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Year-end countdown: #3, Montreal and MLB

Montreal ExposBetween now and New Year’s Eve we’ll run down the top ten stories covered on Ballpark Digest in 2014, determined by page views. At #3: efforts to bring Major League Baseball back to Montreal.

The Montreal Expos were beloved by many in baseball for one simple reason: an Expos games was like nothing else in Major League Baseball. Whether it be the French-English-language PA announcements, the funky uniforms or the insane talent on the field, the Expos attracted a die-hard fan base that wasn’t enough, sadly, to keep the team in Canada.

Since the move of the Expos to Washington, various efforts have been made to bring MLB back to Montreal. This year saw a serious effort from former Expo Warren Cromartie and local business leaders, who set forth to lay out the financial case for Montreal. With both Oakland and Tampa Bay facing serious ballpark issues, Montreal was pushed by many as a logical alternative. Today’s Montreal, is a much different city than it was when the Expos moved to Washington, D.C.: the economic both locally and nationally is in good shape, the corporate scene is much improved, and Montreal is a thriving international hub. At the 2013 Winter Meetings agent Scott Boras argued that MLB should return to Montreal sooner rather than later, prompted by a study from Ernst & Young indicating how MLB could work in Montreal, using the Minnesota Twins and the financing of Target Field as an example.

That effort may have yielded some fruit: there was some buzz about the Rays ending up north of the border of a new Tampa Bay ballpark didn’t work out. It’s hard to say how serious the buzz is, but the fact that MLB types are looking back favorably on the best Montreal years says a lot.

As noted, we’re running down the top 10 stories of 2014 on Ballpark Digest. Previously:

#4, Simmons Field restorations
#5, a unique ballpark proposal
#6, New Oakland A’s ballpark
#7, Petco Park upgrades
#8, new Charlotte/El Paso ballparks
#9, ugly Christmas unis
#10, Fifth Third Ballpark fire

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