Rob Manfred does not Close the Door to an Expansion

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MONTREAL – Major League Baseball’s commissioner could have revived the hopes of the most passionate baseball fans in Montreal and throughout Quebec. Without committing clearly in favour of an expansion of MLB, executive Rob Manfred has hinted that such a scenario could materialize one day.

On a passage at AT & T Park on Thursday, the home of the Giants, announcing the opening of a second video playback center, in San Francisco, Manfred gave its opinion on the future of baseball.

After answering questions about the Oakland Athletics and their quest for a new stadium, Manfred confirmed that the cities of Montreal, Portland, Oregon, and Charlotte, North Carolina, have all shown willingness to accommodate a possible expansion club.

“When people show interest to obtain a concession, it is a demonstration of the vitality and popularity of our sport, said Manfred at The Associated Press. With respect to the expansion, I do not consider it a short-term issue, but I think we are a healthy growing company and over time, healthy growing companies expand”.

In March, during an exclusive interview with The Canadian Press, just a few days before the preseason games at Olympic Stadium between the Cincinnati Reds and the Toronto Blue Jays, Manfred recalled that the MLB had no intention of amplifying its ranks at 32 teams in a near future, even though he said he was well aware of the interest shown by the people of Montreal.

This interest was confirmed on 3rd and 4th of April, when over 96 000 spectators filled the stands of the Olympic Stadium to see the Quebecker Russell Martin play. The craze was similar to last year’s presentation of two preseason games between the Blue Jays and New York Mets.

At the end of May, the Mayor of Montreal met with Commissioner Manfred in its New York office to offer him to represent the regular season games next year. And this week, chairman of the Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal, Michel Leblanc, said he believed there was a tangible interest among the business community of the city.

Favourable to the return of baseball in Montreal, President of the Blue Jays, Paul Beeston, applauded the initiative of the mayor Coderre.

“It’s great! he exclaimed. The mayor Coderre takes the time to get to New York, it’s wonderful. I know Rob appreciated the meeting, which he took very seriously indeed”.

There will be another demonstration of the passion for baseball in Montreal, July 26th, at the induction of old Pedro Martinez and Randy Johnson Expos Hall of Fame. A delegation of fans will make the trip to Cooperstown, an initiative of the ExposNation organization that seeks to revive baseball in Montreal.

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