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Major League Baseball Appears to Be Ready to Return to Montreal


Montreal Is Only Waiting for a Call from Major League Baseball

A group of investors lead by Stephen Bronfman wants to bring professional baseball back to Montreal. From the sidelines of a Quebec baseball charity event, Bronfman said the only thing they are waiting for is a call from MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred.

“You know, we did our homework, which is what the MLB asked us to do. We were discreet about it. When I say there was good and bad about yesterday’s leaked news, it’s because we don’t know what the league is going to decide. It’s not in our hands, it’s in the MLB’s hands,” Bronfman said. “What’s in our hands is being ready to present a viable product when we’ll receive the call. And we’re ready.”

The Commissioner had previously established requirements for returning a team to Montreal: a viable financial package, government support, a site and plans for a stadium.

A source told the Canadian Press that these conditions have all been met by Bronfman’s group

The money is there and the support of two of the three levels of government has been acquired. The group also has a few sites and no fewer than five stadium plans for the project.

The group is so ready that Bronfman says if MLB should contact them in the coming days, weeks, or months for whatever reason, the project can be set in motion.

“Of course. We’ll do it. We’ll get it done.” 

Last year, Stephen Bronfman and Mitch Garber publicly unveiled their commitment to this project. Bronfman had said then that it was too early to begin the financial arrangement. Twelve months later, it seems that it is now done.

Oakland and Tampa Bay’s Stadium Issues Complicating the Process

Bronfman and Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre co-signed a letter to the 30 MLB teams and Commissioner Manfred in the fall of 2015. This was intended to show Montreal’s interest in finding place for Montreal in the select group.

Last year Commissioner Manfred admitted that he would like to expand the league to 32 clubs. This would facilitate making of the league’s schedule easier. Presumably this would also restructure the playoffs, possibly eliminating the “play-in” wildcard game. Manfred also indicated that before thinking of an expansion, it was necessary to first ratify a new collective agreement with the Association of Players (done last December). The stadium situation in Oakland and Tampa Bay would also need to be settled. Those two issues, as well as a growing stadium problem in Arizona, are still very much in flux.

In Tampa, Rays owner Stuart Sternberg said last week that his two preferred sites were not available. The search for a possible new site, which he hoped to be completed by August, will not be completed before the year’s end.

As for the Montreal stadium, Bronfman reminded everyone that work wouldn’t start as long as the new team hadn’t been confirmed. The team would start its new life at the Olympic Stadium, as previously planned. They would move into their new home upon completion of the construction.

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