Archive for the ‘CBL Classic’ Category

Montreal Expos Source: Monstr Migit: Montreal Expos History- 1969-2004

The Expos for the most part were never marketed well in Montreal or the broader Province of Quebec. They seemed to believe that fans would automatically come to their games if they just won or were competitive. Apparently not being aware that Montreal was really never a baseball market and is a big city of over 1M people. In a market of over 3M people with plenty of things to do besides just baseball. And that there were other sporting events to go to besides baseball and not just Canadians hockey but CFL football and pro soccer.

Other pro sports have done well in Montreal because these are sports that Quebecers grow up with, enjoy playing and watching. But that wasn’t the only problem with the Expos. They started off playing in a real ballpark in Jarry Field. But then in the late 1970s move to the huge Montreal Olympic Stadium. Which by that point with its 65-70,000 seats was a football stadium that the Montreal Allouettes played in as well. And pro soccer was being played there. Big mistake on the Expos management part.

The Expos needed to market their club better and actually explain baseball to Montreal, which is not Toronto. A big market near Detroit and other Major League Baseball cities where Toronto already liked and enjoyed baseball before it got there. But Montreal was new to baseball and Montreal Olympic Stadium was simply too big with the fans being too far away from the games and not enough people wanting to go there to watch baseball. And these are the main reasons why the Expos left Montreal for Washington.



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Bill Lee

The Spaceman

Source: This piece was originally posted at FRS Daily Times

To put it simply what killed the Montreal Expos was lack of support. Lack of support from the fans by the late 1990s they were drawing 5-10K fans a game for their home games. And Expos fans might say that the team wasn’t very good, but when you’re only drawing 5-10K fans a game and you do not even have local media contracts like TV and radio, its hard to have the resources to put good teams on the field.

But even with the lack of support from the City of Montreal and the Province of Quebec, Montreal was a solid, but never a great baseball market in the late 1970s and 1980s and to a certain extent in the 1990s. But by the late 1990s when you are only seven thousand fans a game with is a AAA minor league crowd, you aren’t going to have the resources to compete with the big clubs that are consistent winners who are drawing thirty thousand a game or more like the New York Mets and Atlanta Braves to use as examples.

Then you throw in the fact that the Expos were basically stuck playing their home games in a football stadium that was built for the 1976 Summer Olympics, that held sixty-five thousand fans after moving from a baseball park in Jarry Field, you are now playing in a big stadium where people do not want to go to watch baseball. But would go to watch Canadian football and rock concerts.

But not a very good baseball environment where the seats were far away and where people in Montreal had better things to do and you add that baseball is probably the third or fourth most popular sport in Montreal behind hockey of course, but football and even soccer, the Expos weren’t built to last at least in Montreal Olympic Stadium. Had they ever gotten a real ballpark that seated 35-40 thousand fans and had a management that was committed to winning and staying in Montreal and spending money, but spending money wisely, the Expos are probably still in business today.

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Jarry Park

Source: SABR

Source: Rusty Staub: Rusty Staub Visits Montreal

One of the first mistakes that the Expos made was moving out of a baseball park in Jarry Park and moving into a football stadium in Montreal Olympic Stadium that is huge. That people didn’t like watching baseball in and if the Expos needed a new baseball park, a football stadium that was fairly well-suited for football and soccer, was not the way to go.

But instead build a modern Jarry Park for the Expos, or perhaps a dome stadium where the roof opens. But design it for baseball, which is how the Montreal Olympic Stadium was supposed to be designed for in the beginning. What the Expos got instead in the late 70s was a football stadium with a roof that didn’t open and a concrete hard astroturf field in Montreal Olympic Stadium. Just the Expos were starting to become pretty good. And the franchise probably would’ve been saved in Montreal with very good teams. That Montreal and the Province of Quebec would’ve supported.

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The Spaceman

The Spaceman

▶ 1981 NLDS Gm 1 Phillies at Expos – YouTube.

I wish MLB stuck with the 1981 playoff format with the divisional series and extra wildcards. Five-six teams in each league.

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Source: TSN-Toronto Skydome 

Source: TSN: Mob 1997-Canada Day-Montreal Expos @ Toronto Blue Jays: Highlights

The only reasons why Montreal doesn’t currently have a MLB franchise a Major League Baseball Franchise, is because of management and facility. A management team committed to winning that will spend the resources to make that happen, but will also spend them wisely. But also a ballpark that will give them the revenue to support their club. Where people will want to go to watch baseball, but also have a good affordable time. As well as a fan base that is committed to the team in Montreal whether that is the Montreal Expos, or whatever new name a possible new Montreal MLB franchise would be called. You get the right management group, organizational structure, right ballpark and MLB baseball could succeed in Montreal. Because the reason why the Expos no longer exist and why Montreal no longer has an MLB franchise eight years later, is not because of the market as far as size and wealth. But because of the lack of support this market gave their franchise and how cheaply they were run.





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Montreal Expos


Source:NBC Sports: MLB 1981-NL Divisional-Montreal Expos @ Philadelphia Phillies: Expos Win a Playoff Series!

Because of the 1981 MLB players strike, MLB had this policy where the top first-half teams would play the top second-half teams in an expanded playoff format in both the American and National League’s. It was the first taste of wildcard teams in the MLB Playoffs. Which is how both the Expos and Phillies made the NL Playoffs.


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