The Marlins: A Modest Proposal

So. Time to take Marlins Park and: A) Disassemble it; B) Crate it; C) Sell It; D) Ship it to San Jose (or Oakland, or Portland, or San Bernardino, Austin/San Antonio/Round Rock, or – wherever).

Now that the Miami experiment is over (as forecast here a year ago next week, and reiterated here last June) and Hanley Ramirez, Heath Bell, Jose Reyes, Mark Buehrle, Josh Johnson, and the merely arbitration-eligible Emilio Bonifacio have either been offloaded in A Going-Out-Of-Business-Sale (or are about to be), the Marlins are officially the Montreal Expos of the 2010’s and baseball is unofficially dead in Florida.

Notice I did not write South Florida. All of it. Rays’ owner Stu Sternberg was already less than sanguine about getting significant scratch from the state and local governments for a new ballpark that is absolutely essential to his survival in Tampa/St. Petersburg. If he had any hopes left after the disastrously low crowds for the free ballpark the good burghers of Florida gave Jeffrey Loria, they have to be gone now and he has to be looking elsewhere.

There are all sorts of other implications if the Reyes/Buehrle/Johnson deal to Toronto is completed as advertised. Obviously, this revivifies a Toronto franchise that was already showing signs of being on the upswing last year and as far back as 2010-11. It sure knocks the price down for whoever is the Jays’ first choice for the manager’s job. It might make John Farrell a little remorseful. And it buries the Yankees in the American League East; there would now be at least three other teams in the division with more talent than New York. The prospects of Alex Rodriguez going to the lame duck Miami franchise (first reported blah blah blah here and blah blah blah ) might actually have increased, on the premise that Loria and MLB have to do something to make it at least look like they’re trying to field a product worthy of 2013 big league ticket prices).

But the biggest long-term implications are fairly simple: the franchise carousel, all but quiet since the upheaval of the 1953-72 era, will begin to spin again.

Miami has a slight chance of survival (that stadium is standing, and a mess of prospects can suddenly win a division – ask the Oakland A’s about that) but Tampa Bay is gone. One would assume that at the latest the season of 2020 opens without a Florida team in the majors.

Where do the Rays (and probably the Marlins) move?

Here are the top U.S. Metropolitan Areas without MLB teams ranked by population, on 2011 estimates drawn from the Official 2010 United States Census:

12. Riverside/San Bernardino/Ontario CA          4,304,997

23. Portland OR/Vancouver WA                            2,262,605

24. San Antonio/New Braunfels TX                      2,194,927

25. Sacramento/Roseville CA                                  2,176,235

26. Orlando/Daytona Beach FL                             2,171,360

30. Las Vegas                                                               1,969,975

31. San Jose                                                                  1,865,450

32. Columbus OH                                                        1,858,464

33. Charlotte/Gastonia NC                                       1,795,472

34. Austin/Round Rock TX                                      1,783,519

35. Indianapolis                                                          1,778,568

36. Virginia Beach/Norfolk                                     1,679,894

37. Nashville                                                                 1,617,142

Nashville you say? Virginia Beach? Hahahahahahaha?

Not so fast. Every metropolitan area on this list is larger than Milwaukee and Riverside, Portland, San Antonio and Sacramento are bigger than Cincinnati. There are certain practacalities here. All of Southern California is Dodger/Angel territory and the Magic Johnson group that just spent Eleventy Billion on the Dodgers isn’t going to give up claim on anything. Though Texas is a big place don’t tell that to the Rangers and Astros, who claim both the San Antonio and Austin zones. Columbus is Cleveland’s territory (unless it’s Cincinnati’s), Orlando would have at least some of the same problems as Tampa/St. Pete, and the Giants and Athletics are in their fifth different decade of arguing over San Jose.

So the Rays go to Portland and the Marlins to Sacramento? Not so fast.

You know who’d be 15th on the list – right between Phoenix and Seattle – if we made it of not American metropolitan areas but North American?


15. Montreal, Quebec, Canada. Regional population: 3,824,221.

But wait, didn’t things go very badly in Montreal before? They certainly did, but not because of the city nor its love of baseball. Corrupt government and underfunded ownership and a betrayed fan base – all of them saddled with the greatest white elephant in the history of North American sports construction, Olympic Stadium. In every full season between 1979 and 1983 – even in that XXL Airplane Hangar – Les Expos drew at least 2,102,173 fans a year.

The peak total – 2,320,651 in 1983 – edged out the Cardinals for second place in National League attendance, and was just about a million more than the Mets drew in New York. It was about then that stuff started falling from the roof of the tribute to provincial graft, and star players started falling off the Expos’ roster. But make no mistake about it: Montreal supported baseball. As late as 1997 the Expos still brought in a million-and-a-half fans (more than the Mets or the Giants).

If all that could not be done in the ’90s and ’00s could be put together – a downtown stadium with government support, plus a well-run franchise making a long-term commitment – baseball’s second try in Montreal could be a triumph. And consider if it were the Rays fleeing north. Not only would Montreal get that well-run franchise, but it would suddenly find itself in a division with rivals from hated cities like Boston and New York…

…and Toronto.

Montreal and Toronto in the same division. Genius, I tells ya. Genius.

It’s a win-win. Unless you’re one of those few Florida baseball fans.

Oh yeah, I left out a fifth thing to do about the Marlins and Marlins Park: E) Ship Giancarlo Stanton separately. And while you’re at it, you might as well start wrapping uber-prospect Christian Yelich too.



  1. Michael Green

    Let’s have more fun. If the Marlins moved to Montreal. the owner might be … Jeffrey Loria? And the Marlins’ announcer is Ford Frick Award winner Dave Van Horne, formerly of .. the Expos. C’est magnifique!

  2. justme2

    Or, with MLB going to 2 15 team leagues (with Astros moving to AL) you could contract the two Florida teams and eliminate the need for season-round interleague play.

    • Jonesy

      You have no idea what you’re talking about. I live in south Florida and gave been to many many games this season. Please I’m not attacking you, simply being as blunt and honest as possible.

      You may be blind. The stadium is literally in little Havana. You park in people’s drive ways & yards. The majority of the games attendees are Latino. There are bilingual signs literally EVERYWHERE. Announcements made in both languages most of the time. Approximately 75% of music played during down time is Latin. They have special concerts almost weekly after games, majority of the talent/acts being Latino. Majority of the ballparks employees are of Latin decent and are also bilingual.

      What more do you need to appease the hometown crowd??

      • michaelira

        We must have been in different ballparks. I heard zero announcements in Spanish, and didn’t see all those bilingual signs you mention. There were Latinos there of course, but the crowd was predominantly white bread. Not attacking you, but that’s what I saw, and I was consciously looking for Spanish influence. Yes, the park is in Little Havana, which made my observations surprising to me.

  3. Michaelira

    When I saw the Marlins play this summer, I was struck by the absence of any acknowledgment of the huge Latino fan base in south Florida. I saw no bilingual signs, no bilingual programs/souvenirs, and heard no bilingual announcements. It would seem that one of the advantages of a downtown Miami location would be its proximity to large numbers of Latinos, who the last time I checked, were often avid baseball fans. I wondered if the Marlins were afraid of the appearance of catering to Latino fans for fear of alienating the Anglo fan base. Big problem.

    • Jason Castro

      I honestly don’t understand it when people think this is a bilingual country. It’s not. We speak English. We order “hot dogs” not “perrito caliente”. You can appreciate the Latino fan base as much as you want, but why would a ballpark, in America, put signs up in anything other than English? That’s just silly.

      • michaelira

        No Jason, it’s not silly, it recognizes the reality of life in south Florida. It’s good for business and demonstrates to Spanish speakers that they are appreciated and that the Marlins give a damn about having them as fans and customers. Of course if it’s offensive to too many Republicans, then it might cost the Marlins business. That’s why the marketeers make the big bucks, and considering the scarcity or absence of anything Spanish at Marlins Park, perhaps the marketeers have already spoken.

  4. Charlene

    Are you saying that I could have my Winnipeg Jets back AND my Montreal Expos back? I would die of happiness, Keith. Of pure happiness.

  5. Allyn

    If I had godlike powers and could move the Florida teams…

    The Marlins go to Montreal. The city has a National League history. Rebrand them as the Expos. With the exception of the names on the Ring of Honor at Nationals Park, the Nats don’t claim their Expos history.

    The Rays go to the north side of Philadelphia, possibly even across the river in New Jersey. The market is big enough to support two teams in the different leagues.

  6. Mary Caruso

    You make the analysis fun. I do think it a great idea to move the Rays to Montreal. But they would probably have to adjust their name. There couldn’t be Toronto Blue Jays and Montreal Rays could there? Would they revert to Expos or create a new named franchise? I’d like to see them play in the division and give the ‘Yankers’ a run for their money. A triumph for our friends to the north and I’m sure they would show their appreciation a lot more.

  7. Emerson Burkett

    Glad to see you back stirring the pot. For what it’s worth, I think Montreal would be a great place to move the Rays; but please change the name, I always thought it a dumb name.
    GO GIANTS!!!!!!!

  8. BG

    Nice article. Norfolk/Virginia Beach was “in the running” for the Nationals in 2004. I use quotes because it was likely nothing more than a leverage move. Would love to see us get something the second time around, but with the Nats and Orioles just a few hours away, I seriously doubt it, and Montreal makes a lot of sense. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to cry about our “always a bridesmaid” status.

  9. apm

    Kinda doubt San Antonio will throw themselves at either team after the Marlins spurned them back in the ’00’s. Not sure if a new giant stadium in town in what Mayor Castro is looking for in a legacy before he moves on to bigger and better things.

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  11. Sal

    Tampa and Miami are totally different markets , The Rays would have better attendance if the stadium was in a better location like downtown Tampa. I don’t understand what Miami’s problems have to do with Tampa.

    • Bob

      Sal, you’re dreaming if you think moving the stadium 20 miles east will have any effect on attendance. First, it would be a nightmare to get to a downtown Tampa stadium. The Trop in St Petersburg is accessible on both side by interstate. Most importantly, there is no money nor political will ( especially in light of the Miami fiasco) to build a stadium anywhere in Tampa. This area just needs to support the team where it now plays. The fans in most cities would immediately trade their commute for the 30 -45 minute drive from Tampa by interstate to St Petersburg and the Trop. What do you say Philly, Boston, Chigago fans????
      You’d better go back to sleep Sal, cause you’re dreaming.

  12. Joe

    Baseball can work in Miami. It can work anywhere. All you need is dedicated ownership, a decent ballpark and a solid team that can win games. Had this season been extremely successful for the Marlins, my guess would be that Marlins Park attendance would trend up and ownership wouldn’t trade everyone so fast. But then again, Loria’s team policy is to not give “no trade clauses” to ANYONE on the team. My guess that Pujols and CJ Wilson were held back from signing in Miami because they saw this coming.

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  14. Sergio

    And of course in your map Mexico is not part of North America. The rest of the world would disagree. Oh, Keith, you’re so smart, but so dumb sometimes.

  15. Gary Walters

    I have an honest question…in the 1980’s, the City of Buffalo designed and built a brand new ballpark with the dream of securing a major league franchise someday. When it opened in April 1988, Pilot Field (as it was known then, now as Coca Cola Field) had attendance over 1 million for a few years in a row. Yet, the Lords of Baseball said because of the size of the city, Buffalo would not get a franchise, based on their perception of the Buffalo television market.

    Being on the border with Canada, the Lords of Baseball refused to consider the Toronto-Niagara-Southern Ontario Region as part of the geographical makeup for the Buffalo market. To somewhat prove my point, the Buffalo Bills of the NFL fan base includes the ‘Golden Horseshoe’ I mentioned, plus out to Syracuse, NY, and play one preseason and regular season game in Toronto; loyal fans stream from Canada, not only for the Bills, but also to attend Buffalo Sabres NHL Games. If both areas, based on television coverage were combined, we most likely would be the 5th biggest in television markets.

    So why can’t Buffalo be considered for the transfer of the Miami franchise? The closest National League team is Pittsburgh, the closest American League team is Toronto, followed by Cleveland, and you do have a loyal NY Yankee and Boston Red Sox group also.

    • Jeffrey Alan Rayner

      I went to a game there a few years ago. Is it, architecturally, expandable? Western New York, unfortunately, has the marketing blemish of being Blue Jay territory.

    • Jeffrey Alan Rayner

      Pilot Field is a sublime facility [as I responded, apparently, on a different thread]. It is gorgeous, with perfect sight-lines. Not sure about the Western New York market for baseball, as I am two years too late to this conversation…

  16. vp19

    Castigating south Florida fans for having Wayne Huizenga and Jeffrey Loria as owners (fans had no say in the matter of who runs the team) is comparable to blasting Washington fans for having the misfortune of owners named Calvin Griffith and Bob Short, as the success of the 2012 Nationals proves. Give the Marlins good, stable ownership that looks to the long term (something they’ve never had in their weird 20-year history, despite two World Series titles) and time to win fans back — as was the case in D.C., all sorts of wounds have to be healed — and Miami will be a fine baseball market. It won’t be done overnight, however.

    As for the Jays, this trade was an out-and-out heist, further proof that the era of the New York and Boston evil empires running roughshod over the rest of the AL East is over for good (though ESPN and Fox would still be loath to admit it).

  17. vp19

    “And of course in your map Mexico is not part of North America.”

    For now, Mexico is off the table because of the rampant drug-related violence there. Another Wilson Ramos hostage situation would be on the horizon.

    MLB probably craves a Latin American franchise, but conditions would have to be right, centering on stability (which Mexico doesn’t have) and economic viability (which San Juan currently lacks). If a post-Castro Cuba can meet MLB criteria on both counts, don’t be surprised to see the revival of the Havana Sugar Kings come 2030.

  18. SamYanksGiantsMets

    Keith has the Yankees buried in the division every year. File this proposal under “Beating Dead Horse.” But Jeffrey Loria would eat Irish babies if he thought it would save him money.

  19. Stephen

    Keith, I know this post is about hypothetically moving the Marlins and possibly the Rays but….

    Like someone noted above, just get rid of the Rays and Marlins franchises and stay at 28 teams, two leagues of 14 teams with two-seven team divisions each like the early 1990’s. You can have inter-league play like we have had for the past 15 years or just get rid of it altogether. Florida already hosts half of the MLB teams for spring training so they’ll still have some MLB down there.

    Also, I’m from the San Antonio area and they were talking several months ago about upgrading their minor league team, San Antonio Missions, to Triple A from Double A (yes SA doesn’t even have a Triple A team!) and they want to build a new stadium near downtown but have no room to build it. Unless they knocked down the Alamodome which might be very costly. Of course knocking down that brand new stadium in Miami would cost a lot too.

  20. Sriram

    The thing with Keith’s view of the market here is that it would be nice to see the Marlins with ownership that has faith in management and fans. Huizenga had his fire sale after the 1997 title, which was stupid since the revenue bounce takes place the year AFTER the title not during.

  21. JarryParkBleacherBum

    Oh please, oh please, oh please.

    Baseball gods, whether your turning a blind eye to the carpetbaggers and schemers was due to our hubris or whether you really are fickle and capricious, I beg of you to hear our plea!

    If we buid a real stadium downtown, please… send us back a real team, without Lorias involved. We won’t squander this chance.

  22. Nik Iafrancesco

    Baseball could work in Montreal again. The canadian dollar isn’t worth 63 cents US anymore, and there are enough potential deep pockets to fund a team in Quebec. On top of all that, the team is more popular than ever. Kids everywhere wear their Expos caps and there was a huge turnout for the 81 NL East Champions reunion in June. All that’s missing is a ballpark, although the Big O can still function as a stadium for a handful of seasons. Just move the Rays already!

  23. aesk47

    This is cruel, getting my hopes up like that. I dream of an Expos game, in a dowtown stadium, on a hot July day, at least once a week, during summer time. But i’d rather we’d stay in the National League, for tradition’s sake.

  24. Jacques Landry

    As a proud Montrealer and ex-baseball fan (haven’t watched a game since the Expos left), I can tell you one thing for certain: if baseball comes back to Montréal with any whiff, shred, or speck of dust with Jeffrey Loria’s fingerprints on it, it will be burned to the ground. Any self-respecting Montréal baseball fan hates that man with a passion, because of the way he bled, diminished and “carpetbagged” the Expos.

    • Nik Iafrancesco

      Some people will remain bitter, but I think the anger over what happened has passed somewhat, and now people just genuinely miss baseball. Plus there’s a whole new generation of baseball fans that don’t really remember the whole political situation surrounding why the team left. These kids are all Jays fan by default, and I’m sure they’d love to be able to go take in an Expos game, just like their parents warmly remember.

      • The Dude

        No Montreal baseball fan has forgotten what Loria and his cronies did to Montreal. I to have not watched a ball game since the ‘Spos left. You are also incorrect in saying today’s kids are Jays fans by default, that couldn’t be futher from the truth. I see more and more people wearing Expos caps than from any other baseball team. If by any chance Montreal gets its team back and does not have Loria or any person ever involved with him, I would jump at the chance to watch a game and leave the stadium singing Valkery, Valkera, Valkery, Valker ha ha ha ha ha…

  25. James

    If KO’s prediction is true, this would be the second franchise that Loria has destroyed. One would have to wonder if maybe it’s Loria and not the fans.
    For me being an Expos fan turned Rays fan, moving the Rays to Montreal would be kinda neat. Bringing Loria’s Marlins to Montreal would turn off a lot of potential Expos fans for what he did in the 2000s.

  26. Mark

    “Oh yeah, I left out a fifth thing to do about the Marlins and Marlins Park: E) Ship Giancarlo Stanton separately. And while you’re at it, you might as well start wrapping uber-prospect Christian Yelich too.”

    I’m curious to why they would have to do such a thing. Sure, Stanton may be pissed, but other teams aren’t entitled to these players. They’re under contract with the Marlins.

    • nikiaf

      But you’re ignoring the fact that the team absolutely needs a new stadium, and neither government nor ownership seems too keen to foot the bill. That is what is working against the Rays staying in Tampa.

      • mike

        1. what makes that a “fact”? As bad as the trop is… the team does not “absolutely need a new stadium”. did you not read the article? if they are making a profit, running a winning franchise, and have growing ratings, with a very big tv deal on the horizon, what does it matter if they top out at 20k a game?
        2. it is much more likely that, if the rays move from the trop, that they move to tampa, not the carolinas or vegas. moving a professional sports franchise is not as easy as moving from your dorm room to an off campus apt.
        3. for the past 5 years, it would be virtually IMPOSSIBLE to find any region that would pay for a stadium w/ govt monies. the miami type fleecing wont happen again, or at least not in a long time. now that the recovery is happening, local govt is starting to tip toe around the “use agreement” that the rays have. eventually MLB will get involved when its convenient for Bud and the rest of the good ole boys.

        Point is, the fact that KO says the rays are unequivocally gone, based on a single marlins trade, is good for a catchy blog post, but very far from the truth.

    • Bob

      Mike, you are obviously not from the Tampa St Pete area since you do not know that the Rays actually play in St Petersburg. As a result, it appears you have drunk the Kool aid served up by the national press about how “awful” the Trop is. Quite frankly, I’ve been in many stadiums throughout the country, and while it may seem romantic to watch a game at Fenway, the seats are awful, the views are obstructed, parking is outrageous and the trough urinals are horrendous. At the Trop it never rains, the seats are comfortable, the sight lines are OK, the beer is cold and the beach is nearby. What’s the problem??? Baseball just hasn’t been here for 100 years like it has traditional baseball cities. No one is going to build a stadium anywhere and the MLBPA will never agree to contraction. Next subject??

      • mike

        Bob, i think you should read closer.
        “it is much more likely that, if the rays move from the trop, that they move to tampa”.
        that sentence should suggest to you that i understand the trop is NOT in tampa.
        PS – I have field box seats at the trop and can touch the turf. i’m closer to field than the visiting players. I know what the Trop is like better than anyone who is reading this article. It is what it is. Some people think its garbage. Some like yourself think its just dandy. It probably falls somewhere in between.

      • Bob

        Mike…..agreed on both points…I’m at the trop for about half the season too. Its far from perfect, but its all there’s going to be for a while.

  27. Juan

    The Marlins wouldn’t be able to move for at least 35 years per their agreement with the city of Miami. The Rays, I think also have a similar agreement with St. Petersburg.

  28. Bill

    I can’t see the Marlins leaving Miami for at least another 20 years. No way MLB is going to allow the precedent of a team getting a new stadium and then leaving a few years later. It would undermine the ability of any other MLB to get taxpayer dollars for new digs. My guess is they’ll push Loiria to sell the team to someone willing to clean up his mess and put a competitive team on the field.

  29. oldschoolfool

    Once again an owner has conned the taxpayers into building him a new ballpark with the promise of fielding a competitive team only to revert to his old ways once the facility is built. It’s happened most recently in Milwaukee and Pittsburgh where they allow stars to leave for the greener pastures the new park was supposed to guarantee. I’m a resident of Tampa, and this mess in Miami will kill any chance of a stadium for the Rays. It’s probably just as well because like in South Florida, I don’t think much would change anyway

  30. jeffrey kay

    Great read! love to see the EXPOS back in Montreal!. You are so correct if it was not for Jeffrey Loria and David Sampson his stepson…the EXPOS may still be here in Montreal. Again you are corret, the city,province and federal levels of government were also HEAVILY to blame… for blaming the fans- NO WAY….you’d be nuts to have spent a dime on seeing a game aftwr what they did from 1990-2003….related to selling off players on a regular basis.

  31. Morris Lebidine

    The only move that would have any effect is moving Loria out of major league baseball after he wrecked 2 franchises, Also Keith the election was not the same wiith out you on TV

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  33. Peter Galanopoulos

    I really want the Expos to return but not in the American League, it’s got to be in the National. I just hate the DH, can’t stand that kind of baseball, it’s so boring.

    • LeBron Samaritain

      Expos in the American League will actually make a lot of sense. Sounds strange to me since I’m still more interested in NL teams, out of habit, but many Expos fans switched their allegiance to the Red Sox in recent years (Boston is closer to Montreal than Toronto). Expos in the AL East against the Sox, the Jays and Yankees, Oh yeah I’d like to see that!
      But we still need a ballpark, and the location downtown is now occupied by stupid condos and a grocery store. A new team would not survive more than 2-3 years in Olympic Stadium.

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  35. Zach

    So he titled this piece “A Modest Proposal.” Like Jonathan Swift’s Modest Proposal. Get the hint, guys. He’s kinda joking.

  36. Peter

    Keith – problem with Montreal, as you allude to, is they have no stadium. They aren’t going back to the Big O, and don’t forget it was Montreal that Jeffrey Loria originally tried to con into paying for a new downtown ballpark, and they balked at it then – why now? The provincial government has been debating public financing for a new hockey arena in Quebec City for a couple of years; if building an arena to bring NHL back to Quebec is even a question, then taxpayer financing for MLB in Montreal just isn’t going to happen. On the other hand, consider Vancouver, which just built a new retractable roof stadium downtown that opened in 2011. Its only 2.5 million people, but much more affluent than Montreal. The city is of similar size to Portland, just with a publicly-owned park (convertible for baseball) already.

    • Matt

      Don’t think Vancouver is going to happen. Convertible or not, BC Place is a big, multi-purpose facility would be nearly as bad as Olympic Stadium for baseball. Also, Vancouver is half the size of Montreal. Unlike Montreal, it doesn’t have Ottawa just down the road with another 1.5 million people. I believe Vancouver was the first Canadian city to lose its triple A team. Not exactly a sure bet.

  37. Kevin

    Buck Showalter had the best idea on Baseball Tonight before he took the O’s job: Eliminate the two franchises altogether. Cut back to 28 teams and have a dispersal draft. For next year’s schedule, go back to four divisions, with each team playing each other team 6 times. (27 opponents x 6 games, 3 in each venue per matchup.)

  38. epozoku

    Riverside isn’t really viable-if you move them there you’re basically saying that you’re willing to kill baseball in San Diego. It’s a struggle enough for tv dollars in SoCal as it is, let’s leave well enough alone with 3 teams all doing pretty well considering.

    3 teams….you know what area doesn’t have 3 teams….New York! I mean, if the Bay Area is supporting 2 franchises on about 4M people, can’t NY support 3 with 12M and the entire surrounding area?

  39. Merritt Clifton

    Having often reported about Les Expos while living in Quebec, 1977-1990, I remember well that the heyday of the franchise closely coincided with the heyday of the Quebec independence movement, led by the Parti Quebecois under the late premier Rene Levesque, who loved baseball. With the Parti Quebecois now back in power, I would not be surprised if efforts were not made to reassure people anxious about the future of Quebec by luring major league baseball back. Since a team name is ideally supposed to both represent the cultural environment and scare the hell out of the opposition, I recommend that the Devil Rays be translocated to Montreal and renamed the Quebecois Independistes — and yes, they should play in Parc Jackie Robinson.

  40. john MTL

    The Expos in the American League East would guarantee success; Yankee, RedSox and Blue Jay fans would flock to Montreal to see their teams- all 3 cities are 6 hours away- how far is Tampa? In addition Baseball revenue from TV and Internet has allowed for revenue sharing to be more equitable, Canadian dollar is now at par, Montreal population is nearly 4 million, it makes sense; everyone in Montreal- including a future owner knows they need a new stadium- but Olympic Stadium can be used in the meantime. The stadium is still used for Soccer and Football events and get 50,000 people with no problem. As far as using the name Expos- the logo etc.; all that is property of the Nationals. Even Youpii belongs now to the NHL’s Canadiens!

  41. lemaraudeurnfl

    Please don’t make it sound like its the market’s fault. Loria is mostly to blame, as he was in the destroying the the expos’s last chance of revival. Your plan makes a ton of sense, especially with one economic data that changes everything: when the expos left, the canadian dollar was wporth less than 65 US cents. That meant the expos had to draw 3$ in revenue to pay 2$ in expenses (mostly player salaries). With today’s currencies hovering around parity, all other things beeing equal, that’s an increase of 50% in revenue. Huge.

  42. exshpos69

    Oh, please return a team to Montreal, preferably the Rays to compete against the AL East. A Jackie Robinson Stadium could be constructed close to where the Delormier Downs Stadium was (where JR played) on Delormier Ave. near Notre-Dame St. Big empty lot there as we speak. A team’s name should indeed reflect the cultural heritage of it’s host city. “Quebecois Independistes” is not only grammatically wrong, it reflects a very controversial subject that many would find inappropriate. More historically one might call a potential returning baseball team the “Patriotes de Québec” honouring the memory of the 19th century rebellion. It would honour the history of Quebec and use a name that would irk Boston fans 😉

  43. Benoit Foisy

    I’ve been doing a little research about the EXPOS attendance numbers, I’m not finish yet, but look at the first thing I discovered:

    From 1970 to 1997 incl. the Expos have a better total attendance than… Bud Selig’s team, the Milwaukee Brewers.

    40 222 728 vs. 41 692 504

    Considering all the Expos fans been through (strike, fire sales, owners disputes and so on) I think it is not so bad…

    Montreal a has great baseball fan base and tradition, and those who perpetuate the opposing view are misinformed people, at best, or just plain mythomaniac. Yes, it is about time to debunk the myths.

  44. Ken H

    This will be a interesting ongoing problem because for those of us who love baseball it is a travesty to watch this linger much longer in Florida.
    Sacramento would be a good choice for either team. Portland too.
    Montreal is another good choice based on the population and the chance to do what they did in DC with the Expos/Nationals.

    Out here on the left coast i would like to see the A’s move to San Jose.
    Unpopular, yeah, but realistically speaking the 2 largest cities in the region,
    Enough miles between to create a good regional rivalry and in 20 years it will seem normal, Us older A’s and Giants fans will be takin dirt naps.
    Move the Giants AAA team to Oakland to fill the void there.
    it will work.
    Last, Keith, great to find you keeping those brain cells busy.

  45. Paul

    Keith, understand that Jeffery Loria must have been using Bain Capital as a consultant here. Profits over everything else. Perhaps Loria, with Bain’s advice, will find that he can make an even greater profit by using robots as players and just firing everyone else.

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  47. John Nunez

    Excellent analysis KO ! I am from Montreal, father of 2, and I can confirm that baseball has not been forgotten with little leagues going strong. Nobody forgot the Expos players and legends, such as Gary Carter. We can easely get over the Loria-Samson disaster and rebuild major league baseball here (without Loria of course). By the way, former Expos Warren Cromartie is doing lots of work to bring a MLB franchise here, and the possible next mayor of the city of Montreal has expressed public interest in bringing back the Expos. The Nationals can stay in DC, no problem, and the Rays can come here. They will play at the Big O for a few seasons while we build a new stadium. The AL is even better than the NL, we have already seen all those NL teams (but I will miss the Dodgers). If in the AL, I would be the happiest man to see the new Expos-Rays-whatever you want to call them now – confront the Yankees, the Red Sox, the Jays and even Baltimore which has a great history. Enough with the dirty Mets…thats right Mets fans, we have not forgotten our rivalry and dislike of each other… you proved it to me again when I went to your stadium in April and I was wearing my Expos jersey, I rooted for the Braves that day in the bleachers, hahaha 🙂

    By the way, I also went to the new Miami ballpark this summer to watch the Marlins against Washington, and I found myself rooting for the the Marlins. Strange feelings… None of my love for the Expos has ever been transfered to DC., plus Miami has an awesome ballpark, love the Latino feel there, Little Havana, easy parking, their logo, the pool and the parties after the game. If there is one thing I want from JLoria, its the architectural plans from that stadium to replace the Big O in Montreal! Here in Montreal, more people than ever wear the Expos cap! On veut du baseball chez nous, le plus vite possible, merci!

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  49. redpalaceskyeaglebullbluesox

    I like the idea, Montreal was royally shafted by MLB. Box Marlins Park up, stick some stamps on it and truck it up to Montreal. Then revive the rouge, blanc et bleu of Les Expos, get Le Grand Orange or John Boccabella (sp?) to throw out the first pitch and presto, baseball is back where it belongs, the place where Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier. One caveat, Jeffrey Loria must sell the team to a local group of owners including one of Montreal’s greatest prides and joys, William “I am Canadian” Shatner, recipient of the Governor General’s Lifetime Achievement Award for the Performing Arts in 2011.

  50. Justin Smoaked Cheese

    Need More teams out west. Portland bridges the gap from Bay Area to Seattle. Come on Nike, foot the bill!

  51. Gilles

    Inasmuch as I would like baseball to return to Montreal, I’d hate to see a state-funded stadium being built especially for them. There are many reasons for that.
    First, why do the very same people who bar no holds at criticizing government and government intervention in the name of free enterprise, are invariably the first to insist on government investments in such ventures? The “You take the risk, we’ll keep the profits” attitude may still be a viable business plan in the US, but we’ve been there, and we’ve done that, so thank you. However, if serious, responsible and committed investors want a new stadium, they’re welcome to fund and build it themselves.
    Secondly, all levels of government in Montreal are broke. Flat broke. As in bankrupt. And they will remain so for any foreseeable future. They need the money for essentials like schools, roads, hospitals, bridges or waterworks, let alone paying interests on their phenomenal debt. Thus, in Montreal, billionaire investors are not, and should not be, considered “in need”, even if they plan to bring baseball back for the common good.
    Thirdly, any major infrastructure project based in Montreal will cost much, much more if any level of government in involved. Corruption is everywhere. The cost of infrastructures has been shown to be up to 35% higher here than anywhere else. There is no need to feed that system any more with another white elephant project. And I’m not even touching the issue of what flag they’ll want to paint the city this time around. So, if we want a stadium, it will be much cheaper as a private venture.
    Fourthly, and above all other factors and considerations, what killed Baseball 1.0 in Montreal was greed. Montreal could support a MLB team – and a damn good one at that – but could in no way compete long-term with larger American markets like New York, Atlanta, Los Angeles. There is simply not enough money to be made here, no matter how hard you try. What killed baseball in Montreal was MLB’s lack of consideration for small markets.
    At the time the Expos left, there were talks about a downtown stadium that could potentially rake up some $35M a year for the team. If I remember correctly, that very same year, Alex Rodriguez signed with the Yankees for $19M, Tom Glavine with the Braves for $14M. How were we supposed to pay the rest of the roster with the remaining $2M? At that moment, the Expos, as sad as it may sound, had been chased out of town.

    So, if we’re given a second chance, let’s make sure we don’t get ourselves in the same dead ends as the first time. Hopefully, we will have learned something.

  52. sd

    Yes to Montreal but, why not one Mexico City? An exploding middle class, rabid baseball fans, an untapped gateway to Latin America and still in North America! First year’s draw: maybe 10 million fans! Now you get to add from the rich Latin tradition of baseball. Colors, music, all of it for anyone who’s seen a game in Mexico is creates an experience not son forgotten. Tell me why not, why has MLB been so slow to go down Mexico way?

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  54. Kiko Jones

    Your Yankee bashing is approaching broken clock status: you will eventually be right and will claim as much but in the meantime…

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  56. Gen. Lee

    How about putting the Marlins in Montreal and the Rays to Nashville wouldn’t have to change the divisions much maybe put the Indians in the AL east and Naville in the AL central. Keep Montreal in the NL East.

  57. Peter Galanos

    As a long time Expos fan, it would be great to have baseball back in Montreal, even if it meant to be in the American League with the dreaded DH rule (arghhh) As you can tell, I’m more of a National League type baseball guy but having the Yankees, Red Sox & Blue Jays in Montreal more often than any other team is very interesting. I just wonder if Montreal would be able to compete with the deep pockets of the Yankees & Red Sox. I wouldn’t want 2004 to repeat itself again.

  58. rich valleau

    have seen the marlins since their inception.while the crowds have dwindled, there are still enthusiastic fans.when the dodgers came to town 2 weeks ago, 27,000 showed up for a Monday nite/first day of school..everyone in and around the ballpark were friendly and helpful.. no its not fenway, or Wrigley field.but when you win in south florida, the fans will come.and jose reye and co. have really lit up toronto huh???olberman should join Al-Jazeera now that its in America,

  59. m wubbleya

    I would love to see my beloved Expos back but Montreal is a shadow of itself. Graft and corruption abounds, the separatists are in power and passing laws against the English AND religion, the roads are a mess, health care is poor, and people are still moving out as fast as they can.

  60. Terry

    Montreal is a great baseball city and they don’t need the likes of Loria back. He has to be one of the biggest embarrassments of an owner than baseball has ever had and they had Marge Schott. Get the Rays in there and have MLB pay the tab on Tropicana as reperations for the way MLB decimated the Expos. Montreal is a great sports city. If a team lands back in Montreal, MLB should issue a major apology to the city, its people and its fans. The circus that went on to make Montreal look like a bad baseball city/market was attrocious.

  61. ebraiter

    Baseball did well in the late 80s and early 90s until the scammers Loria & Samson bought the team. They scammed their way [some how] getting the team for peanuts. They then scammed baseball by taking over the Marlins. While they initially did well, look at them now. Nearly last in the last bunch of seasons, some of the lowest attendances [even lower than most Expos seasons at the tail end in Montreal] and then they tried to blackmail the city of Miami to build a new stadium or they will move. [They can’t move with MLB approval.] I am sure King Selig [a guy who hated baseball in Montreal] wouldn’t allow them to move [probably the first thing he did right]. Baseball has to get rid of the Miami ownership. that is first and foremost. While I’d like to see baseball return to Montreal [see ], I doubt it baseball would put a team in Montreal so fast.

  62. Armando

    Tampa to Montreal ? There is already a heated hockey rivalry between Montreal/Toronto/Boston/New York …………..and now add baseball ? OMG OMG OMG

  63. Geoff

    As much as I would love baseball back in Montreal and the Rays would be great despite the dh. Great ownership would help as well as a 97 cent dollar. the sad reality is that Montreal is the next Detroit, it is not doing well. The government will not build a stadium, so unless you can convert the football stadium on the mountain or the new soccer stadium, the team will have no place to play. There are many excellent sites for a stadium notably in the old port area, the blue bonnets area or off the western tip of the island(where they can draw from Ottawa). The fact is Bud Selig wanted Baseball out of Montreal, and he got his way, and until he is gone Baseball will not be back. There is a reason that a city of almost 4 M( with two 1M citys less than 2 hours away) does not have a AAA or AA team. Baseball should try Mexico. That being said committed strong ownership resurrected the football team and made it a powerhouse, and built a strong soccer franchise, but they would have to bring a team and build a stadium. Ideally the Rays play 12 home games in Montreal to test the waters.

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