For Denis Coderre, the project for the return of Expos and Major League Baseball in Montreal is not dead and has never been the affair of one man.
“In any case, I will do everything to make them come back. This is not a person who will make the difference, said the outgoing mayor when taking stock of the last four years on Wednesday at Montreal City Hall. But let’s be clear: we have to believe it. We must invest, we must be present, we must want it. In the end, the way we proceed or build is one thing, but the Mayor of Montreal must also be a promoter. If you believe in it, you have to put on your own. ”
Mr. Coderre was defeated in the mayoral race by Valérie Plante. During the campaign, she never said she was against a return from baseball. What she opposes is to invest the money of Montrealers in the construction of a stadium without consulting them beforehand.
“The dream is still alive,” said the outgoing mayor. I think Montreal is a multi-sport city and baseball is one of those. If you really want to bring back the Expos, the mayor will have to get involved. It’s not just a matter of saying that you will hold a referendum. She said she liked “Our Z’Amours”? OK, now you have to show it. ”
These comments echo those made by a person familiar with the issue at Major Baseball, who told Canadian Press that “there is a huge difference between not being opposed to the project and making a commitment to do what is necessary. to make it a reality “.
“(Major Baseball Commissioner) Rob Manfred is a charming guy,” said Coderre. I spoke with several team owners in the United States. We must also thank the Blue Jays, who played a big role. We must also ensure that we respond in large numbers to the next two preparatory games in March. We established our baseball policy: for me, it has always been a bottom-up project. What we have demonstrated since Day 1 is that it is a matter of passion, that it is good for our young people and that it is another development tool (…) like culture. Sport and culture are powerful tools for developing a sense of community.
“I’m sure I’ll help. I will not sit and do nothing. ”
Bronfman’s first comments
In addition, Stephen Bronfman offered his first comments related to the election of Ms. Plante and her plan to bring back baseball in Montreal on Tuesday at 98.5 FM.
“We have something concrete that goes beyond politics,” he said in an e-mail exchange. Sport unites us and is able to go through all these trials. As the late Ted Tevan (sports reporter) said, we are a champion city and have been without a baseball club for too long.
“We always count on the help of Warren Cromartie, Denis Coderre (even today as a simple baseball fan), other local interests and the MLB itself. We are proud Montrealers and hope to one day bring the Expos back to Montreal. ”
“We’ve come a long way in the last five years and this project will move forward,” Cromartie told The Canadian Press from Tokyo on Monday. As for the financing of the stadium, I’m not worried either. There are many ways to do it and we have not indicated how we intend to do it. I am sure we can find common ground. In baseball, you have to constantly make adjustments. It’s not different in this case. It’s nothing to discourage us. ”
Garber advocates patience
Another player in the return of Expos, businessman Mitch Garber recalled that the group of potential investors did not plan to lead this project to the detriment of Montrealers.
“I said it and I say it again: we want baseball, but we do not want the conditions of the return of the Expos to make Montrealers feel uncomfortable,” he told 98.5 FM. For now, let’s see if a franchise is available, study the numbers and then we’ll see. ”