Ok. So as I am sure many people have realized, I am not a huge fan of the MLB or baseball in general. But, I have attended a game this season, so maybe things are changing. Thus, I think I am able to have a trusted perspective on this matter.
In late June, the MLB gave the Tampa Bay Rays permission to explore becoming the first two-way team in the MLB. The Rays decided to explore expanding into Montreal. I’ve thought about this for quite some time, but my opinion on the matter has not changed.
Why in the world would you do this?
I can’t help but think about brand loyalty and team loyalty. If you represent someone’s hometown, he or she feels a connection, but having two hometowns in two separate countries isn’t the same.
Additionally, how do you divide the season? Baseball teams are already traveling all over the country throughout the season.
Will you split time between the two locations every other game, giving fans an equal opportunity to see key matchups? Or, will you split the first half of the season in one location and the other half in the other location, resulting in less travel for the “home team”?
I honestly cannot decide which of these scenarios is better as one is better for fans while the other prioritizes the players.
The Tampa Bay Rays feel the need to explore this option because of a lack of attendance at its games no matter the team’s success. However, I think I found a simpler solution.
Why not make the team the Florida Rays?
Many other teams like the Colorado Rockies and the Texas Rangers already represent a state, and this would increase the number of people who feel a connection to the team.
Fans from Orlando, Fort Lauderdale and other areas of the state will want to support the Rays, because the Rays will represent a larger population than just Tampa Bay.
Additionally, you could have particular games of the year played around the state in order to attract a larger fan base. In this scenario, the players are not traveling as much as they would going to Montreal, and they have the opportunity to stay loyal to a particular community.
To me, this is a no brainer. I do not understand the appeal of a two-way team. If Montreal is a desirable location, either move there or expand the league in general so that larger cities (like my hometown Portland) can get a team of its own.
If I am missing something here, please let me know. I would love to hear your opinion, but for me, it’s a clear strikeout.