Wow, what an incredible two weeks it's been, Montreal! We began this year celebrating the 50th anniversary of the inaugural season of the Expos, and today we suddenly find ourselves as close as ever to bringing baseball back to the city.
To have the green light from Major League Baseball and the owners to explore the possibility of Montreal hosting a team in tandem with the city of Tampa speaks volumes about the diligence and the quality of the effort put forth so far. It is an idea that is both innovative and exciting, with significant potential to revolutionize professional sports and the economics associated with it.
I have always said that Montreal is a Major League city, and these developments of the last two weeks demonstrate how unquestionable Montreal's place is in the baseball world. For our group and the city of Montreal to have been entrusted to pursue this opportunity is of immense pride and importance to us.
There are still hurdles to overcome, and many details to be sorted out, given the novelty of the idea, but it is nonetheless a very positive development. There are already established links between the two markets and this will open up tremendous new opportunities on so many levels. But whether it is playing 20 games, 40 games, or a full season in the city, Montreal is ready.
We now have baseball games being played in places like Mexico and London, and to have an established presence in a recognized international city like Montreal is accelerating the process of reaching this global market. I have seen for myself how the Expos brand has grown over the years in Japan. It is now seen in many places, and alongside the iconic franchises of baseball.
Over the last few years, Montreal has caught the eye of the baseball world, regularly being mentioned by Major League Baseball, the Baseball Hall of Fame, and by some of the most prominent baseball writers. The fact that the Washington Nationals will be wearing Expos uniforms in a game next week is a further nod to the franchise, though I personally would have preferred that more of the team's history and iconic players like Tim Raines and Andre Dawson would be part of the commemoration.
It has been an unbelievable journey over the past seven years, and I am amazed at how this crazy idea I had of bringing baseball back to Montreal has captured the imagination of so many, and the efforts of some of its most passionate and courageous leaders, most notably Stephen Bronfman. WHEN we get our team back, we will all look back at this incredible ride and take pride in how we made it happen. Stay tuned, Montreal, there's much more to come!