Montreal hasn’t had a professional baseball team since 2004, but there are signs that the Expos could be making a return to Major League Baseball.
Montreal mayor Denis Coderre is set to meet with MLB commissioner Rob Manfred at the end of this month, with the goal of starting a conversation that could lead to professional baseball’s return to Quebec. The meeting between Coderre and Manfred follows a second successful exhibition series involving Canada’s only current MLB team, the Toronto Blue Jays, which drew large crowds to Olympic Stadium where the Expos used to play.
The Expos joined the MLB in 1969 but moved to Washington D.C. and became the Nationals in 2004 due to poor attendance and front office issues. Coderre believes that the strong showing during the exhibition series proves that there’s great interest in seeing professional baseball back in Montreal.
“We will show Mr. Manfred our love for the sport,” said Coderre. “I don’t want to negotiate openly, but we’ll clearly talk about Montreal.”
Despite the meeting being a big first step, it’s merely a conversation. The MLB hasn’t outwardly expressed a desire to expand or relocate, making it incredibly premature to debate on the real likelihood of the Expos returning to Montreal.
Manfred has been supportive of Montreal in the past and there’s the tireless work of Expos Nation, a group dedicated to bringing professional baseball back to the province. With a lack of urgency on both sides, the meeting seems more of a gauge for Manfred to decide if Montreal is a real candidate for expansion down the road.
Matthew Ross, president and founder of Expos Nation, believes expansion would be the most likely route for Montreal, placing his timeline for a return to professional baseball at about five to seven years away.