Major League Baseball rejected the Tampa Bay Rays' proposal to split their seasons between Florida and Montreal.
Commissioner Rob Manfred informed Rays principal owner Stuart Sternberg that the league's executive council turned down the plan, multiple outlets reported Thursday.
Officials with the team were "stunned" by the decision and had been expecting approval to proceed after spending more than two years on the project, according to the Tampa Bay Times.
"We put everything we had into this effort because we truly believed in it -- we thought it was great for the Rays, for our players, for Major League Baseball, for Montreal and Tampa Bay," team president Brian Auld told the newspaper. "And to have the rug pulled out from under us like this is extraordinarily disappointing."
The Rays' lease agreement with Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla., expires after the 2027 season. They have played there since their inaugural season in 1998.
In light of MLB's decision, team officials said they will once again explore finding a new full-time home in the Tampa Bay area.
The Rays have no immediate plans to explore relocation to another market, and Sternberg has no plans to sell the ballclub, team officials told the Tampa Bay Times.
"Our focus has always been on how we can keep the Rays in Tampa Bay and have the franchise thrive for decades," Matt Silverman, another team president, told the paper. "That is unchanged. ...
"Today's news isn't positive, but it's on us to turn it into a positive, and channel a lot of the support that we've received from throughout the community into our next effort and make that the successful one."
--Field Level Media