Can Warren Cromartie Bring Baseball Back to Montreal?
At this time of year, with Spring Training camps about to break, and teams heading north for opening day many Montrealers really feel the sting of having lost the Expos, as if a rite of spring has been snatched away. However there was some good news this week.
Former Montreal Expo outfielder Warren Cromartie is a man on a mission. He is determined that not only is it feasible to bring Major League Baseball back to Montreal, but that he’s the man to do it. Not many would disagree with the latter part of that as Cromartie, or Cro as he was most often referred to during his playing days, has enough enthusiasm to bring two teams to Montreal, if only enthusiasm were all it took.
Speaking at a news conference in a Montreal hotel to announce that $400,000 has been raised to start a feasibility study, Cromartie addressed the question of why things would be different this time, after having lost the Expos.
Cromartie is the front-man for the Montreal Baseball Project, a group that is looking into the merits of trying to get a Major League Baseball franchise back in Montreal. Speaking specifically about the difference in MLB today, Cromartie pointed to one major aspect that was seen as a real killer of the Expos franchise.
There is no doubt Montreal has a long history of baseball, including Jackie Robinson becoming the first black payer in professional baseball when he played for the Dodgers’ farm team, the Montreal Royals (he would, of course, go on to break the colour barriers in the majors as well). Both English and French embraced the Expos when they were here, and both groups were trend off by get-rich-quick owners who promised good things then either sold off parts of the team piecemeal, or entirely.
Much was said about the Olympic Stadium being less than ideal as a ballpark and plans were underway to build a new downtown stadium. Yet looking back, when the team was winning, in the early 80s, no one seemed to complain about the stadium, which was always full.
Lets hope Cro and his group can bring baseball back to Montreal sooner rather than later. It’s just not spring without it.