The president of the Tampa Bay Rays is giving Montreal baseball fans some new reasons to get excited.
Matthew Silverman said on the Tampa Bay Rays Podcast on Sept. 25 that talks of creating a split season with Montreal are making “progress.”
The team even has plans to promote this prospect in October.
“We’re going to add a sign in the right-field foul territory with a very simple Tampa Bay — Montreal graphic. Especially with the eyes of baseball on us this October, we want that visible symbol of our plan and excitement for it,” Silverman said.
There was no comment from the office of Stephen Bronfman, the investor behind plans to bring Major League Baseball back to Montreal, about the ongoing discussions.
But the idea certainly is creating a lot of buzz in Montreal.
Projet Montréal Leader Valérie Plante says she’s on board with the idea but not at the taxpayer’s expense.
“Not wanting to use Montrealers’ tax money to pay a stadium. That’s a no,” Plante said.
Any opportunity to return baseball to Montreal requires a new stadium to be built. The plan is to have one open by 2028 at the Peel basin. Tampa Bay’s lease at Tropicana Field expires in 2027 so there is no chance of moving baseball to Montreal before that date.
Fans supporting a return to Montreal are optimistic about a future move.
“They’re really ticking off all of the boxes,” Matthew Ross, the ExposNation Facebook page founder, told Global News.
Some are hoping a split season is the first step toward Montreal getting a permanent baseball team.
“I do think keeping an end goal in sight of actually getting our own team back is reasonable but in my opinion, that is still quite some time away,” Michael Randolph, the founder of the I miss the Montreal Expos Facebook page, told Global News.