Montreal Expos fans can relate to the pain, fear and annoyance the people of Oakland are feeling with the threat of losing their Major League Baseball team, or at least Major League Baseball telling the team that if they can’t make a new lease agreement with the city of Oakland, that the team can leave the bay area and find a new city to play in. As a Montrealer, it reminds me of the time when politicians in Portland, Oregon were talking about buying the Expos and moving them to their city. While that ultimately didn’t happen, the team was eventually moved to Washington after the 2004 season.
In late June it was announced that the Oakland A’s had reached a new 10-year lease agreement with the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum Authority to stay in the O.Co Coliseum until 2025. The problem was that the Coliseum Joint Powers Authority were supposed to vote on the agreement, but they haven’t done so yet. By not having the lease signed the team could be in big trouble.
The A’s clearly need a new stadium, and even commissioner Bud Selig has said MLB would be happier if they had a new stadium. For now though the the Coliseum can still be viable as the home of the A’s, although issues of raw sewage backups last season were disgusting.
To speed up the lease agreement, Major League Baseball has now announced that the A’s have every right to leave Oakland any time they want if they can’t get the deal they are looking for. With this news hitting Oakland fans hard and raising many eyebrows in the baseball world, three possible locations have been named by different groups and media outlets. The cities are San Jose who have been trying to get the A’s to relocate in that region for quite some time, but it is said that the San Francisco Giants are ready to veto any kind of move into that territory. There is also San Antonio, Texas which was another location mentioned and the third was, wait for it, Montreal.
Yes that is right Montreal has become one of the places where the A’s could move to if they needed it to. The problem with this pipe-dream is that Montreal doesn’t have a brand new stadium ready for a team, or ground broken for said stadium, or any kind of ownership that would gladly buy the A’s and move them to the Olympic Stadium while the new stadium is being built. It would be really cool, but right now that isn’t happening.
I don’t know if Montreal should be proud or offended by the fact that it seems like Major League Baseball is using the success of the two spring training games earlier this season in Montreal and the fact that they drew almost 100 000 people in two days as ammo against other cities that currently have Major League Baseball teams like Oakland and the Tampa Bay Rays (who are also having issues with a new stadium) showing these places that Montreal is perfectly viable and that if the teams don’t fix their problems soon they could be on the move.
First of all it’s not fair to the people of Oakland and the city itself by using Montreal, or San Antonio as a weapon to get what they want, it’s also not fair to the people of Montreal, by getting their hopes up with the possibility of getting a team in the near future. It’s a sick tactic that was used against Montreal in the past when the Expos were I need of a new stadium and a better owner and unfortunately it didn’t work then.
Only time will tell the fate of the Oakland Athletics, and I honestly hope everything works out for the city of Oakland and that the A’s will be able to stay in Oakland for another 10 years as there is so much history in the city. This year they have a fantastic team that seems set to go all the way this year, especially after adding a couple more solid starting pitchers. Like I said before though, as an Expos fan I know the pain and fear the A’s fans are going through and the best way to deal with it, is to honestly prove to the city and Major League Baseball why the A’s need to stay in Oakland and the best way to do it is go to as many games as you can fill the stadium and enjoy baseball. Maybe if we had done that in Montreal we would still have a team to call our own. Good luck Oakland I hope everything works out.
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