The Rays have been toying with the idea of becoming a two-city team, splitting their schedule between Tampa Bay and Montreal, and on Thursday news broke that MLB’s executive council has given the franchise permission to officially explore the idea. Under the plan, ESPN reported, the Rays would play the first part of the season in Tampa Bay and the second portion in Montreal, with the split of games to be determined. The Tampa Bay Times reported the plan wouldn’t be implemented “until 2023 or so.” 2. Sorry, Portland, Charlotte and othersExpansion is still eventually on the table, of course.MLB commissioner Rob Manfred has talked about it often, but he’s never put a real timeline on it. The fact that MLB has allowed the Rays to explore the possibility seems to push expansion realities back a bit, right? If nothing else, it certainly signals that the Tampa Bay situation is higher on the priority list (as it should be). If the Rays are going to move/split time with another city, it kinda of has to be one that makes geographic sense, which almost certainly means staying on the East Coast. Anything else requires division/league realignment, which is something that would be more realistic with expansion. Can’t have Portland playing in the AL East, y’know?Charlotte would work geographically, but there is virtually nothing existing in the way of a current civic plan to entice MLB. There’s a new push in Raleigh, N.C., but that area’s yet to make Manfred’s vocalized short list of expansion candidates. And the other places often mentioned by Manfred — Nashville, Las Vegas and Vancouver — fall into the same geographic quandary as Portland. Nashville not quite as much, obviously, but that’s still much more of an NL/AL Central market. MORE: Watch ‘ChangeUp,’ a new MLB live whiparound show on DAZNWe have two initial reactions to this news … 1. This two-city thing is never going to happen Which is too bad, because combining the Tampa Bay Rays and Montreal Expos nicknames to get “ExRays” would be kind of awesome. Oh well. The truth is this: The Tampa Bay ownership has battled for years to get a new stadium, and for a variety of reasons, every road has led to a dead end. The current stadium situation is not viable long-term; it’s far too difficult to get to for a large portion of the region’s population. Tropicana Field, located near downtown St. Petersburg, is a 25-minute drive from downtown Tampa — over a bridge that crosses Tampa Bay — when there’s no traffic. The daily traffic across the bridge jumps that travel time exponentially. The Rays haven’t averaged more than 19,255 fans per game since 2010, and they’ve won 90 or more games four times in that stretch. On May 28-29, with the team already 13 games over .500, the Rays drew 5,786 and 6,166 fans on back-to-back games (both wins) against the Blue Jays. The people have spoken, and it’s clear that even a winning product hasn’t been able to overcome geographic issues.So other theoretical roads have to be traveled, even if the stated destination (let’s play in two cities!) is unrealistic. Oh, and this new plan, according to ESPN, would still require new stadiums in both Tampa Bay AND Montreal. Yikes.Why in the world would Montreal — which has been pushing hard to get back into the big leagues — put any resources toward a team it has to share? That’s not going to happen, not without promises of eventually not having to share the team. Putting the giant stadium(s) roadblock aside, the simple logistics of playing in two cities — in two different countries — are mind-boggling. And then there’s this: Imagine that recruiting pitch to a free agent: Come to our team, where we have a consistently low payroll and where you will have to rent property in the Tampa area *and* Montreal and also hire a really brilliant accountant and possibly play in two worn-down domes. Sign me up!!— Lindsey Adler (@lindseyadler) June 20, 2019A thought supported by this, from a former player: Splitting time between the 2 cities would be an absolute nightmare as a player… Potentially moving your family/pets back-and-forth, finding pediatricians, doctors, vets, paying rent on multiple houses, even when you’re not there. No thanks.https://t.co/pmfX5Mxuw0— Brad Ziegler (@BradZiegler) June 20, 2019If the MLB Players Association has any power at all, they’ll shut this down.