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Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Olbermann: The Marlins: A Modest Proposal

Terminal Countdown: The post-millennium disaster is nearer than you think!

But the biggest long-term implications are fairly simple: the franchise carousel, all but quiet since the upheaval of the 1953-72 era, will begin to spin again.

Miami has a slight chance of survival (that stadium is standing, and a mess of prospects can suddenly win a division – ask the Oakland A’s about that) but Tampa Bay is gone. One would assume that at the latest the season of 2020 opens without a Florida team in the majors.

Where do the Rays (and probably the Marlins) move?

...Not only would Montreal get that well-run franchise, but it would suddenly find itself in a division with rivals from hated cities like Boston and New York…

…and Toronto.

Montreal and Toronto in the same division. Genius, I tells ya. Genius.

It’s a win-win. Unless you’re one of those few Florida baseball fans.

Oh yeah, I left out a fifth thing to do about the Marlins and Marlins Park: E) Ship Giancarlo Stanton separately. And while you’re at it, you might as well start wrapping uber-prospect Christian Yelich too.

Repoz Posted: November 14, 2012 at 06:24 AM | 34 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: marlins, montreal

Reader Comments and Retorts

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   1. bookbook Posted: November 14, 2012 at 08:39 AM (#4302205)
Nah, just get rid of Loria. But if a team gies to Canada, maybe Vancouver is the way to go. It would help reduce the crazy travel schedules of Seattle and the other west coast teams--of course, that would involve jerking Houston around, again.
   2. RMc's desperate, often sordid world Posted: November 14, 2012 at 08:48 AM (#4302206)
Move the Marlins to Montreal.
Move the Rays to Montreal.
Move the A's and Astros and Brewers to Montreal.
Move every team, in every sport, that's ever been or ever will be, to Montreal.
Yea! Montreal!
   3. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: November 14, 2012 at 09:11 AM (#4302210)
That would be a bit excessive. I'd rather see a sort of Quebec Major Senior Baseball League set up. With the Drummondville Marlins, the Rouyn-Noranda Astros, the Moncton Mariners, the Val-d'Or Diamants-sur-Dos, etc.
   4. Flynn Posted: November 14, 2012 at 09:12 AM (#4302211)
But wait, didn’t things go very badly in Montreal before? They certainly did, but not because of the city nor its love of baseball. Corrupt government and underfunded ownership and a betrayed fan base – all of them saddled with the greatest white elephant in the history of North American sports construction, Olympic Stadium. In every full season between 1979 and 1983 – even in that XXL Airplane Hangar - Les Expos drew at least 2,102,173 fans a year.

The peak total – 2,320,651 in 1983 – edged out the Cardinals for second place in National League attendance, and was just about a million more than the Mets drew in New York. It was about then that stuff started falling from the roof of the tribute to provincial graft, and star players started falling off the Expos’ roster. But make no mistake about it: Montreal supported baseball. As late as 1997 the Expos still brought in a million-and-a-half fans (more than the Mets or the Giants).


Q.F.T.
   5. depletion Posted: November 14, 2012 at 09:17 AM (#4302212)
Montreal is a happening place. They have the Grand Prix of Canada Formula 1 race downtown. Great transit system. Maple syrup.
   6. TerpNats Posted: November 14, 2012 at 09:24 AM (#4302215)
Habitant yellow pea soup for everybody!
   7. zack Posted: November 14, 2012 at 09:30 AM (#4302218)
Does a Montreal baseball team get Youppi back from le Habs?
   8. SG Posted: November 14, 2012 at 09:31 AM (#4302221)
Montreal is a happening place. They have the Grand Prix of Canada Formula 1 race downtown. Great transit system. Maple syrup.


Not to mention the smoked meat sandwich and poutine.
   9. Rants Mulliniks Posted: November 14, 2012 at 09:54 AM (#4302227)
There is a major corruption/Mafia inquiry going on in Quebec right now, and so far the mayors of Montreal and Laval (large suburb of Quebec City) have resigned. I would love to see Montreal get a team back, the Rays would be perfect.
   10. Rickey! On a blog from 1998. With the candlestick. Posted: November 14, 2012 at 10:02 AM (#4302233)
Does a Montreal baseball team get Youppi back from le Habs?


A little penicillin will clear that up for you.
   11. Flynn Posted: November 14, 2012 at 10:10 AM (#4302240)
Wrong Laval, it's the Montreal suburb's mayor who resigned.

I was in Montreal this summer and it seemed like Expos merchandise was the hottest item in town. Kids everywhere, even some who you think wouldn't be able to remember the glory days, are wearing it. I talked to quite a few former fans, many my age. People definitely miss baseball.

There are a lot of grassroots organizations building support that didn't really exist when the team was around, and 95% of that team's problems had nothing to do with the fans: it was that horrible stadium and a business community that dragged its feet.

I think in the US there is a belief that none of those Frenchies care based on the attendances when the team was in its death spiral and that's just not true.
   12. TomH Posted: November 14, 2012 at 10:12 AM (#4302242)
Yellowknife and Whitehorse would like teams. Maybe Iqaluit, which I understand is the biggest town in Nunavut. St. John’s in Newfieland averages 68 degree highs in July, which aint' much different than Frisco, with less wind, right?
   13. TerpNats Posted: November 14, 2012 at 10:18 AM (#4302246)
And the world is yearning for a team named the Saskatoon Maroons.
   14. fra paolo Posted: November 14, 2012 at 10:39 AM (#4302258)
I can't help but think that the only way you'll get a second baseball team in Canada is if Bell Media wants it to happen.
   15. winnipegwhip Posted: November 14, 2012 at 11:20 AM (#4302281)
I think in the US there is a belief that none of those Frenchies care based on the attendances when the team was in its death spiral and that's just not true.


I agree. There is also a dismissive view of the Expos fanbase which exists throughout Canada. There were many who saw Blue Jays - Expos in the light of Cubs - White Sox or Yankees - Mets. A tv contract could be in a market of over 30 million nationally.
   16. SoSH U at work Posted: November 14, 2012 at 11:26 AM (#4302287)
I'd love to see baseball back in Montreal, but I do think supporters here downplay the legitimate issues the Montreal franchise faced that existed long before Loria got his fiendish hands on the franchise.
   17. steagles Posted: November 14, 2012 at 11:52 AM (#4302316)
Nah, just get rid of Loria. But if a team gies to Canada, maybe Vancouver is the way to go. It would help reduce the crazy travel schedules of Seattle and the other west coast teams--of course, that would involve jerking Houston around, again.
oh, that'd be great. houston goes back to the NL central (with another generous payoff to jim crane, i'm sure) and pittsburgh gets thrown in with their natural rivals in new york, philadelphia, washington (and atlanta).
   18. Flynn Posted: November 14, 2012 at 12:06 PM (#4302334)
I'd love to see baseball back in Montreal, but I do think supporters here downplay the legitimate issues the Montreal franchise faced that existed long before Loria got his fiendish hands on the franchise.


Depends what you think the legitimate issues are - nobody's downplaying the stadium, that's for sure.

The business community failed to step up for the Expos, it's true. But Montreal's economy is better now than it was then, the dollar is better, and the business community got burned - only so many brands can associate themselves with the Canadiens, and minor-league soccer and football don't offer the same exposure.

The media market is larger and more diverse. There are now competitors to the TSN/RDS hegemony in both English and French - Rogers (duh, Jays) in English, TVA (owned by Quebecor) in French. There is a window to exploit it like the way the beer wars was a boon to Canadian sports.

The political situation is overplayed; the glory years of the Expos were during Parti Quebecois rule. Baseball certainly has a far greater tradition in French-Canadian life than soccer or football, which are flourishing now that Montreal doesn't have a team.

Anything else I'm missing? I think those would be the three or four biggest issues that can't be laid at the feet of Claude Brochu or Jeffrey Loria.
   19. SoSH U at work Posted: November 14, 2012 at 12:29 PM (#4302380)
You may be right about the current situation (obviously currency has improved, and that was always a problem). I just think the idea that gets tossed around here that Montreal was only sunk by its stadium and Loria is a fantasy.

They never had any money to pay guys, and the guys really didn't want to play there anyway (language and currency being the big issues). They had terrible media deals (which was attributed to an inability to convert enough of the city/province's residents into baseball fans). They had some stretches of good attendance, but they were generally at the back of the pack. They did have a terrible stadium, though unlike TB's, it didn't strike me as that much more terrible than many of their NL peers.

I'm pretty sure it was, all things considered, the weakest market in the National League during its existence, even before Loria began his reign of destruction. Maybe some or most of those issues have been resolved and would be less of a problem for the next Expos team, but I'll retain a little skepticism until then.

Like I said, I'd love to see baseball return to Montreal someday. It just seems to me that the Montreal supporters I read here look at the franchise's history through some seriously rose-colored glasses.

   20. Bug Selig Posted: November 14, 2012 at 01:08 PM (#4302437)
It just seems to me that the Montreal supporters I read here look at the franchise's history through some seriously rose-colored glasses.


An alien who learned baseball history at this site would think Curtis Pride stood on base, feeling an ovation through his feet for 35 straight years. If the Expos were as beloved then as they seem to be now, they'd still be there.
   21. Ron J2 Posted: November 14, 2012 at 01:28 PM (#4302468)
They never had any money to pay guys


The Montreal ownership group was a stunningly wealthy group. However all they wanted from the team was a guaranteed smallish profit with zero investment.

Well next to zero. They did pay Claude Brochu a bonus to refrain from making cash calls.

And I'm aware of only one player who cited problems with the city for leaving. Bryn Smith. And his complaint was that Doritos weren't available. His wife had to make regular shopping runs down to northern New York state. I've checked, and that problem has been fixed.
   22. RMc's desperate, often sordid world Posted: November 14, 2012 at 04:31 PM (#4302722)
A well-run baseball team would be successful in Montreal, just like a well-run hockey team would've been successful in Atlanta. But it wasn't, and it wasn't.
   23. Flynn Posted: November 14, 2012 at 07:48 PM (#4302947)
The funny thing is Bryn Smith came back for one of the Expos reunions they've had recently and proclaimed Montreal the best city he ever played in. So I guess he figured out the grass wasn't always greener on the other side.

Plus Ron is right, the world has got smaller. Montreal is definitely a different culture to the rest of the US, but it's not radically different and you get US television and snack foods and such. It's a far cry from the late 80s, when Michael Farber wrote his SI article on the difficulties the Expos and Nordiques had in getting players to come to Quebec (the Habs, being hockey royalty, were insulated from this). The wives of Nordiques would break down crying because there was no English culture at ALL in Quebec City and they were bored senseless. The Internet's done changed that, plus a lot more Quebecers speak English now.

I don't know if the Big O was as objectively bad as Cleveland Stadium, but I think it is as disliked as Cleveland Stadium or the Trop or Candlestick. The debt, the roof that never worked, it's terrible sightlines for baseball and so on.
   24. nick swisher hygiene Posted: November 14, 2012 at 10:20 PM (#4303025)
24--yeah, but you could get in really cheap and move around pretty much at will...
   25. TerpNats Posted: November 14, 2012 at 11:16 PM (#4303054)
I saw two games at the Big O in 1998, and it was so gray and cavernous that when I walked around the concourse, I fully expected to find Susan Alexander Kane working on jigsaw puzzles.
   26. DJS and the Infinite Sadness Posted: November 14, 2012 at 11:50 PM (#4303071)
And I'm aware of only one player who cited problems with the city for leaving. Bryn Smith. And his complaint was that Doritos weren't available. His wife had to make regular shopping runs down to northern New York state. I've checked, and that problem has been fixed.

Wow, you really couldn't get Doritos in Montreal 20 years ago? That's crazy! When you hear someone talk about something like that, you'd think they were referring to the 1840s or something.
   27. smileyy Posted: November 15, 2012 at 12:22 AM (#4303093)
Well, Bryn Smith pitched in MON from 81-89, so we're talking more like 25-30 years ago. No Doritos in Montreal in the early 80s? I can believe it. #holycraptimepasses
   28. Jack Carter, calling Beleaguered Castle Posted: November 15, 2012 at 01:06 AM (#4303130)
I don't know if the Big O was as objectively bad as Cleveland Stadium, but I think it is as disliked as Cleveland Stadium or the Trop or Candlestick. The debt, the roof that never worked, it's terrible sightlines for baseball and so on.
It was certainly no worse than Shea, and was a lot easier to get to.

Any US citizen who can't handle Montreal can't handle life. It's like any mid-size US city but with a touch of what young ballplayers would consider the exotic (topless haircuts, fer instance, and Royales avec frommage) and, as we all know, world class strip clubs.

Oh, and #### Doritos. They taste like discharge, and their commercials suck.
   29. Sunday silence Posted: November 15, 2012 at 02:23 AM (#4303154)
cause you know. What good is a bag of reefer without Doritos?
   30. bookbook Posted: November 15, 2012 at 02:31 AM (#4303156)
I'm pretty sure the war of 1812 was fought over access to Doritos.
   31. jingoist Posted: November 15, 2012 at 03:50 AM (#4303165)
And the War of 2012 will be fought over access to reefer and double-filled Oreos!

American ballparks are missing the chance to make a killing selling smoked meat sandwiches; not sure about the poutine though.
   32. Dog on the sidewalk Posted: November 15, 2012 at 04:08 AM (#4303166)
Oh, and #### Doritos. They taste like discharge, and their commercials suck.

Fair enough, assuming you're talking about red Doritos (nacho cheese flavor). However, I'm pretty sure that blue Doritos (cool ranch) are divinely inspired.

I'm moving to Canada part-time in the near future, and limiting myself to the southeast. Anyone have any input to offer on Toronto vs Montreal?
   33. boteman is not here 'til October Posted: November 15, 2012 at 04:18 AM (#4303168)
Word has it that Mariners and Rockies concessionaires are increasing their orders for Doritos for the upcoming baseball season.
   34. boteman is not here 'til October Posted: November 15, 2012 at 04:22 AM (#4303169)
I'm moving to Canada part-time in the near future, and limiting myself to the southeast. Anyone have any input to offer on Toronto vs Montreal?

I can't speak to Montreal, other than that on our final family trip we whisked through it on the highway at breakneck speed.

I find Toronto to be clean, friendly, easy to get around, a good diversity of diversions, and generally a heck of a nice place to be. But there's that pesky 3 day long Summertime. I could never get over that if I lived there.

edit: when I was last in Toronto in the late 1990s I did see this scrawled on a utility pole: "Speak French or die". I don't know if Jeff Franceououeour had anything to do with, though. Funny seeing that in Toronto and not Montreal?

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