News item from Thursday:
BREAKING: The Tampa Bay Rays have received MLB's permission to explore becoming two-city team: the Tampa Bay area and Montreal, sources tell ESPN. The plan: Play early-season home games in the Tampa Bay area and finish the season in Montreal. News at ESPN: https://t.co/X6uSt4KLfC— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) June 20, 2019
I cannot express how ridiculously bad an idea this is. Who would be a fan of such a team? How would the players handle living arrangements? What city would build a stadium for... 40 home games a year? Who would pay for TV rights?
I might not be able to express it, but here’s an article that did, and very well. Among other things regarding the team the writer calls the “Tampareal Rayspos”:
Imagine being a fan of the Rayspos. If you’re in Florida, why would you care about the first half games, knowing that those crucial second half games are going to be seen by a completely different set of home fans? Why would you buy season tickets, since there isn’t even the possibility of seeing playoff games at your local stadium? And for fans in Montreal, are you even going to bother showing up for second half games if the Rayspos are off to a 30-51 start to the year and are 15 games out in the AL East? The cool part about the start of the season is that every team has hope. If that hope simply does not exist, who is going to show up and cheer their hearts out?
All of this leads me to the results of the latest SB Nation FanPulse poll, in which we asked which of five cities was your favorite for future expansion:
Obviously, if and when MLB expands it won’t be to just one city, but Montreal was the clear favorite in our survey. I’ve written previously on this topic, last June and this past April, and I stand by my thoughts on expansion and realignment (hint: go easy on the latter!) in those articles. Montreal and Portland are the best choices, in my view, and Montreal deserves better than this preposterous “city sharing” idea.
As is our usual, we surveyed you about Joe Maddon and the Cubs. About the current direction of the team:
Now, that should come with a bit of a caveat. It’s down from last week, but those numbers came in before the last two games. I’d think you would feel a bit better about the Cubs after that. Approval in Joe Maddon as manager was at 80 percent in the last poll, down from 89 percent last week, though again I’d think that would be up if the survey happened today.
You can still sign up to participate in FanPulse, at the link at the top of this post.