Tampa Bay media report on Tampa Bay media’s reporting of Rays-to-Montréal rumors

What do you get when you combine a slow news day, a semi-famous guy in one city looking to promote his campaign to own an MLB team, and a sportswriter in another city looking for something to write about his city’s team’s stadium campaign in which nothing much is happening? That would be this:

Former Montreal Expos icon Warren Cromartie — so popular in Montreal he once had his own candy bar, the CroBar — is mounting a campaign to lure a team back to the francophone city on the St. Lawrence River. Cromartie told The Tampa Tribune on  Tuesday that he isn’t targeting any team specifically, including the Rays.

However, he acknowledges certain teams are struggling with attendance or their finances and he’s more than willing to let baseball writers and sports agents make the Rays-to-Montreal suggestion.

“You know, baseball writers. Those guys. Not like me, Tampa Tribune baseball writer Michael Sasso, who just wrote an article headlined, ‘Could Montreal make a play for Rays?'”

Look, I’ve long said that Montréal is almost certainly the best baseball market in North America without an MLB team, but that doesn’t make Cromartie’s campaign news just yet — as the Tampa Tribune’s Joe Henderson points out, what the Rays are unhappy about in Tampa Bay is that they don’t have anyone offering to build them a new stadium, and all Montréal has is “a sketchy, unfunded plan to build a ballpark.” Still, Henderson did end up writing a whole article about the Rays moving to Montréal, or at least about them threatening to move to Montréal in order to extort a new stadium in Tampa Bay. Stuart Sternberg has got to be really happy for slow news days.

4 comments on “Tampa Bay media report on Tampa Bay media’s reporting of Rays-to-Montréal rumors

  1. I keep waiting for Orlando to come into play at some point. It’s only a few hours up I-4, has a burgeoning corporate support system starting with Disney, has almost the same number of residents (read: TV sets) in the metro area, and perhaps most importantly, its local government has never, NEVER seen a stadium subsidy deal it didn’t like.

    Of course MLB would never actually succeed here, but it wouldn’t surprise me one bit if someone like Buddy Dyer began ramping up the rhetoric, particularly if the stalemate continues in St Pete.

  2. Yeah. Ok.

    I’d love to see the Expos back…. but unless and until any group has a massively wealthy owner in place who is willing to pay $500m for a franchise and then another $500m for a stadium (because Quebec and the Feds aren’t likely to pay it for them), with the sole expectation that he will struggle to put 20k in the stadium regularly and probably earn no more than $50-70m in regional tv rights annually, AND be stuck with a break even payroll no greater than $90m with the new MLB media deals included… well, colour me skeptical.

    I’d love to see it… but I don’t believe it will happen. And if it does, it won’t be a relocation… US franchises in the national pastime aren’t moving to Canada. But a $500m expansion franchise? Maybe… but only maybe…

    Where does the second one go? New Jersey? Vegas?

  3. Once the team died everyone started wearing the gear again, so I”m sure they’d have a decent initial year, but Montreal has not only become used to not having baseball, the city itself has become less Anglophone. You also won’t be able get 2 tickets for $5 and a can of Coke and keep the franchise.

    Looking at T-bay’s attendance, I seriously can’t imagine Montreal topping that, and getting half-full stadiums for most games isn’t acceptable anymore.