Is It Possible That Major League Baseball Returns To Montreal?

7/18/14 in MLB   |   ellenpiehl   |   22 respect

Blog Photo - Is It Possible That Major League Baseball Returns To Montreal?As I looked through the sports headlines to find a good topic for today's blog, I came across three options

1. Tiger Woods back playing golf as he shot a 69 today in the first round of the British Open at Royal Liverpool.
2. The Toronto Maple Leafs being the sole NHL team on Forbes Magazine's richest professional sports franchise list.
3. The possibility that Montreal getting a Major League Baseball franchise.

I decided to go with the third option because it provides much more of an argument or debate.

Here's is my take on this issue.  Although I would love to see another Major League Baseball franchise in Canada, I'm a bit skeptical.

When the Expos were in Montreal ten years ago, the franchise struggled to fill the seats in Olympic Stadium (known as the Big O).  I remember back in late eighties, seeing all the empty seats as I watched a Expo home games on television.

I also remember how the franchise was rejected when the board of directors asked for government funding for a new stadium.

A study, produced recently by the Montreal Expo Project in collaboration with the Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal, Earnest and Young concluded a new team would require $355 million.  $500 million for a new facility.  Good Luck!

Somehow I can't see the Quebec Provincial Government giving out sums of money like this, not knowing if the city of Montreal is feasible market for professional baseball.

Yes I am aware that those two exhibition games between the Toronto Blue Jays and New York Mets in March drew a total of 96,350 fans.  However, this doesn't mean the city is going to support a baseball team of their own.

The Expos final home game on September 29, 2004, drew 31,395 fans.  The franchise relocated to Washington D.C. after the 2004 regular season was over.

Speaking of relocating, there is also a rumor circling around that the Tampa Bays Rays wants to move their franchise elsewhere because of poor attendance.  However, even that rumor is far fetch as the franchise is negotiating a deal with the City of Tampa for a new stadium.

Keep dreaming Montreal.  

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10/18/14   |   huskerdoug2009   |   2796 respect

Maybe teams like the Rays and others that don't show up for their games even when their good would want to move to Montreal.  Even the Braves don't get sell outs very often.

7/20/14   |   jaysinw   |   5054 respect

There is no reason why Montreal could not hold a team, as long as they have onwers whose goal is to win. Put a team on the field which is contending and you will see fans in the stands look at the Pirates whose attendance has been in the bottom since 1999 and they are still around. MLB should not only put one in Montreal but put one in Puerto Rico. 

7/18/14   |   ML31   |   3678 respect

The fact is, Montreal got screwed by MLB.   Plain and simple.  MLB decided that Montreal would not work and did everything in their power to make it so.  Never mind the team had good attendance though the 80's and even into the 90's.  Better than even what some would call more "traditional" MLB markets.  The '94 strike really was the catalyst to the death of MLB in Montreal.  Here was the first really good Expo team in years.  And then they had their post season ripped away.  They didn't even get to call the division theirs.  MLB took that away too by not officially declaring anyone a winner that year.   (Yet somehow still managed to name MVP's and Cy Young winners...  Season stats even still counted.  Go figure)   MLB's economic system did not allow for low income teams like the Expos to be able to hold on to their abundant home grown talent.  Players from Randy Johnson, Larry Walker, Dennis Martinez, and many others all left. Jeff Loria, who had become the majority owner between 1999 and 2002.  He had no interest whatsoever in making the team work in Montreal.  In fact, he never really wanted to own the Expos to begin with.  He just wanted a foot in the door to own a higher profile MLB team.  Montreal reluctantly put a stadium deal together but Loria, who had no interest in a stadium in Montreal, balked at the deal and demanded better terms.  Montreal refused to play ball after that.  Fans stayed away from Olympic Stadium in droves.  Why?  Because of the owner and the economic system the game ran under.   For some idiot reason, MLB allowed Loria to buy the Marlins and then took over the Expos themselves.  That was the end of that. 

The fact is, a new Expos franchise could THRIVE in Montreal so long as they have a committed owner and a decent ball park.   IF Montreal had that, they would do better than at least 4 current MLB teams.  Probably more.