Mind you, I don’t think we have anything to be scared about. If the Rays move anywhere, it will be across the bay to downtown Tampa. There has been precious little urgency about getting it done, though, because the Rays have no alternative to the catwalk-covered catastrophe known as Tropicana Field.As well-documented on this blog, I don't think the Rays will move to Montreal either. And I don't think they will move to any other region, either.
They probably still don’t, but it might help if local politicians believe they do. If you’ve ever been to Montreal, you know what a dynamic, lovely place it is.
But as Peter Gammons said, MLB teams "need to be able to blackmail" cities.
And as Jerry Reinsdorf said, "a savvy negotiator creates leverage."
So sure, why not use Montreal as the boogeyman?
Henderson also echoed my 2009 post that predicted the Rays would take a trip to some "MLB-starved city...a trip like that would normally go under-the-radar, but a well-placed call to someone like Peter Gammons or Rob Neyer will drop the tip that the Rays are exploring other communities."
In Henderson's words:
This is all about pressure, though, so, I would expect a few well-timed leaks from mystery sources saying the Rays might be headed to the cold, frozen north unless they get a new stadium. That might finally get things going here.That's just part of the stadium subsidy blueprint. So rather than panic, Rays fans in Tampa Bay should just accept it, prepare for it, and - why not? - chuckle at it.
And when the new place eventually opens somewhere in Tampa, we can finally close this chapter of the team’s history and maybe offer a merci to our Canadian friends for helping to make it happen. We should appreciate them for stepping up.
A smarter approach may be to figure out how much the team would be willing to put toward a new stadium and see if the region still wants to close the funding gap with public money over the next 10-15 years.