Thursday, December 19, 2013

Henderson: Montreal Nothing But a Boogeyman

Following Michael Sasso's Wednesday piece in the Tampa Tribune about the likelihood Montreal could steal the Rays, columnist Joe Henderson follows it up today with a nice piece identifying the Canadian city as the "bogeyman who can help scare this area into building a new stadium for your Tampa Bay Rays."
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.

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.
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.

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.

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.
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.

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.


  1. Joe Henderson references Scott Boras in his column. Because Scott Boras (and his ilk) terrorizes and generally wins big against MLB owners when negotiating players contracts (although he may have just fumbled with Shin-Soo Choo), the owners have to get back the money they lost on over-paying for players by bullying the local politicians so that the tax-payers wind up paying for most or all of the cost of the stadiums.

    So to correct this injustice, we need local government to hire the Scott Boras types to negotiate with the team-owners when they are threatening to move to other communities. This is a win-win situation in that to the extent the Scott Boras types advocate on behalf of the taxpayer against the owners, they have that much less bandwith to negotiate the ridiuculous player contracts. If they can terrorize the owners on behalf of the players, then they can certainly terrorize the owners on behalf of the tax-payers. And guess what - Albert Pujols with live no less well on $10 million per year vs $25 million per year.

  2. Regarding the preceding, If only it was realistic...
    Montreal isn't even a boogey-boy, the attempts by a small number of Expo-necrophilliacs to make a mountain out of less than a mole hill are laughable.
    Rayz customers have nothing to fear but an mallpark that they'll be priced out of.
    Nobody in MLB has any interest in Mtl. as a franchise location.