Tampa Bay Rays: Leaving Florida? Think Caribbean, not Canada

ST. PETERSBURG, FL - OCTOBER 08: A general view of Tropicana Field during the National Anthem of Game Four of the American League Divisional Series between the Houston Astros and the Tampa Bay Rays on October 7, 2019, at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, FL. (Photo by Mary Holt/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
ST. PETERSBURG, FL - OCTOBER 08: A general view of Tropicana Field during the National Anthem of Game Four of the American League Divisional Series between the Houston Astros and the Tampa Bay Rays on October 7, 2019, at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, FL. (Photo by Mary Holt/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images) /
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(Photo by Jessica Foster/MLB via Getty Images)
(Photo by Jessica Foster/MLB via Getty Images) /

Possible New Homes for the Tampa Bay Rays

San Juan, Puerto Rico

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Since it is the capital of an American territory, looking at San Juan eliminates any potential concerns about international relations. From that standpoint, it is the most attractive potential Caribbean site.

And like all of the other potential Latin cities, it has a fanatical potential fan base. Baseball is a way of life in Puerto Rico, an island that has produced such stars as Javy Baez, Yadier Molina, Jose Berrios, Carlos Correa, and Francisco Lindor.

The metropolitan area’s 2.6 million population is slightly smaller than Tampa-St. Petersburg, but on par with successful major league cities such as St. Louis, Milwaukee, and Cleveland.

As in Santo Domingo, the most substantial problem with playing regular games there would be economic. The average income in San Juan is significantly smaller than in most metropolitan major league areas.

Still, MLB sees potential, and it is putting that potential to the test. A three-game regular-season series between the Marlins and Mets will be played April 28-30 this year at Hi Bithorn Stadium.

It will be a reprise of a two-game series between the Cleveland Indians and Minnesota Twins played there two seasons ago. That series drew 19,537 fans each night. If that doesn’t sound like much, consider that Hi Bithorn has 18,264 seats.

Next. Dodgers: breaking down the Red Sox deal. dark

Yes, playing a regular schedule of games in San Juan – or in any Caribbean city – would entail building a new, MLB-capacity stadium. But that’s a one-time expense.