Claude Brochu, the man who dismantled the 1994 Montreal Expos and still blamed by fans as triggering the decline of the franchise, says there’s no way Major League Baseball returns to the city while Bud Selig remains in charge of the game.
Which may not be long: Selig insists he’s stepping down next year to work on other projects.
Still, Brochu’s larger point is that there are some bad feelings in baseball toward the former ownership of the Expos, which he was part of. And these bad feelings will cause MLB officials to block any franchise move to Montreal, no matter how strong the potential ownership group.
Brochu made his comments on local radio in response to the claim by former Expos broadcaster Rodger Brulotte that a local group was looking to bring MLB back to Montreal.
It’s difficult to say how whether Brochu really has his finger on the pulse of baseball or flashing some sour grapes at presiding over the total failure of an MLB franchise, and his cavalier attitude about how TV and media rights have changed the game belies a certain ignorance with how things work today. Besides gaining the team valuable revenues in TV rights, a 24-hour local-sports network like the one in the works from media giant Quebecor is essentially year-round, 24-hour marketing geared directly to baseball’s core demographic. Baseball is a whole lot different than it was in 1991 when Brochu and 12 other investors bought the Expos from Charles Bronfman.
Plus, Brochu may be projecting a bit when it comes to Selig’s attitude toward Montreal; he’s pretty much hated there. Bud and his fellow MLB owners are pragmatists, and if solving a franchise problem and adding to MLB’s bottom line means a move back to Montreal, we can’t see any serious opposition. Money talks.
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