Show us the money, Rays: Open the books

Owner Stu Sternberg should make full disclosure part of any Montreal deal.
SCOTT KEELER   |   Times

Tampa Bay Rays  Principal Owner Stuart Sternberg greets visitors prior to a Rays announcement at the Dali Museum, St. Petersburg, that they want to play half of their games in Montreal, Canada.
SCOTT KEELER | Times Tampa Bay Rays Principal Owner Stuart Sternberg greets visitors prior to a Rays announcement at the Dali Museum, St. Petersburg, that they want to play half of their games in Montreal, Canada.
Published June 27, 2019|Updated June 27, 2019

Having attended that uproarious Rays good news/bad news conference the other day, I began making tentative plans for my first road trip to Montreal to see the home team.

That’s when I saw the disconnect between the rich and not-so-rich.

The rich, namely Rays owner Stu Sternberg, a nice man who should never hold another news conference, talked about that road trip as if it was easy. It’s as if he thinks, “Sure, why not? Hotel, airfare, maybe hit Toronto on the way back. Who’s pitching?”

Stu merely cleans the loose change off his dresser and is good to go.

Related: MORE ON THE MONTREAL PLAN: Rays to fans: We desperately want to stay in Tampa Bay

Then there are the rest of us, mindful of daily extravagances such as food, shelter and clothing.

A Montreal road trip?

Is this guy daft?

It underlines a problem as the Rays weigh their options as a two-headed monster, as they try to do everything else in their power, including $2 tickets next week against Baltimore, pizza parties at Stu’s house after wins.

By the way, not sure about the pizza parties yet, so check back.

I’ve got a better idea.

Open the Rays’ books.

Show us the money, or no money.

Let’s see the Rays’ withered finances. Crack the ledger and let the moths fly out and we’ll all hang our heads in shame.

Full disclosure would be a seminal act of good faith.

Granted, Major League Baseball hates seminal acts of good faith. It’s none of our business. No one wants the books cracked. But this might be the only way for the Rays to convince people just how bad off they are.

They are asking for us to buy into this idea, to come along as star voyagers in this great experiment. One small step for Rays, one giant leap for Rays kind. Okay, show us how deep the crater is.

Related: MORE ON THE MONTREAL PLAN: Rays have cleared one Montreal hurdle, but more remain

Otherwise we’re left to remember what baseball has done to Tampa Bay over the years, a near lifetime of being jilted by prospective transplants such as the Giants and White Sox, along with several others, including the Twins, Rangers and Mariners.

We’ve had the hook in our mouth enough times to know when something is fishy.

That Sternberg has bought a house here does nothing to relieve the indigestion. How could he not want to be here if he bought a house here? Yeah, Stu would be stuck with that house. Who’d want that rock around their neck?

I suspect the Rays make money for Sternberg and his partners. Not even close to as much as the Yankees and Red Sox, who are London bound (for two days), but the Rays make money. Just not as much as they would like.

Do they really want anyone to know that?

I understand this is their business. But they made it our business the first time they called Canada collect, the first time Sternberg suggested our Montreal getaway weekends.

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I don’t begrudge Sternberg for trying to make a few dollars. I’d just want to know how few he is making now.

I’m willing to meet Stu halfway. You can come over to my house and I’ll spread my bills out across the kitchen table, show you what I have available. Don’t mind the cat on my cable bill. The car payments and college bill or over there, on top of President Trump’s 2015 tax return. Hey, how’d that get in there?

This would be the last act of kindness between the Rays and a community that always seems to find something else to do. We need to have our heads snapped back. Show us how bad it is, though we have a general idea since all the Rays we’ve ever liked are no longer Rays we’ve ever liked.

Show us how bad, once and for all.

Open the books. Let the sunshine in.

I found a $377 round-trip flight to Montreal and a hotel near the ballpark for $330 for two nights. All I need are dates and a ballpark.

Minor details, but it’s only money.

Get back to us, Stu.

Contact Martin Fennelly at or (813) 731-8029. Follow @mjfennelly.