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MLB Eyeing Return to Montreal?

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Montreal Expos players Gary Carter, left, Andre Dawson, Steve Rogers, Tim Raines and Al Oliver pose prior to the MLB All-Star Game in Montreal in 1982. Photo: The Canadian Press

Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred is teasing Montreal baseball fans claiming that it is possible that some regular season games could be played in that city in 2018.

If that is the case, it would be the first time since 2004 that a regular season championship game will be played in the city.

But there is an awfully long road to travel even to stage a few games during the summer in Montreal.

First the Major League Baseball owners and players need to sign a new collective bargaining agreement. The current pact expires on December 1.

Old problems remain. Montreal still lacks a state of the art baseball stadium and there seems to be no one, as of yet, who is willing to pay for a place.

The Canadian currency remains a problem. The loonie has been hanging around the 75-78 cents range against the US greenback during the 2016 calendar year. One of the reasons Quebec City did not get a National Hockey League expansion franchise was the weakness in the Canadian dollar which in part comes from the collapse of oil prices.

On the positive side, there probably is a pretty decent television contract available which would different from the Expos final days. Manfred may also be talking up Montreal to gain some leverage for the owners of the Oakland and Tampa Bay franchises who are looking for new stadiums.

It is always good for owners to have an option if local politicians decide to play hardball with the local owners. If Manfred can prime the pump in Montreal and get political and business leaders on board that could throw a scare into Oakland or St. Petersburg politicians.

Major League Baseball could expand too, but the owners would have to be on board and then work out a deal with the players to expand.

By Evan Weiner For The Politics Of Sports Business

This article was republished with permission from the original publisher, Evan Weiner.

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