MLB nixes the Tampontreal Exprays
A sad day for curmudgeons, everywhere.
MLB has rejected a proposal for the Tampa
Devil Rays to split their summers with the good people of Montreal - creating Tampontreal - a fantastical, Brigadoon-like city that would periodically appear in the crevice between a soul-devouring hangover and the wrong time of the month.
Tampontreal... rolls off the tongue, no?
In case you missed it, MLB yesterday nixed the Tampa ownership's "sister city" plan, which would move half of the Rays' home games to Canada, theoretically shoring up attendance figures that have lagged for decades in the Lightning Capital of the World - home to Tom Brady - located at the western edge of the Tamiami Trail.
Naturally, there is a subplot, which involves new stadiums.
It begins with Tropicana Field - John & Suzyn's least favorite stopover, due to the relentless, reverberating sound effects. The place is now 15 years old - ancient, by modern standards. For the last few of those years, the team's Brooklyn-born owner, Stuart Sternberg - a Wall Street, Goldman Sachs gasbag who secretly wanted to own the Mets - has been rattling the cup for a new ballpark. His split-cities plan would conveniently push both tax bases to cough up for new stadiums - a breakthrough concept for billionaires in a time when the Children's Tax Credit cannot pass Congress.
I cannot help but think baseball just dodged a bullet, or at least kicked it down the road. While Montreal might have embraced the arrival of a team that constantly humiliates the Yankees, it's hard to imagine this going over in Tampa, where home attendance practiced social distancing since long before Covid. Drop crowds by - say - 20 percent, and the Trop would pose a philosophical question: If a hockey horn blares in an empty stadium, does anybody hear it? (Aside from John & Suzyn; it would still flummox them.)
Basically, this would kill baseball in Tampa and encourage other owners to roam for the best half-season deals. The Rochester Royals, anyone?
Still, the Tampontreal Exprays! I cannot help but feel the loss.
And speaking of losses... RIP, Meatloaf. (A Yankee fan, by the way.) Nobody summed it up more cogently:
"It was long ago, and it was far away, and it was so much better than it is today..."