Why it makes sense for Montreal to host regular season MLB games in 2016

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Earlier today, François Cormier tweeted that Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre will be making a baseball related announcement this coming Friday September 18.  This motivated me to publish my first blog post in over five months.  Merci François!

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The safe money says that Coderre will be announcing that the Blue Jays will once again be playing two Grapefruit League games on the eve of Opening Day 2016.  I don’t know about any of you, but,  have been there and done that… twice!  I am done with shelling out $64 for tickets, nine-dollar beers, and another five bucks for inedible hot dogs, in the name of meaningless games.  If this happens to be Friday’s good news, OK fine.  However,  I will leave someone else the chance to buy the 12 tickets that I did in each of the last two years.

What I am really hoping is that the announcement will have to do with Montreal hosting regular season baseball games in early April.  Are there hurdles to this happening?  Certainly!  Getting the Big O up to MLB code is the most compelling one.  But we are Montrealers and we have gone this far in the journey to get our team back.  We got this!

It would make perfect sense if the announcement has to do with the Cleveland Indians “hosting” the Boston Red Sox for three games from April 4 to 6.  There are many reasons why this would be a plausible scenario.

Attendance in Cleveland has been dismal.  Only the Tampa Bay Rays figure worse.  It’s cold in April on the shores of Lake Erie.  Games can be played indoors in Montreal.

New Englanders travel well.  People from the Boston area and Red Sox Nation love to travel to Montreal.  I would not be surprised to see thousands of them show up for these three games.  Fenway Park always plays to near capacity, even in April, so it will be easier to score tickets for Red Sox games in Montreal.

The Red Sox have a fan base in Montreal.  When we lost the Expos, Montreal baseball fans were looking to adopt a new team.  Many Montrealers began to support the Red Sox in lieu of the Blue Jays.

The weak Canadian dollar vis à vis the greenback obviously means Americans’ tourist dollars will go a lot further.  More money for beer, smoked meat, bagels, and night life.

Having games in Montreal supports Commissioner Manfred’s mandate broaden the game’s profile internationally.   There have been regular season games in Tokyo and Australia.  Montreal?  Pourquoi pas?

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Tito.  By all accounts, Terry Francona will be back as the Indians’ manager.  Tito was a popular player when he played for the Expos.  It’s a shame that his career was cut short due to injuries.  Francona may not receive the same ovation as Raines, Carter, or Dawson, but he was still part of the 1981 NL East Champion team.

Last but not least… MONEY!  Three regular season games played at Olympic Stadium means 120,000 to 150,000 people passing through the turnstiles and that’s like 10 or more games in Cleveland.

Here’s hoping for some really, really good news on Friday.

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