After a source told Presse Canadienne that a Montreal investor group had met MLB conditions to bring pro baseball back to the city, members of the said investment group said on the record there’s no deal on the horizon.
The Presse Canadienne anonymous source said the investor group had raised money, received support from two levels of government, identified a ballpark site and prepared preliminary drawings. After meeting the conditions set forth by MLB, it was then a waiting game to land an expansion team or lure an existing team.
Now, there are many people who say MLB expansion is inevitable once the Oakland and Tampa Bay ballpark situations are resolved, as 32 teams is an optimal number for scheduling and league balance. MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred has spoken fondly of MLB returning to Montreal. Tens of thousands of fans will descend on Olympic Stadium this weekend to see the Toronto Blue Jays and Pittsburgh Pirates square off in two exhibition games. And Montreal would be a natural to land a team.
But, according to Cirque du Soleil Chairman Mitch Garber (involved in the investor group) and Mayor Denis Coderre (a big booster of Montreal’s return to MLB), nothing is imminent, and there’s a long way to go before MLB returns to Montreal. Coderre was pretty blunt:
Article Frédéric Daigle sur retour Expos, source a tenté de vous rouler dans la farine….rien de réglé. Tout chemine bien mais pas entente
— DenisCoderre (@DenisCoderre) March 29, 2017
But Garber went on Mitch Melnick’s show on TSN 690 Radio Wednesday evening to clear up the picture. While acknowledging that a group of investors he is part of is very interested, he said talk of agreements on financial support from two levels of government and potential locations and designs for a stadium were inaccurate.
“There’s this great desire to have Major League Baseball in Montreal,” Garber said. “But it’s not as advanced as this story would make it sound.”
Patience, Expos fans, patience.
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