Ottawa Champions President David Gourlay says he would like a Montreal farm team in Ottawa if that city rejoins Major League Baseball.
The only problem is that the return of the Expos, or whatever the new team would be called, is a number of years away if at all.
At present the team has a group of owners and it’s unknown how much these people would be prepared to pay to get back into the MLB.
Then there is the cost of reimbursing the Toronto Blue Jays for lost fan territory as the Washington Nationals did when they moved into the Baltimore Orioles territory.
Don’t forget a new stadium, the cost of purchasing the team and all the accouterments that go with it … like personnel and a farm system. And you have to know that MLB looks at a 76-cent Canadian dollar and shudders. The team raises money in loonies but pays most of its bills in U.S. greenbacks.
Another big obstacle is that MLB is trying to keep the Rays in Tampa Bay. That means Montreal would have to wait for expansion if that attempt is successful and many cities are competing to join the major leagues.
So Gourlay’s dream is just that. Montreal is not getting into the major leagues anytime soon.
Ottawa’s best chance for good baseball was getting a Double-A Blue Jays farm team. But the Watson administration opted for the lowest rung of minor-league baseball, the Can-Am League.
Now we’re stuck with the Champions and their attendance of 2,454 fans a game in a 10,000-seat stadium.
You also have to know the city planning department wants to redevelop the ballpark. That means that if the Champions fail, planning can say this is the third team to play at the stadium that has flopped. That might not be fair given the low quality of baseball provided by the Champions and its Can-Am predecessor the Rapidz but fair and the planning department don’t go together very well.
It will be three strikes, you’re out.
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