Photo cred – Ryan Remiorz/CP
One team's woes is Montreal's glimmering hope, as recent team changes and funding issues that have befallen the Tampa Bay Rays may mean the return of the Expos. If HardBallTalk's D.J. Short's prediction is correct, the Rays may be moved to Montreal, losing their lame Tampa moniker and becoming the Expos of a new era as early as next year.
Right now, the Tampa Bay Rays aren't in a very good place as a team. Managers Joe Maddon and Andrew Friedman will both be leaving the Rays, and owner Stuart Sternberg (who wants a new stadium) may not get enough funding from the local government to support the team.
All that drama has made a rumour from a while back resurface, that Sternberg will move the Rays to Montreal. Bill Madden quoted certain sources, saying how Sternberg has talked over the MLB migration with "wealthy Wall Street associates," with the promise of fervent Expos fans who will pack the stadium being the main incentive.
Sternberg and his associates aren't wrong to predict a large positive response from baseball fans in Montreal, because if the Expos do officially return, you can bet the stadium will be packed. A nigh decade-long baseball drought will do that to a city.
Expos fans and hopefuls shouldn't get too giddy with glee, as the rumour of the Rays' move could be a clever ploy by Sternberg. Short points out that the Rays' manager may just be using the threat of the team's departure as a means to get funding for a new stadium.
Keep your fingers crossed the new stadium deal doesn't work out for the Rays, because Tampa's loss may mean Montreal's gain. Yes that may be selfish reasoning, yes, but it's also a stance fueled by love for the Expos, and thus justified, so we'll keep on praying to the gods of baseball that things work out in Montreal's favour, and not Tampa's.
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