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Dear St. Pete, can we be really open about something?

After news broke on Thursday that Major League Baseball was allowing discussions regarding the Tampa Bay Rays splitting their regular season home games between St. Petersburg and Montreal, the time had come for the Rays and the City of St. Pete to have an honest discussion about their relationship.

Hey St. Pete,
We need to have a serious conversation. I think we should start seeing other cities.

Before you go off the handle, hear me out. I think this will actually be a good thing for our relationship in the long run.

Let’s be honest, things haven’t been great between us for a while now. Yeah, you wear our hats still and you will occasionally talk about us on your Facebook page, but I need more. I need that physical element to our relationship. Unfortunately, you’re not living up to those expectations right now.

I’m a young, virile team and I need attention and not just those special occasions like Opening Day, the 4th of July or Father’s Day. You can’t have a healthy relationship without that physical presence and It seems like the only time you are into it is if toys are involved or if you’ve had a couple drinks when your old fling the Yankees are in town. At this point I honestly don’t mind if you are thinking about some other team while you are with me, I’m just happy to finally get some attendance.

You make all kinds of excuses about why you are never in the mood for a good, old fashioned ballgame anymore — you’re too busy or you don’t have the energy or you are too tired to stay up past 9 p.m. There’s a concert you’d rather be at with your friends or a trendy restaurant all those foodies talk about on Instagram to check out. You blame it on your insecurity because you’ve let yourself go around the downtown area over the years and your waterfront pier has seemingly been under construction forever. You even try to blame it on me and say I don’t have the star power I had back in 2008 or that I don’t try anymore, conveniently forgetting about those 90-wins seasons or all the charity work in the community. I’m in contention for the American League East divisional title approaching the All-Star break. Surely, that’s worth a quick six innings on a Tuesday night.

I’m tired of feeling alone on a Friday night. I’m tired of begging you with cheap tickets just so you will turn off the Netflix for a night and give me just little bit of cowbell. Can you even remember the last time you greeted me with a sellout after I returned home after a long road trip? Sometimes it feels like the only reason I’m around is because I’m contractually obligated.

Montreal makes me feel like a real team again and not some glorified Gulf Coast League club. She appreciates me for my Cy Young Award winner and my exciting young offense. She does all those things that you are too self conscious to do like tailgating. She even thinks my opener is cute. The best part is, she is already on board for this arrangement. I’m okay with the fact that she is still obsessed with her ex-team — she still has her Tim Wallach jerseys in her closet — and she is okay with the fact that I already have a family back home that deep down, I don’t want to give up. You should honestly consider it as well.

I don’t want to be that guy who just ups and leaves for a new venue in Southern California or Las Vegas the first time they retract their roof for me. I’m not looking to go barnstorming through the sad and lonely midwestern states. I just want to feel wanted. I need to feel appreciated. I don’t think it is too much to ask to have my turnstiles cranked with some semblance of regularity.

Just remember, it’s only baseball. You’d still be the one I come home to every spring training. I could never love another city the way I love you. We’ve been through too much together. I could never go that long without seeing our adorable children, little Rowdies and baby Stone Crabs. If you think about it, it is a better situation all around. You’ll still be a Major League town without the pressures of actually supporting a team over a full season. You’ll never have to hear those rumors from your neighbor Tampa about how you are too selfish to be a big-league city and you are destined to be stuck with a big empty stadium and a small population of rescued cats. You won’t feel like attending a mid-week game in August is a chore and you’ll have more time and energy to spend on your hobbies or go to the beach. I’ll be much happier knowing that I won’t spend weeks at a time with a raging case of the blue seats.

Who knows, once you realize what you’ve been missing, you might even learn to enjoy coming out to a game more than once a month again. If you are really adventurous, the three of us might even try a little playoff action together as well.

Yours truly,
The Tampa Bay Rays

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