The Jays are open to playing a game in Montreal

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Nothing is ever going to touch hockey in Canada or even come within sight of it, but it does seem like the Blue Jays, by virtue of being Canada’s only baseball team, have a pretty good opportunity to grow the fan base. To date they’ve made some tentative inroads into Quebec via TV and radio broadcasts, but they’re at least open to something a bit more grand:

Toronto Blue Jays president Paul Beeston says he’s open to the idea of realizing the dreams of some Quebec fans and bringing his team to Montreal’s Olympic Stadium for a visit. “Certainly we would like to play a game in Montreal or in Quebec at some point in time,” Beeston told The Canadian Press. “I think it would be a terrific idea.”

Sounds rather hypothetical as opposed to something they’re actually considering, but it would be a cool idea. Baseball in Montreal didn’t die a natural death. It was murdered. I’d love to see it get another chance, even if it’s only temporary.

Sandy Koufax to be honored with statue at Dodger Stadium

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Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times reports that Hall of Fame pitcher Sandy Koufax will be honored with a statue at Dodger Stadium, expected to be unveiled in 2020. Dodger Stadium will be undergoing major renovations, expected to cost around $100 million, after the season. Koufax’s statue will go in a new entertainment plaza beyond center field. The current statue of Jackie Robinson will be moved into the same area.

Koufax, 83, had a relatively brief career, pitching parts of 12 seasons in the majors, but they were incredible. He was a seven-time All-Star who won the National League Cy Young Award three times (1963, ’65-66) and the NL Most Valuable Player Award once (’63). He contributed greatly to the ’63 and ’65 championship teams and authored four no-hitters, including a perfect game in ’65.

Koufax was also influential in other ways. As Shaikin notes, Koufax refused to pitch Game 1 of the 1965 World Series to observe Yom Kippur. It was an act that would attract national attention and turn Koufax into an American Jewish icon.

Ahead of the 1966 season, Koufax and Don Drysdale banded together to negotiate against the Dodgers, who were trying to pit the pitchers against each other. They sat out spring training, deciding to use their newfound free time to sign  on to the movie Warning Shot. Several weeks later, the Dodgers relented, agreeing to pay Koufax $125,000 and Drysdale $110,000, which was then a lot of money for a baseball player. It would be just a few years later that Curt Flood would challenge the reserve clause. Koufax, Drysdale, and Flood helped the MLB Players Association, founded in 1966, gain traction under the leadership of Marvin Miller.