I don’t want to get too far ahead of myself on this because it sounds as though it’s merely in the feasibility planning stage at best, and the Jays really have nothing to lose by letting it slip that they’re considering the idea of having an exhibition game or deux dans la belle province.
But according to Paul Beeston:
Certainly we would like to play a game in Montreal or in Quebec at some point in time. I think it would be a terrific idea. We actually have a Montreal-born general manager whose family is still there, whose roots are in Montreal so it would be like him taking his team home. Montreal’s a great baseball city as we all know. Was there a more lively stadium in sports than Montreal in the early ’80s? I don’t think so.
As much as this would be for the Blue Jays to further their ties with the good people of Montreal, the first thing that comes to mind is the image of a rowdy VIA Rail train en route from Toronto to Montreal filled with Blue Jays fans who love the only other city in Canada worth talking about.
I can’t really imagine a scenario where this wouldn’t work out. While attendance for the second series of the season has been less than thrilling for the Blue Jays, it should be noted that evidenced by the success of Opening Weekend, Toronto fans love an event. Even if the reception in Montreal to a Jays exhibition game isn’t as warm as the team would like, I can easily imagine more than a cadre of Toronto baseball fans willing to spend a weekend in Montreal to watch baseball.
Then again, maybe I’m being optimistic, because I also feel confident that the good people of Montreal would be supportive of such an event. It’s been a while, but from what I’ve heard recently from baseball fans in Montreal, the bitter taste left by the Expos’ unfortunate exit is finally starting to wash away, and there’s evidence to support this.
In addition to more Jays games being broadcast on French speaking radio (c’est bien), hometown boy Alex Anthopoulos is a regular guest on the sports radio circuit in the city where he’s just as comfortable speaking en francais as he is en anglais.
Anyone worried about ill will between Expos and Jays fans, allow me to be the first to apologize for the extreme lack of balls in the Jays organization at the time when they joined with 28 other teams in voting in favour of moving the organization from Montreal to Washington. It’s stupid. Really, really stupid. But hopefully, the past can be the past. And I’m certain that I’m not the only Jays fan who would love the opportunity to make it up to you with the first of many beers at a baseball game next year.