The Toronto Blue Jays and the New York Mets played a playoff like game last night at Olympic Stadium. 46,000 plus watched Ricardo Nanita, an 11 year Minor League veteran, drive home Muneori Kawasaki with a base hit up the middle in the bottom of the ninth inning. This was a spring training game that had a playoff like atmosphere.
I wouldn’t have told the fans that packed the stadium that last bit of information. This mini two game Spring Training set will hopefully send a message to Major League Baseball for the City of Montreal and their passionate fan base. It is a simple message: Bring back the Expos! Major League Baseball relocated the Expos to Washington in after the 2004 season. There were a number of contributing factors and I will not bore you with all of them however I will focus on a few that led to the team’s relocation.
The 1994 season
That was the year the Expos were going to the World Series. Almost seven games ahead of the Braves in the NL East and the 1994 season came to a halt. It came to a halt due to a labour stoppage between the owners and the players. The Montreal fans couldn’t forgive baseball after this — the ownership team lost an abundance of money that season as well. So many that key players couldn’t be retained.
Larry Walker was off to Colorado to play for the Rockies. The player movement then increased from there. Fan support dwindled when Marquis Grissom went to the Atlanta Braves and Moises Alou (The Mangers son) went to the Florida Marlins. Those two players went on to win a World Series with those clubs.
The Loria Era
Jefferey Loria, the New York art dealer, took ownership of the team in 1999. Loria “tried” to get a deal in place to get a new downtown stadium built but couldn’t agree to a deal. In 2001 to make matters worse, John Henry sold the Marlins to Loria so he could by the Red Sox. Leaving Major League Baseball to purchase and run the Expos. The owners tried to contract the Expos and Twins but there were two owners who were against the contraction.
So What Now?
The Expos need a great ownership backing and money for a new stadium in the downtown. Follow that up with a TV deal from TSN and you may get yourself a major league team back. Let’s not forget Bud Selig will be retiring after this year. If the Rays attendance does not get better the Expos and maybe David Price could be coming to Montreal. This weekend has shown someone in the MLB offices that
Montreal wants a team back.