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Last month, evenko.ca and the Toronto Blue Jays announced the return of two Grapefruit League games at Olympic Stadium to be held on April 3 and 4, 2015. This time the Blue Jays will host Joey Votto and the Cincinnati Reds. It will also be a homecoming for Russell Martin who just signed a long-term contract with the Jays.
Those of us who attended last year’s games were taken on a nostalgic tour of some wonderful moments in Expos history. Friday’s game honored Gary Carter. There were many teary-eyed spectators among the 46,000+ in attendance. On Saturday, it was time to celebrate the 1994 Expos, who had the best record in baseball until the strike ended the season and sent us on a downward spiral until we lost Nos Amours. Even though it was a cold dreary Saturday in March, I had not heard thunderous ovations that loud in the Stadium since the 1979 season.
In the press conference announcing the 2015 games, Paul Beeston spoke of receiving calls asking if it was true that there were 50,000 fans at the game. No one could believe it. “Just look on YouTube”, Beeston quipped. Tweets joked that Walla Walla, WA could get 97,000 fans for two games. We know better. We know that baseball is part of this city’s fabric and that 2014 was no fluke. Cynics have said that we had a team and lost it, so why is this anything more than a trip down memory lane? Again, we know better: we were abandoned by a carpet bagger.
2015 is going to be for real and as Warren Cromartie likes to say, “The world will be watching.” Anything less than last year’s total attendance will light up the Twitterverse with all sorts of nonsense. Let’s avoid that. Sales for the two games appear to be going well. That’s not good enough. Next April, it will be time to show Major League Baseball that Montreal means business. If you have not already purchased your tickets, I urge you to make the effort. Click on the banner at the top of this post and for a mere $22 you will get a great seat. Rest assured that you will have a great time. Ask those who were at the games last year.
What will happen after the games in April? I have no clue. We all know that things are moving fast in Tampa and there is much happening in the background here in Montreal. I can tell you that if the games sell out, Major League Baseball will be on notice. If a city decides that it no longer wants their baseball team, we will be ready. If MLB is looking to expand, we will be ready.
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