament to relocate in a better market. Also Montreal not only a city but a culture, people will follow Province wide! Rays are not followed state wide. Quebec will broadcast the games in French and English. That's way more viewers right there than the Tampa and ok the Orlando area.

  9. woodrow744 says:

    Tom leaves a little clue about his "heritage" when he writes the word "tonnes." The Brits and Canucks use that spelling, as opposed to the American spelling (tons). Perhaps from Canada, Tom then introduces "Trump" into his argument, apparently thinking that us Rays fans are ill-prepared for a double-barrel dose of his wit. Do not fear, Rays Index regulars, I suspect Tom will be gassing up the auto and taking I-75 North on-ramp one of these fine spring mornings, heading for the land of more "civilized" folk, many, kilometers from here. Drive safe.

    • Tom says:

      Well spotted woodrow.... I lived in the UK and moved to Tampa about 20 years ago.... I'm british american. Problem with that?


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