Sunday, October 26, 2014

Yes, We Know...Sternberg Likes Montreal...but Fearmongering is Part of MLB Plan

I was completely unsuprised to see the New York Daily News' Bill Madden write about Stu Sternberg eyeing Montreal.  He writes whatever Bud Selig wants him to write about:
[T]here is growing belief that the economically depressed Tampa Bay area won’t support the Rays no matter where they play. And according to sources, Sternberg has had discussions with wealthy Wall Street associates about moving the Rays to Montreal, which has been without a major-league franchise since the Expos were transferred to Washington in 2005. As one major-league official put it to me Friday: “Say what you will about Montreal, but the Expos drew well over two million fans four times there in their heyday, while the Rays did that only once, their first year.
Of  course, Jonah Keri, baseball's preeminent expert on both Expos and Rays' history, summed it up nicely:
Expect a lot more talk of Montreal.  Not because the Rays are in danger of leaving Tampa Bay anytime soon...but because Sternberg will attempt to strike while the iron is hot.  It's one of MLB's Dirty Little Tricks.

The more fearmongering about the Rays moving to Montreal, the more willing Tampa Bay's elected officials will be to open up the tax coffers.  And the departure of Joe Maddon & Andrew Friedman will serve to distract from the big-picture problems of an MLB system where revenue-sharing is shunned.
     (hint: its working - local media fall for it every time)

Just remember, St. Pete currently has a ironclad contract with the team that prohibits it from leaving town before 2027. 

Just remember, MLB owners don't typically get taxpayer handouts without creating leverage.

And just remember, no matter how hard MLB tries, an old stadium and small payroll still haven't stopped teams like the Rays, A's, and now Royals from having some pretty awesome seasons.

A brief history of Rays-to-Montreal rumors:


  1. Sitting here drinking from a Rays mug, wearing an Expos hoodie, torn on this one. Expansion won't happen until Tampa Bay and Oakland are settled, and until then, Montreal will be the boogeyman for relocation. Personally I can't see the Rays moving out of Florida with the lease and TV money being in the picture, but again, fear makes people do irrational things, so not all may see it that way.

  2. Expansion won't happen because the revenue pie is cut into pieces too small for the owners to swallow it without lusting after what's "missing".
    The fearful irrationality is what MLB, NFL. NHL, NBA and the soccer leagues count on to get what they want.
    Noah, thanks for the rational history lesson.