After the Toronto Blue Jays and Washington Nationals concluded a three game interrelated series last week. Memories of what used to baseball’s most iconic rivalry, for now is at a stand still. Before the Nationals relocated to the Nation’s Capital, this match-up used to be between the only two teams in Canada.
Unfortunately for Canadian baseball fans, Montreal wasn’t able to survive the cultural circumstances that they were faced with. Barred with low attendance and a seemingly far out geographic location, baseball just wasn’t drawing out the same interest level for fans in Montreal that it used to.
With new MLB commissioner Rob Manfred in charge of baseball, a bleak glimpse of optimism has sprinkled through the streets of Montreal. During Bud Selig’s tenure as MLB commissioner from 1992-2015, (1992-1998 he was acting) he did a lot of good things for the game of baseball. In 1992, there was 26 teams, 4 playoff teams and no inter league play. Now fast forward to 2015 when Selig retired there is 30 teams, 10 playoff spots and inter league play throughout the season.
It is safe to assume that Rob Manfred will do just as much, if not more to impact the game of baseball. There have been many rumors of changes; including a pitch clock to keep the pace of the game going at a good rate for fans.
Furthermore, with Montreal hosting 4 successful exhibition games over the last two seasons, the chances of Montreal getting their Expos back are as bright as they have ever been.
Despite all this, there are still many hurdles to climb before Major League Baseball decides to expand. Because baseball plays so many games, it would be an unbalanced schedule to only expand for just one team. Therefore, there would likely have to be a second team added into the league as well.
To continue, if there is any sense of expansion, this would likely spark newer division realignment. Currently there are six divisions of five teams, which equals 30. With expansion being added, there would be a uneven number as 6 doesn’t go into 32 evenly.
For now, it’s a work and progress for Montreal. The return of the Expos back to Montreal would be great for baseball internationally, as Montreal is a very historic city. Installing a nicer ballpark than Olympic Stadium should attract more fans from opposing teams.
For Montreal and Canadian baseball fans alike, garnering back the attention of baseball to the fans is another milestone that needs to met. Right now the Blue Jays run the show as Canada’s lone team, but perhaps one day that changes…in time.