“I’m really here to speak directly to our fans today,” Principal owner Stuart Sternberg said in a radio interview on Tuesday, according to the Tampa Bay Times. “And to apologize, quite frankly. I’ve always said baseball is meant to be fun, engaging and exciting. Bring together a community.
“I made a big mistake, a real mistake, in trying to promote our twin city plan with a sign right now in our home baseball stadium. I absolutely should have known better. And really, I’m sorry for that. I’m here to tell… the fans that the sign is not going to go up.
On Saturday, team president Matt Silverman announced the new marketing campaign, which would feature a “very simple Tampa Bay / Montreal graphic” displayed at Tropicana Field during the Rays’ upcoming playoff race. The plan would see the Rays open the season in Florida but end the season in Montreal when the team’s current lease at Trop expires after the 2027 season. Although virtually unknown in professional sports, Silverman said in an interview with the radio that “this is the best and maybe the only chance for baseball to be here for generations.”
“Especially with baseball’s eyes on us in October, we want this visible symbol of our plan and our enthusiasm for it,” Silverman said of the ensign. “It will subtly mark the effort and keep the focus on winning and winning games in October. “
However, the plan was widely criticized by Rays fans, who said the sign and potential move would distract from the team’s playoff run. Speaking on Tuesday, Sternberg acknowledged those criticisms in his apology.
“I knew a sign would get our attention. And we want attention. I just didn’t fully understand that now is not the time for that, ”he said. “The playoffs are a special time. October baseball is a special time for a team and its fans, and nothing should distract from the games.
“This is the time for the whole community to come together and come together. By suggesting that we have a sign that I knew might be controversial, I put that at risk. Clearly and simply, it was a bad decision. And that is why we are not going to go through with it.
The former Montreal team, the Expos, moved to the DC area and renamed the Washington Nationals in 2004.