The White Sox were once in the relocation shoes of the Tampa Bay Rays

Imagine for a moment that the Chicago White Sox announced that they would play half of their home games in Indianapolis. Or the Chicago Cubs deciding to move half of their games from Wrigley Field to Des Moines. Would that be something fans of those teams would favor?

I doubt they will. However, Tampa Bay Rays principal owner Stuart Sternberg believes this type of situation will not only exist in the future, but professional sports teams will eventually embrace it.

Last week, major league owners rejected a proposal from the Rays to split their home schedule between Florida and Montreal. The plan had been discussed for several years but has been put to rest for now.

The Rays have been one of the worst teams in the league by average attendance over the years, despite having appeared in the World Series twice since the team’s inception in 1998. Last season, the team averaged about 9,500 fans per game which ranked just ahead. from Miami and Oakland.

The Chicago White Sox have previously been implicated in a ‘relocation threat’.

Sternburg knows that this type of attendance cannot lead to financial sustainability and he should be applauded for coming up with out-of-the-box thinking in terms of developing an alternative revenue stream. The idea of ​​resuming mid-season and moving to another city – in this case another country – to end the year seems a little too far-fetched.

As Sternburg considered this plan to help his team at this time, he believes the concept will become not only accepted but mainstream in the sport:

“I have no doubt that what we have tried to accomplish with our sister city plan will be accepted across all professional sports,” he said. “Major League Baseball just isn’t ready to cross that threshold right now.”

Baseball should never prepare to cross that threshold. Scheduling and travel issues, player housing issues, and loss of work for stadium workers are just a few of the reasons this idea is just plain bad.

For Sternburg to suggest it will become popular in professional sports seems odd. If sister city markets want a professional sports team, wouldn’t a league look to expand into those cities instead of putting a part-time team there?

If the desire for a franchise is so great in an untapped market, the professional sports leagues would probably be more than happy to explore the possibility of putting teams there. The Tampa/St. The Petersburg area has never fully supported the Rays in terms of attendance, and Tropicana Field is considered one of the worst, if not the worst, stadium in all of baseball.

The Rays’ deal to play at the Tropicana expires in 2027 and negotiations to build a new stadium in the area have not been successful. Sternburg says he has no plans to sell the team and moving is not an option at this time. The coming season’s attendance totals could play a role in the team’s future in Florida.

The White Sox are no strangers to potential relocation efforts. St. Petersburg could have been the home of the White Sox if a deal for a new stadium in Chicago hadn’t been reached in 1998. In 1975, the Sox moved to Seattle, but that didn’t happen once Bill Veeck bought the team.

Comments are closed.