Bringing baseball back to Montreal?


Montreal will see spring training games, will they get a full-time team as well?

RaysExpos

When it comes to an actual team the answer to that question is still very much up in the air,  but there will be baseball in Montreal come March.

According to FOX Sports’ Jon Morosi there will be at least one spring training game played in Montreal in 2015.

Whether or not there will be more than just the one between the Toronto Blue Jays and Cincinnati Reds remains unclear but as Morosi said an “official announcement is expected soon.”

The Expos never won a World Series Championship before moving back across the border to the United States to become the Washington Nationals but they came oh so close in 1994. The team appeared to be headed to the Fall Classic when a strike crippled the season ending it and cancelling the World Series.

The people in Montreal may still be looking for that long lost title. Not that they will get one out of a spring training game or two but they will get a little reprieve of their last 10 seasons without baseball.

Photo Credit: Brian Blanco/Getty Images

Photo Credit: Brian Blanco/Getty Images

There is however a chance that Montreal may get their team back, or a team back, whether they are called the Expos or not. The recent turmoil that has rocked Tampa Bay has the team’s owner threatening to move the team. The main destination having been mentioned? Montreal, of course.

First the Los Angeles Dodgers hired former Rays’ GM Andrew Friedman to be their new president of baseball operations. Then manager Joe Maddon, who as recently as two weeks ago talked of signing an extention with the Rays, announced Friday that he was opting out of his contract with the Rays and looking for opportunities out there.

Getty Images

Getty Images

As it turned out there was an option in Maddon’s contract that vested when Friedman left and he was able to opt out of the final year of his time with the Rays. No general manager, who basically built the team? Now no manager? For a long time (almost as long as in Oakland) no new stadium and dwindling crowds? What’s an owner to do?

According to Bill Madden of the New York Daily News, Rays owner Stuart Sternberg

“has been frustrated in his efforts to get out of Tropicana Field in St. Pete and move to a new stadium in Tampa, but there is growing belief that the economically depressed Tampa Bay area won’t support the Rays no matter where they play. And according to sources, Sternberg has had discussions with wealthy Wall Street associates about moving the Rays to Montreal, which has been without a major-league franchise since the Expos were transferred to Washington in 2005.”

Moving the team might be a great idea to baseball-starved Montreal. The Expos, even in their worst times, drew much larger crowds on a regular basis. The Expos drew over two million fans four different times when they were winning. The Rays only drew that many spectators once, in their inaugural season.

As of now this appears to be Sternberg’s threat so the team can somehow contain the chaos, rebuild their management and get the nod on a new stadium.

However, if they fail to rebuild over the offseason and/or there is no new news regarding a potential stadium then Sternberg’s current threat could easily become a reality and a blessing from the baseball gods to the people of Montreal.