On Thursday afternoon, Montreal mayor Denis Coderre met with MLB commissioner Rob Manfred in New York to discuss the possibility of bring baseball back to the city which lost their team at the end of the 2004 season.
Once the meeting came to a conclusion a few hours later, Coderre flew back to Montreal and joined Dave Kaufman and Dan Spector on “The Exchange” on CJAD 800 AM the following night. During his in studio visit, Coderre mentioned to Kaufman and Spector that he had asked for regular season games to be played in the Big O in 2016.
All this being said, an MLB return to Montreal was the main point that he was trying to urge to Manfred. Coderre himself is a big baseball fan and has been watching Expos baseball from a young age having grown up near the ballpark.
Montreal is a city full of baseball fans who were terribly upset when the organization was shut down at the end of the 2004 season and would love to get a second chance to prove that America’s national pastime is a sport that deserves a great home like Montreal.
One of the biggest factors being put into consideration before relocating a team to Montreal would be a new stadium. Olympic Stadium has had it’s time after having been standing since the mid-1970’s. The main purpose for the stadium was originally to host the 1976 Summer Olympics.
For the past two years, Olympic Stadium has hosted exhibition games at the end of spring training courtesy of Evenko who worked closely with the Blue Jays organization to bring the club to Montreal where they have taken on the Cincinnati Reds and New York Mets both in a two-game series. The Blue Jays won of these games. Yes, they did not count, but more importantly, they both drew large crowds. In 2014, the Big O hosted 46, 121 people to 2 great games of baseball. In 2015, a total of 46, 314 people scattered into the ballpark to watch the Blue Jays play.
In Montreal, an important aspect of baseball fanatics when it comes to the Expos was having played baseball at a young age. For many throughout the city, this is indeed the case, giving them a greater understanding of the game and a stronger urge for baseball to return to Montreal.
The city recently made an $11 M investment to go towards local baseball fields. With these new fields opening up throughout parts of Montreal, there has been a 25% increase in youth baseball registration. While this is may not be a huge factor, it certainly plays a factor in the decision of bringing a team to a city full of not only passionate adults, but passionate kids as well who will stop at nothing to prove that baseball is a sport that belongs in Montreal. Personally, I would love to see baseball make it’s long-awaited return to Montreal.
Last night, I had the opportunity to speak with Dave Kaufman to discuss the state of baseball in Montreal to go along with this story and he brought up some fantastic points as to what could happen next, after having gained information on Friday from mayor Coderre. Here’s what he had to say. Enjoy!