The Montreal Expos ended in 2004 and 15 Major League Baseball seasons have now come and gone without a team in the city. The Expos left a void in Montreal that hasn’t been filled by an expansion baseball franchise. Despite the city crying out for a team, MLB’s head offices have not been forthcoming with a new franchise and right now, it doesn’t look likely that the league ever will place a team back in The City of Saints; or does it? The MLB playoffs were a common destination for the Expos in the 1980s and baseball fans can use this bonus to wager on their favourite team during the postseason.
Nearly a generation of Montreal residents has grown up without the Expos. Although the Toronto Blue Jays play spring training games in Montreal each year to large crowds, fans have been left without a permanent baseball team to support. However, that could change in the future.
The loss of baseball
Montreal was home to the Expos from 1976 to 2004. For 28 years, the team existed in Montreal and it never felt like it could end. Yet, looking back on the Expos’ history, it is hard to believe they were in Montreal for fewer than three decades.
The Expos relocated to Washington DC and rechristened themselves as the Washington Nationals. They have already been in the American capital for more than half of their time in Montreal.
Since the 2004 departure of the Expos, Montreal has sought a new baseball team. However, MLB has not introduced a new expansion team and it may be unwilling to add any new franchises in the coming years.
One area in which MLB has focused is growing interest in baseball outside of North America. Baseball game series have been held in England and Australia in recent years as the league copies the NFL, NBA, and NHL in taking the sport abroad.
The return of baseball
In the summer of 2019, Montreal fans got excited about the potential return of baseball when news of the potential relocation of the Tampa Bay Rays. The franchise has been trying to get a new stadium built in Tampa but has thus far been rebuked by the city.
Rays’ owner Stu Sternberg indicated he would consider moving the team to Montreal for half of the baseball season in the future to draw more fans to games. The team would play half its home games in Montreal and the other half in Tampa. But the Rays could be set for a more permanent move to Canada.
Tampa Bay qualified for the 2019 MLB postseason and prospective Montreal owner Stephen Bronfman attended the Rays’ game against the Oakland A’s. Fans were left angry that Bronfman was given tickets to the game by Sternberg as a potential part-time or full-time move to Montreal comes into focus.
Bronfman wants to build a new baseball stadium in Montreal which could very well bring the Tampa Bay Rays to the city. A Rays part-time move to Montreal may seem silly for a new stadium to be built but if the venue gets the go-ahead, they could move permanently to the city and the Expos could be reborn.
Baseball fans in Montreal should have sympathy for Rays fans. However, many long-time Montreal baseball fans will be excited to have a team back in the city once more.