I began to record some thoughts for this post into my iPhone as I was sitting in traffic on my way home from Saturday’s game between the Blue Jays and Reds at Olympic Stadium. Here are my thoughts:
Once again, Montrealers responded in great numbers: another 96,000 people attended the games on April 3 and 4. This year was a little different in that lots of buzz had been created over the winter. There was lots of news from St. Petersburg, mostly bad, and lots of news from Montreal, mostly good.
In an interview with the Associated Press, Commissioner Rob Manfred stated that the attendance at the two Spring Training games would be an important litmus test for determining a city’s viability to obtain a MLB franchise. Manfred also stated that the game is looking to expand internationally, namely Canada and Mexico. Canada, you say, Mr. Commissioner?
There are currently no imminent plans for expansion and no team is available for relocation.
“But we have always been realistic,” he said. “At the end of the day, relocation to another market could be the only solution.”
If you are an Expos fan, this statement was like Warren Cromartie snagging that line drive in 1981 clinching the Expos’ first berth into the postseason. More great news came from the mouth of Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre. In a discussion during Friday’s game with Rodger Brulotte and Jacques Doucet, Coderre announced that a meeting has scheduled between himself and Manfred. The meeting will take place in May in New York.
Verbal note in my iPhone: Wonder what Manfred and Coderre will talk about…
Obviously, I don’t have an idea of what will transpire. Their agenda could cover the entire spectrum from a simple meet and greet, all the way to plans for relocation of a team. I thought it would be fun to come up with a couple of scenarios:
Scenario 1 – Mostly good news
Manfred will state that the Rays are not available at the moment, but sight tight Denis. Stu needs to fully play out his options in St Pete. Manfred does not need to see shovels hit the dirt for the new stadium but wants to see with his own eyes an executable plan to make it happen. “Don’t worry Denis, you will get your team in five years, as long as you have a plan for a new baseball stadium.”, Manfred will conclude.
“Ben oui. Ben oui. Inquiètes-toi pas, mon Rob. We have a plan.”, Coderre will confidently state.
Scenario 2 – All great news
Manfred will state that Sternberg is ready to make the call: 2016 will be the Rays’ last season in St. Petersburg. Stu will make the announcement the day after the 2015 World Series. Sternberg has exhausted all options in the Tampa / St. Pete area. Six years of kicking the can down the road for the new stadium is enough. Sternberg will obviously not renew the TV deal in Tampa.
“Denis, we need to double check the legalities, but we need your support to host as many 25 of the Rays’ home games in 2016.”, Manfred will say.
“Ouais, like San Juan in 2004, you mean?”, asks Coderre.
“Denis, right here, right now, tell me we can have a new stadium built in time for the 2019 season. You can play for two seasons in that shithole but no more than that.”, Manfred will demand.
“Tab***! We are getting a team? OK. OK. You already know who the business partners are. We can also make the announcement for a major infrastructure investment that includes the baseball stadium whenever the time is right.”, says a teary-eyed Coderre.
“Salut et merci, mon Rob!”
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