I still tend to think that baseball’s return to Montreal is a pipe dream. That no amount of nostalgia for the Expos (which, if that was so great, why didn’t it support a team back in the day?) and no amount of criticism of the market in, say, Tampa Bay (which, if that is so bad, why are the Rays’ TV ratings so good?) can overcome the basics on the ground.
Those basics: no team is currently for sale or particularly vocal about moving, there are no obvious people with the billion or two required to get the Expos version 2.0 off the ground. And that there is no public appetite to build a ballpark.
None of that is likely to change quickly, but Jeff Blair notes today that at least part of it could be changing, however slowly and slightly. Specifically, the identification of some some money and some interest in a baseball team in Montreal:
That’s why a report on Friday in the Montreal French-language daily La Presse, providing the names of businesses and individuals quietly funding a year-long study into the feasibility of a major-league team in the city, is so interesting . . . The La Presse story identified Stephen Bronfman, son of former Montreal Expos owner Charles Bronfman and executive president of the Bronfman family’s Montreal-based holding firm, Claridge, Inc., Bell Media, Dollarama chief executive officer Larry Rossy and Mitch Garber, head of Caesars Acquisition Company, an online gambling and interactive gaming company worth $1.38 billion.
Interesting. By no means definitive or even necessarily meaningful, but more meaningful than an exhibition game or two and the sale of some Expos gear driven by nostalgic 40 somethings or hipsters.