By Patrick Desnoyers
From the start, I must admit that I firmly believe in the return of Major League Baseball to Montreal. I sincerely believe that Montreal is a basebal town of Major League caliber. Since the last eight years I never stopped believing it, but when Expos left Montreal in 2004, I told myself it would take at least 15 years before seeing MLB Baseball again in Montreal.
On September 2nd, 2012, I was one of those who shared their particular interest into the Montreal Expos in section 240 at Rogers Center while the Blue Jays played against the Tampa Bay Rays. I must admit, it felt good to see I was not the only one who desire an Expos return in Montreal and love firmly the team colors. We were more than 160 of the ExposNation, With Mr Jim Fanning, to show an interest for nos amours. We also, took a moment to salute Tom Foley who used to play for the Montreal Expos and he is now the third base coach for the Rays. He acknowleded us and tip is hat.
From this day, I have a deeper interest for nos amours, and I believe the empty space left in 2004 is starting to be filled and take shape into a concrete dream. I am not the only one. If you visit Facebook and the numerous groups dedicated to baseball in Montreal, you will see that people want baseball in Montreal. The discussions are animated; certain people would want any form of professional baseball in Montreal, but at least baseball. Me, I want nothing less than MLB in Montreal.
Of course, in the discussions, there are some pessimist people who declares they are being realistic. But the arguments against are usually the following: first, would be that the Big O is inappropriate, second, is that there is not enough fans. The Olympic Stadium was more than enough for many years, especially in the 80s and in 1994 when we had a winning team. At a certain time, the team was second in the national league for assistance with an average of 28650 fans per game. That was in 1983 were population of the city itself was just over 1 million people. Now, the population is 1.65 million people. If we take the Metropolitan area of Montreal, the increase from 1983 to 2012 is 2.9 million vs 3.9 million. That’s an increase of 1 million people. There must be at least a few baseball fans in the new people around Montreal.
These same discussions around the return of the Expos in Montreal, that are more frequent recently, are often fuelled by the written press or various sports websites who write about the Expos. Whether it is, Jim Caple of ESPN, who writes that the solution to the “wild card” problem with the League is the expansion of the league with 2 new teams; one of them being Montreal city playing in the AL east. Or, Keith Olbermann, following the adventures of Loria and Samson with the Marlins, who chose Montreal as the most suitable city to receive the rays if they move. Etc… There is also Marc DeFoy, of the Journal de Montreal, who as recently written that Mayor Tremblay was supposed to meet with some business men to discuss a return of an MLB franchise in Montreal if he had not resigned. There is also Warren Cromartie who believes firmly in a return and works in that direction.
It is for all those reasons, the emptiness is getting filled by a new flourishing hope.