Mar 29, 2014; Montreal, Quebec, CAN; Fans with banners supporting the return of the Montreal Expos during the game between the New York Mets and the Toronto Blue Jays at Olympic Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports
4. An Amazing Year For Baseball in Montreal
Never in a million years did I expect to see what I saw in 2014. Two games filling Olympic Stadium to the brim. A buzz around the city getting baseball back like never before.
Ten years later, baseball was re-born in the city. Or, maybe more correctly, its death in the city was greatly exaggerated.
When I first heard of the Montreal Baseball Project, I was skeptical. I thought Warren Cromartie was a little crazy for thinking that he could get baseball back in the city – as much as I believed in the city and loved baseball.
However, when the Toronto Blue Jays announced that they would play two games at Olympic Stadium, a new wave of emotions hit Montreal. People I never knew even liked baseball were talking to me about it. It was 10 years after the Expos started their final season in Montreal and twenty years after the strike ended the 1994 season and the dreams of Montrealers.
The attendance for the two games was 96,350. Considering these were two exhibition games at regular season prices far higher than any Expos tickets were priced, there’s no way you wouldn’t call this a success.
This year, the Blue Jays will return to face the Cincinnati Reds. It was expected that one Canadian – Reds first baseman Joey Votto would play but as it turns out, the Jays signed Montreal-raised Russell Martin who played his baseball in NDG growing up.
That will surely give a nice boost to ticket sales, which already are doing very well. You can’t get a pair of tickets in the top two categories for either game, and the best pair for the Saturday game is already in the 400 level.
Baseball is no longer a pipe dream. It’s – in my mind – no longer matter a question of if, but when.
I still don’t think it’s imminent, but I would say in the next 10-15 years we will have a baseball team back in Montreal full-time.
Next: No. 3: The Run The City Needed