Thursday, April 2, 2015

Rob Manfred Wants a Team in Montreal

Rob Manfred is at least entertaining the idea of bringing a major league team back to the great city of Montreal with one big stipulation. Manfred said this week that Montreal would have to bring in a new stadium before getting any chance of having the sport back in the city. Olympic Stadium, the former home of the Montreal Expos, will host two exhibition games this spring between the Toronto Blue Jays and Cincinnati Reds but will have to have “an adequate facility that could support baseball over the long haul” said Manfred.

Major League Baseball is at least entertaining an idea of moving a team to Montreal or expanding the pool of teams there but would be reluctant to do so without a strong commitment from the city. Montreal has been without a major league franchise since the Expos left after the 2004 season for Washington. Montreal did draw 96,350 fans last season in a pair of exhibition games last spring with the New York Mets and the Toronto Blue Jays so the fan base and interest is there despite the Expos not drawing a million fans in any of their final seven seasons. More than 80,000 tickets have already been sold for the 2015 version of the exhibition series in a stadium that only hold 45,757 so another pair of sellouts looks imminent.

While there are no immediate plans to expand Major League Baseball from 30-32 teams the league has to use these exhibition games in non MLB cities as a starting point when they decide which city will get the new team. It may not be today, it may not be in my lifetime and it may not be ever but if MLB does move a team like the Tampa Bay Rays or the Oakland Athletics or if the league does expand to 32 teams it looks like Montreal may be the first and likeliest destination for the league.

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Sorry for the Capatcha... Blame the Russians :)