Rays owner Stu Sternberg has officially quit on the Tampa Bay area.
Tuesday, Sternberg discussed with the media a plan to split future seasons of Rays baseball between Tampa/St. Petersburg and Montreal, Canada. He claimed that the Tampa area was incapable of supporting the team on their own and would no longer have the Rays to themselves.
This idea is of course asinine.
A lot of factors come into play. Yes, Sternberg has permission to look into this as a viable option from the league and fellow owners, but his lease with Tropicana Field is through the end of the 2027 season and doesn’t allow the Rays to play home games anywhere else.
Of course, leases can be broken, but not if you’re still looking to use the property half the time.
This is a desperate attempt for Sternberg and the Rays to get a new stadium on the Tampa side of the bay and it’s not going to work. The people in Tampa and St. Pete have already made it clear that they will not foot the bill on a new stadium and have been disenfranchised by Sternberg over the years.
Now it’s time for Major League Baseball to step in and find a way to move the Rays to a market that will support them and I think Charlotte is just the place.
Charlotte brings so much to the table for an MLB franchise and the league already knows it as Charlotte has been a rumored option for future expansion. So why wait, bring an already established franchise with an already competitive team to the Carolinas instead of waiting for an expansion team that could be bad for a decade.
Charlotte, when joined by secondary market Greenville/Spartanburg, brings a ton of corporate money to the table, they have a thriving and vibrant city with both the NFL and NBA in town and a possible birth into MLS in the future. It’s a major league city and it deserves Major League Baseball.
Plus, it not only keeps the Rays geographically in the region of their division, but it gives the Atlanta Braves a natural American League rival so we can stop pretending they have a rivalry with the Red Sox in interleague play.
The Rays also bring with them 9 home games against both the Red Sox and Yankees, bringing more tourism to the city as those fan bases travel very well.
The city of Charlotte needs to strike while the iron is hot. Get on the horn with Rob Manfred and Major League Baseball, get together Fortune 500 companies like Bank of America, Lowe’s and Duke Energy to commit to a franchise and make a pitch to bring the Rays to the Carolinas!
Make it happen, Charlotte!
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