Rays to explore playing part of season in Montreal

The Tampa Bay Rays are considering splitting their home schedule between the Tampa Bay area and Montreal.

Major League Baseball's executive committee gave the Rays the green light to explore the two-city solution as a possible way to save baseball in the Tampa Bay area, ESPN reported Thursday.

Sources told ESPN that the plan would involve playing early-season home games in Florida and the remainder of the year in Canada, with the exact number of home games in each location still to be determined.

The Rays would play in new stadiums in both places. Playing early in the season in Tampa -- before the start of the rainy season -- would preclude the need to build a domed stadium, thereby cutting construction costs.

For more than a decade, the team has been seeking a new stadium in Tampa or St. Petersburg, where the Rays currently play at Tropicana Field. Their average attendance of 14,546 this season is the second lowest in baseball, despite a 43-31 record entering Thursday.

"My priority remains the same," Rays principal owner Stu Sternberg said in a statement. "I am committed to keeping baseball in Tampa Bay for generations to come. I believe this concept is worthy of serious exploration."

The plan would bring baseball back to Montreal for the first time since 2004, when the Expos relocated to Washington, D.C., and became the Nationals.

--Field Level Media