Monday, January 26, 2015

Five Years Ago This Weekend...

Five years ago this weekend...the ABC Coalition wrapped up its comprehensive study of what Tampa Bay can/should do to keep the Rays around long-term.

Their conclusion?  Ignore territorial boundaries and work together.

In the five years since, we've seen several other "study groups" formed (they came to similar conclusions), we've heard fans worry the team would be gone if something didn't happen soon (it didn't, and the team is still here), and we've seen a reasonably successful mayor voted out because he couldn't get form consensus on the Stadium Saga (the new mayor is still trying after 13 months too).

A lot of folks will point to politics or stadium location as the biggest problems the Rays have faced in the last five years...but I think their biggest long-term headaches have been most-significantly magnified by the region's resistance to public transit improvements.


  1. Bingo!

    Public transit is the main reason the Rays are not getting more fans in the existing stadium. And even with a new stadium, the problem will be the same.

    This is why the Rays (and MLB) don't believe anymore in the region and will slowly but surely find a way out.

    IMOHO, there is no way public and private funding will be available for a major project for a new stadium and public transportation at the same time.

    And this is why Montreal is the perfect city (with important public tranportations - metro, bus, train and future Light Rail System coming with the new Champlain bridge) to move/sell the team.

    Stay tune, a major announcement is coming from Montreal Baseball Project (and probably the Montreal Chamber of Commerce).

    With Manfred's comments yesterday in the NYT, the Reds/Jays games in April and the Montreal Baseball Plan an investments ($11M) announced last week by Mayor Coderre, We are one step closer.

    1. Montreal is a great city, but stop preying on the Rays. I'm sure you and any other Expos fan was pissed in the 2000's seeing Washington, Charlotte, Portland, Norfolk, etc preying on you guys..

    2. I did feel the pain when the Expos left and looking back at what happens, considering the lack of local investors that cared (and other structural reasons like revenue sharing with a very weak currency), it was the best decision for the team even if it was a tough one.

      Back then, the team lacked corporate love and support and this is why they left. And I'm happy that Washington was able to get the team. No hard feelings against them.

      So regarding the Rays, this team needs love and care and so far, from an attendance point of view, there is a perpetual lack of love and care. Yes, TV ratings are great, but with a empty stadium. I was attending one game last summer in the Trop and I can say that it was sad. Watch the Reds/Jays games in April and you'll see the difference. Montreal have its own way to celebrate baseball and cheers for their teams with a long tradition of excellence.

      Montreal went through tough times in the last 10-15 years and we did turned the page and looking forward positively. So this is why there is a big mouvement, a big wave that is growing every day for baseball.

      All I'm saying is that we are not looking to steel or to hunt for a team. We are just opening our arms and hearts to get a team back, no matter if it's an existing one or a new one.

      When I'm looking at the Rays, I see a team that need more than what they have right now. And the reality is that I don't see any signs that what they needs (a new home, with transportations to attract way more fans) is coming. There were a lot of talks in the last 5-7 years in TB, and so far, it is still back to square one.

      And this is not an ownership issue like what we lived in Montreal back in 1995 to 2004.

      I will be more than happy to have the Expos back playing against the Rays, but I'm realistic. I don't see that even if an ironclad agreement is in place until 2027.