Friday, March 28, 2014

Rays to Montreal? Fat Chance Pt. 2

I've written that Canadian fans hoping the Rays may one day move to Montreal shouldn't hold their breath.  And I'm glad I'm not the only one.

The National Post writes things aren't shaping up very well right now for Montreal:
Since the feasibility report was tabled in December, no billionaires have stepped forward to lend a wealthy public face to the cause. No current major league team is as readily available for relocation as the Expos were 10 years ago. And the city still has that crumbling stadium, and nothing more, to offer a baseball team.

“In the foreseeable future, it is highly unlikely,” said Marc Ganis, a Chicago-based sports consultant familiar with franchise movement. “Baseball failed miserably. And it actually became, in many ways, a real albatross around Major League Baseball’s neck there for a few years, it was such a bad situation.”
There are points in the feasibility report that raise unsettling questions about the best-case future of baseball in Montreal. Although the study ranks Montreal as the 15th largest market in North America, there is the suggestion that it would participate in the league with a small market payroll. Coupled with a desire to be in the AL East would put a new Montreal baseball team in precisely the same position as the Expos held near the end of their run — as a feeder system for the richer teams, unable to retain the talent they had developed. Blue Jays fans also know all too well how difficult it is to compete in the same division as the free-spending Red Sox and Yankees.
Noted economist Andrew Zimbalist added that much of Montreal's previous failure was the negligence of owner Jeffrey Loria, but there doesn't seem to be a lot of financial support right now for a new Montreal stadium.  And, ask Tampa Bay fans - money makes the world go round when you're talking about a new stadium.


  1. 46k for an exhibition. Wow. Maybe the Expos don't need a new billionaire owner. Maybe Sternberg gets sick of 17k showing up to support a first place team. Keeping in mind the public support for a stadium in Tampa Bay is just as bleak if not more so than Montreal, I don't know what would make you feel comfortable about Tampa's situation other than the term of use agreement. Is not like the Trop is any better than the O.

    If nothing else, Montreal has solidified its status as the boogey man for MLB to hold over cities to get them to commit public funds for a new stadium.

    Morosi: Fans prove baseball passion is alive and well in Montreal

  3. For the Expo necrophiliacs - without the product for almost 9 years, not surprising that large crowds showed up.
    Try to spread that kind of "support" over 81 dates, doubt that the large numbers would keep up.
    MLB people - MLB administrators, owners, GM's, player development people, traveling secretaries, equipment managers, players and their families have no interest at all in transferring a franchise out of the US.
    The heat that MLB would have to deal with from local, state and federal politicians for allowing this to happen is part of that disinterest. Ottawa does not have any leverage to force MLB to do anything.
    The only reason for the 2 openings last week was to help the TSN radio station in Montreal that carries the full Jays schedule - 1st time this has happened in Montreal since '05. Rogers is trying to extend the Jays brand more deeply into Quebec, they already have the rest of the country sewn up.
    BTW - Minor League Baseball has allowed at least 6 affiliated franchises to leave Canada during the last dozen years, there is only one left.