Former Expo Cromartie and group to launch baseball feasibility study
Published Wednesday, March 20, 2013 4:33PM EDT
Last Updated Wednesday, March 20, 2013 10:43PM EDT
Former Montreal Expo Warren Cromartie and his group were once again pitching the idea of bringing baseball back to Montreal.
The Montreal Baseball Project announced their latest plans at a downtown news conference Wednesday morning, where one of the first questions asked was about the non-believers.
“You see the kids today wearing (Expos) apparel around Montreal and throughout the world, that says something,” responded Cromartie.
Hoping baseball will see the light of day again, the former outfielder and his Montreal Baseball Project announced the launch of a feasibility study.
“We're doing our due diligence and trying to make this happen. And another big thing – we want the people to know there is somebody behind it. We’re not just saying something and you won’t hear from us. We’re in this for the long run. We want to make this happen,” he said.
Some $400,000 has been raised in hopes of presenting fans and skeptics alike with concrete research information that big-league ball can be viable in Montreal.
Michel Leblanc of the Montreal Board of Trade said he’s behind the idea.
“Montreal is a sports city. You can see the Impact right now ahead of the league, you can see football and hockey. The signal we’re getting is there is an appetite for a baseball team. We’re going to test that,” he said.
Questions remain: Why now? What would be different this time around?
The group said the scenario has changed considerably – and that works in favour of their pitch.
“We have revenue sharing now in Major League Baseball that we did not have eight years ago and that helps out the have-nots. We have an extra playoff team, a wildcard team, the dollar is a little bit better in the U.S. for Casnadians right about now and also we have television broadcasting,” he said.
RDS baseball analyst Marc Griffin said he’s looking forward to seeing where this goes.
“I think it’s great news. They have the $400,000 in hand. They’re announcing that, they’re not hoping to get it, they have it… we’ll probably finally get some answers a lot of people are waiting for. And these people also, of the Montreal Baseball Project, they want the same answers,” he said.
The much-maligned Olympic Stadium is a consideration for the study. While they say a downtown facility would surely be the best option, the Big O will also be evaluated in the research.
Cromartie and his team have been working on the project for over a year, with the real work set to begin now.
The results of the feasibility study are expected in the fall.