After the tremendous success of this season's exhibition games between the Toronto Blue Jays and the New York Mets in Montreal's Olympic Stadium, Blue Jays are close to returning there for spring training 2015, according to a report from 98.5 FM's Jeremy Filosa.
This piece of good news for Montreal baseball fans came out today, on the 20th anniversary of the start of the 1994 major league players' strike, which interrupted the Montreal Expos' great season as they led all baseball with a 74-40 record, six games up on the Braves in the National League East. Instead of enjoying a playoff run and possibly getting to hang a World Series pennant at home, Expos fans had to settle with a "1994 Meilleure Équipe du Baseball / Best Team in Baseball" banner.
Filosa's report revealed that evenko will be organizing the event again, which will see Toronto facing Canadian Joey Votto an the Cincinnati Reds. This sounds like a great event for baseball in Canada with the country's only major league team facing against team led by a four-time Tip O'Neill Award winner in the former stadium of the country's inaugural major league team.
The report also noted that the Russell Martin and the Pittsburgh Pirates were in consideration as the Jays' opponent. Filosa indicated that "several" teams actually reached out to the Blue Jays after seeing the 96,350 fans who came out to see the games again the Mets. I'd imagine playing those two games in Montreal made more money for both the Jays and the Mets than if they had played in Florida.
Despite a late spring cold spell--there was a snowstorm after the second game--I had a fantastic time that weekend in Montreal. There were so many Blue Jays fans and baseball lovers who travelled there and the atmosphere and noise at both games were unlike anything I've experienced in any ballpark. I know that many of the players who were there had a great time to playing in front of the huge crowd. The Blue Jays, the Reds, Montreal, and evenko will find it difficult to replicate the feeling from this year now that some of the novelty of playing in Montreal has worn off.
But I won't care too much; it's baseball in March and it's baseball in Montreal, so I will be there. Hopefully it will be to cheer on the defending World Series champions.
Hat tip to Rob Silver (@RobSilver) for the link.
Sportsnet's Shi Davidi confirms through his sources that the Blue Jays are indeed going to play in the Big O next spring, but the opponent is yet to be finalized.