The Tampa Bay Rays are seriously exploring the possibility of moving up to Montreal… but just for three months out of the year.
According to a report this afternoon from ESPN’s Jeff Passan, the Rays have received permission from Major League Baseball to look into playing the first half of their home games in the Tampa Bay area and then shifting to Montreal for the second half each season.
From the article:
Under the plan, the Rays would play in new stadiums in both the Tampa Bay area and Montreal, sources said. The number of home games each city would receive has not been determined, sources said. Manfred referred to the idea of a two-city Rays team as a long-term project.Jess Passan, ESPN.com
Fans may remember the Montreal Expos played a quarter of their home schedules in San Juan during the 2003 and 2004 seasons (including the last-ever Blue Jays-Expos series, which was also over Canada Day weekend… nice). The Expos relocated to Washington following the 2004 season where they remain today as the Washington Nationals.
The article goes on to say that it’s far too early to get into what a possible name for the team would be, the Expos retained their full Montreal Expos name during their two split seasons with San Juan. The NBA’s New Orleans Hornets were re-named the NO/Oklahoma City Hornets while the team split their schedule between the two cities following Hurricane Katrina in 2005, going back to the 1970s the NBA also had the Kansas City-Omaha Kings who bounced between the two cities.
Geographically they could go with TB-Montreal or Montreal-Florida? Perhaps a new all-in-one geographic name that makes nobody happy like “North America”? As for a nickname, it’d be a good opportunity to get a rebrand away from the boring and forgettable Rays name (I’ve heard Ex-Rays, which is hilarious but would never happen). In the past, I’ve jokingly referred to a potentially relocated Rays team as the Montreal R’ehs.
If the plan ends up happening, what do you think the team should be called? Share in the comments, suggestions both serious and ridiculous are welcome.