Watch out Blue Jays, here come the Expos fans!
On July 20th a few hundred-baseball fans from Montreal will enter the Rogers Center in Expos gear. This is the second year in a row that a large group of Expos fans will come to Toronto to show Canada and the baseball world that the Montreal Expos are missed and that “we want our team back”! The Toronto Blue Jays have been kind enough to help this cause by selling tickets for the game at a reasonable price, and thanks to the Montreal Expos facebook group and the website ,Expos Nation train and bus accommodations are also available at a reasonable price.
There has been a bit of hype sweeping the city of Montreal in the past couple of months thanks to Warren Cromartie and the Montreal Baseball Project. Last year, former Montreal Expos Warren Cromartie announced to the world that he felt Montreal was still a baseball town and that he was going to try his best to bring baseball back and hopefully spark MLB interest. Fast-forward to this year and the hype surrounding this idea started to get bigger when Cro announced that his group and the Montreal Board of Trade will do a study to see if Baseball is possible in the City. They will look at financial factors for financing of a new stadium and will look at the public and see if people will come back and buy tickets (I know that I will!).
The idea of bringing a team back to Montreal is getting a positive push from different media outlets in Montreal, Toronto and even areas in the United States like Boston. There are of course a lot to factor such as; you need an owner(s), T.V. rights, sponsorship and the right location with a brand new stadium. The stadium will always be the biggest factor and the big ‘uh-oh’ will not be an option. Olympic Stadium can only be an option if the ground has been broken in Montreal and if maybe a new Stadium is built.
When the Expos had been around, there were ideas and stadium plans for a ballpark right next to the Bell Centre, but it never happened and unfortunately the land was sold and has become condos – but that is not the only location. You do need a stadium downtown, or really close to it, so the east end is not a viable location. There are locations such as the area south of Peel Street where the old planetarium is. Gazette reporter Jack Todd also mentioned that there is land “near the west and south corner of the Bridge and Mills Sts”, which could lead to a waterfront stadium and we know how successful that is in San Francisco. Todd also mentioned another location; “Bonaventure, past the old Autostade and near Mel’s Cinema”. These are all areas that could work if a stadium were to be built, especially if there are bus and metro stops nearby.
There were a few reporters from TSN and the Montreal Gazette and elsewhere, reporting that the Tampa Bay Rays, who are having their own issues with building a new stadium, could be up for sale in the near future and many sports fans, analysts and reporters pointed out if the Expos picked up the Rays they would be in the AL East, which is arguably the hardest division in baseball, but they would also play many games against the Boston Red Sox and the New York Yankees who always draw a crowd and fill stadiums on any given night. The Toronto Blue Jays are also in the AL East, and if Montreal and Toronto were in the same division it could create a natural rivalry just like the Montreal Canadiens and the Toronto Maple Leafs, although it would not be as violent.
If there were an ownership group willing to buy that team and start building a stadium then the team could play 2-3 years in the Big O, but again only if that new stadium is ‘in the bag’. I say “Good luck, Cro”, and everyone involved. I would like to help if it is needed (I know it is a self promoting plug, but I would love to help with this cause!). Hopefully everything works out and that once again in the not so distant future Montreal will have a new team to call Nos Amours.
For now, Montreal and other baseball fans alike wait patiently to find out more news on the report that Cro and his associates are making. For now everyone will relax and enjoy hockey, football, the summer, and wait for the end of the year to come. – Hopefully summer will be long. That brings us back to Expos Nation, who will be coming to Toronto to do their part in the Expos hype wearing Expos gear and enjoying a Blue Jays game. So far 250+ people have reserved their seats and there is still time for more to follow. I think it is a great idea and hope that more people will go. I am even trying to save up money and join the convoy.
To finish off, I invite anyone in Canada and the United States that can access a Major League Baseball team and owns Expos gear hats, shirts etc, to go to a Major League Baseball stadium and wear Expos gear on July 20th. It would be really cool if a considerable amount of baseball fans would do that in different cities and show the MLB world that the Expos might be gone, but they are not forgotten.
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