It may take another four years for Montreal to get a Major League Baseball team.
Major League Baseball suffered its first loss of the 2017-2018 season on Sunday when Valerie Plante was elected mayor of Montreal. Plante is not against Major League Baseball setting up shop in Montreal again but there is a matter of whoever owns the Montreal Expos or Major League Baseball itself being able to get public money out of the city. On the campaign trail Plante said she wanted to get low income housing built, expand the city’s public transportation and if she was elected put the baseball stadium public funding question before voters during the next citywide election in 2021. Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred and a host of others have been talking about an eventual return to Montreal but there has never been a timetable in place. Plante’s election could establish a timetable, at least for a vote but four years in politics is a long time.
Montreal seems to be better suited for a Major League Baseball team than it was when the Expos franchise left after the 2004 season if you listen to Manfred and others although it is not clear why the talkers feel that way. There is no suitable stadium, no one knows what kind of TV money would be available and if there is enough corporate money available. Montreal’s corporate loonies go first to the NHL Canadiens. Followed by an MLS franchise, a CFL team, a Formula 1 race, minor league and junior hockey. There are the circumstances surrounding the departure of the Expos. Major League Baseball seemingly gave the city no help in trying to keep the team in town. In 2002, Florida owner John Henry took over the Boston Red Sox and Expos owner Jeffrey Loria who struck out in his bid to get a Montreal stadium took over Florida leaving the Expos ownerless. The team was up for sale and eventually moved. The Expos saga continues.
Rob Manfred is pushing for a Montreal team.