At the outset of the article, “Dennis Coderre talks Baseball,” the mayor’s support for baseball is described as “impassioned rhetoric” emanating “from a place of nostalgic testimony.”
As Coderre suggests, this is highly misleading. No doubt, for many older Montrealers, the Expos conjure up fond memories of lazy Sunday afternoons at the Big O. But the argument put forth by Coderre, as well as the real spearheads of the movement, former Expos star Warren Cromartie, TSN analyst Matthew Ross and musician Annakin Slayd, is much more about the potential boon that baseball’s return could mean for Montreal.
In the 1970’s, 80’s and for one last hurrah in 1994, the Expos attracted busloads of tourists from Ottawa, Quebec City, upstate New York and Vermont. All these tourists injected money into the city’s economy. A new downtown stadium, one the Expos never had and was the main reason they left, also means new businesses and jobs around the area.
New stadiums in Minnesota, Pittsburgh and Washington (where the Expos ultimately left for), have helped spur urban revitalization. Any big investment must of course be considered very carefully, especially in shaky economic times. But let’s be clear; as the mayor says, this isn’t just about the past: it is about investing in something that could bring tangible economic benefits to the city. And a lot of fun!