Could baseball return to Montreal?

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The Montreal Gazette is reporting that one of Canada’s great cities could once again be a home for a Major League Baseball team as long as a new stadium is built in the downtown area. A study was performed by Ernst and Young and the law firm BCF, which found that it would cost Montreal $525 million to acquire a new team and $500 million to build a new stadium.

More on the study from the Gazette:

The study said, based on the information collected and a “conservative analysis,” the return of baseball would be financially viable under “a set of realistic assumptions.” They include “a modest but competitive payroll, average ticket prices in line with league averages, and a local broadcasting rights deal in line with other similar MLB markets.”

The study suggested a 36,000 seat open-air stadium in the downtown area and cites Minnesota’s Target Field as a model.

Montreal lost the Expos after the 2004 season. The franchise moved to Washington, D.C. and became the Nationals, suffering the same run of mediocrity the Expos went through during much of the 1970’s through the 1990’s. However, they broke a 21-year playoff drought in 2012, winning the NL East behind first-round pick phenoms Bryce Harper and Stephen Strasburg. They finished in second place behind the Braves in 2013.

Obviously, this is far from becoming a reality, but that doesn’t mean we can’t speculate which teams would be a good fit. A’s it cold in here or just me?

Battle of the Aces: Max Scherzer takes on Clayton Kershaw tonight

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I hope you don’t have any plans tonight at around 10PM Eastern time, because that’s when we get a pitching matchup for the ages as Max Scherzer will take on Clayton Kershaw at Dodger Stadium. When they meet tonight it will be the first time two pitchers with three or more Cy Young Awards have matched up since 2006. That year, and in 2005 and 2000, Roger Clemens faced Greg Maddux. In 2001 Clemens faced Pedro Martinez.

Kershaw won his hardware in 2011, 2013 and 2014, with an MVP award in 2014 to boot. Scherzer collected trophies in 2013, 2016 and 2017. Each has started the 2018 season in Cy Young form. Kershaw is 1-2, but that record is due to poor run support. He has a 1.73 ERA and has struck out 31 batters and has walked only three in 26 innings. Scherzer is 3-1 with a 1.33 ERA and a whopping 38 strikeouts to only 4 walks in 27 innings.

This will be the third time that Kershaw and Scherzer faced each other if you include the playoffs. The first meeting was a decade ago when both were rookies. They most recently faced off in Game 1 of the 2016 NLDS, way back when Scherzer only had one Cy Young Award to his credit. Kershaw beat Scherzer in that playoff game and the Dodgers beat Scherzer’s teams in the two regular season matchups, with neither guy setting the world on fire. As so often happens in baseball, the hype hasn’t been matched by reality.

Still, there’s always a chance it will. And even if, in the end, this turns into a slugfest, the first couple of innings should at least give us some hope of something good. I’ll be watching.