Those who were hoping for a reaction from Stephen Bronfman and his Montreal Baseball Group following the Tampa Bay Rays’ decision to execute the Sister Cities project in the next Major Baseball series will be disappointed: the group will not comment. .
On Saturday, Rays president Matt Silverman told the Tampa Bay Times that the team would promote the shared custody project, presented in Tampa and Montreal in June 2019, through an advertisement installed at Tropicana Field.
Invited to comment on the matter, the Montreal Baseball Group, through its spokesperson, Daniel Granger, declined an interview request from The Canadian Press. A message sent to Bronfman went unanswered.
The Rays also declined an interview request from The Canadian Press.
This project, which received the approval of the Major Baseball Executive Committee, would see the Rays start their season in St. Petersburg before moving to Montreal around June 24. If the team is present in the playoffs, the two cities would host the post-season matches alternately, on an annual basis.
Last December, the team’s majority shareholder, Stuart Sternberg, mentioned that this sister city project was “the only option” the organization is considering to keep MLB in the Tampa-St. Area for the long term. . Petersburg. For it to work, it involves the construction of two stadiums, one in Tampa Bay, the other in Montreal, which will host the club for half a season each.
Announcement after elections
There is currently no funding, private or public, for the construction of a stadium in Florida, where the Rays have a lease with Tropicana Field until 2027. In Montreal, the Baseball Group owes to first to acquire land located in Peel Basin, belonging to the Canada Lands Company, which it would operate in the company of real estate developer Devimco.
This decision by the Rays brought the issue of baseball’s return to the fore in Quebec. Last weekend the Journal of Montreal reported “that an important announcement would be made in this matter after the municipal elections of November 7”.
Monday, the two main candidates for the elections, the mayoress Valerie Plante and former mayor Denis Coderre, both had to answer questions on this issue.
Mme Plante said she was very enthusiastic about baseball’s return to Montreal, but recalled that she did not want to see taxpayer money used for the construction of a stadium.
Mr. Coderre “sees the project favorably”, provided “it comes from the private sector”. However, he adds that people do not want to hear about baseball or building a stadium in today’s environment.
The Rays move comes weeks after the South Florida organization, which is set to end the season with the American’s best record, announced that a number of US $ 10 tickets were going on sale in order to ensure larger crowds.
Ahead of Monday’s games, the Rays had averaged 9,513 spectators per game, a good number for the 26e rank in the MLB, ahead of the Oakland Athletics, Toronto Blue Jays and Miami Marlins.
The Blue Jays, however, played part of their games at their spring training complex in Dunedin, Fla., Where the maximum capacity of the TD Ballpark was limited to 1,000 spectators, and Sahlen Field in Buffalo, where fans could not. occupy more than 35% of the 16,600 seats in the first games. The stadium was able to be fully occupied at the end of June, before the team returned to the Rogers Center – limited to 15,000 spectators – at the end of July.
The A’s were also limited to a maximum of 12,000 spectators at the Oakland Coliseum for much of the season.