This weekend, it was Cafardo again calling Montreal a "viable option" for Rays relocation if Tampa Bay doesn't build the team a new stadium:
[T]he Montreal business community is much different than it was in the past. There are large telecom companies and financial institutions with big money. The city would need a new stadium, but Montreal baseball has a very strong grass-roots movement to explore the possibility.(Ask Peter Gammons why MLB would want Montreal to be a viable option again)
As one AL executive pointed out recently, “Other cities — Washington D.C. and Seattle — have received second chances for franchises. It appears that Montreal would be a viable second-chance city given the financial opportunity there now."
"There have always been great baseball fans there. They never had a venue that was desirable for baseball and the economics never allowed them to keep the great talent they developed over the years.”There's may be a great appetite for baseball in Montreal, but what baseball economics does this AL executive think have changed in the last decade? Revenue sharing may have increased, but the gap between the "haves" and "have-nots" hasn't really changed, meaning the Expos may not be able to hang on to top talent any better than they did before.
Let's not also forget the fact that the Rays are locked into their current contract until 2027, barring negotiations to amend that contract.
Montreal has strong population numbers going for it (3.8 million in the metro vs 2.8 million in Tampa Bay). But when you include surrounding regions where the Rays have grown roots and draw TV audience (Sarasota, Lakeland, Ft. Myers, Orlando), West/Central Florida actually has the same number of people as all of Quebec, which is much bigger.
Finally, Montreal sympathizer Jonah Keri puts its best - Montreal is only viable if someone is going to pay for a stadium themselves:
@Savino36 Montreal needs an owner, a billion dollars, and MLB approval. Front office barely relevant.
— Jonah Keri (@jonahkeri) October 20, 2013
MLB's not returning to Montreal unless someone decides to commit - and lose - an enormous amount of money to make it happen.