Jcxp15, once again you demonstrate your ignorance regarding this situation. I'll post what I've said before about this:
The Expos saga began on May 27, 1968 when Major League Baseball awarded two new expansion franchises: San Diego, and Montreal. As the 1969 season begins, baseball sees the first Expos team take to the field and beat the Mets at Shea 11-10 on April 8. They then go on to play their first home game against the Cardinals at Jarry Park, a minor league stadium expanded to serve as home for the team until a better location can be found. 29,184 excited fans watch the Expos win 8-7. The fun doesn’t stop there, a mere 2 weeks into their major league play, the Expos win their first no-hitter as Bill Stoneman whacks the Phillies 7-0 (he would earn his second no-hitter Oct 2 1972 against the Mets).
The team continued to win the hearts of Montrealers through 1972 when in September the team sees their fist season of contention for a post-season berth: Pennant fever. April 15, 1977 was a big turning point in the history of the Expos as they move into the infamous Olympic Stadium to a crowd of 57,592. Through the late 70’s the team plays admirably, drawing large crowds and remaining in contention right through till the end. The teams high point comes Oct 10, 1981 when the team wins their first National League East division title, but finds their hopes come crashing down on the infamous “Blue Monday” of Oct 19, when Rick Monday hits a 9th inning game-ending home run to give the Dodgers the NLCS and ending the Expos’ hopes of a world series.
The beginning of the 1990’s saw the first inkling of trouble as new ownership came on board. However, any bad feelings were over-shadowed by the thrill of 1994 season, as the Expos were untouchable and well on their way to winning it all. It would be the crowning moment of baseball in Montreal. Then the strike ended the season and the hopes of the team and fans for the next 8 years. When the team began play in 1995, it was not the Expos everyone knew and loved. It was a ghost, a shell, a shadow of its former self. The ownership had dumped star talent like Larry Walker, and John Wetteland for minor-league prospects. The team began a long journey to nowhere, not contending, merely hovering. Fans howled at this betrayal and spoke; with their feet. Attendance began dropping, the fire sales of talent continued, and the team was for all practical purposes rowing with just one oar.
A little while back a saviour seemed to come and part the waters of the St. Lawrence for Expos fans in Montreal. A man named Jeffery Loria became the controlling partner of the team, owning 24% of it, and promising an end to the fire sales, a come back for the team, and a downtown ballpark everyone had been dreaming of. The roof long ago broke for Olympic Stadium, it was old, out-dated, never intended for baseball and in totally the wrong area to continually attract fans, it was a giant tomb for baseball. The fans were excited; it was standing room only for the home opener. Baseball was apparently saved in Montreal. Loria even purchased an option on prime land downtown for a ballpark, began drawing up plans and securing funding. Montreal soon realized it could have a beautiful downtown stadium for $200 million Canadian, seating around 38,000, open-air with a view of the city skyline. Loria soon showed his true colors, destroying and stabbing in the back any media connections the team had, demanding more money from them for a product he had yet to fully restore confidence in, he authorized dumb trades for our top prospects and talent, he let the ballpark plan die when he almost had all the funding secured. Once again, Montreal and its fans were stabbed in the back by baseball as Loria ran the team into the ground, then through some shady dealings with Selig, diluted the other shareholders almost 75% ownership of the team to something around 10-20% of the Florida Marlins as he sold the Expos to MLB and bought the Marlins.
All this brings us to this season, The Expos are owned by MLB with the threat of relocation hanging over us. Everyone says it’s the end, you suck, you’re pathetic, don’t even try, the end is here. Despite this attendance is up about 20% over last season, the biggest increase increase in the majors, we are only last in attendance because Loria convinced some sap to purchase 15,000 tickets and not use them after our final game figures were revealed and giving the Marlins a 1,000 seat lead and 29th place. In our "lame duck season" we finished in 2nd place with more attendance than anyone ever would have figured for us. 75,000 signatures have been collected to keep the team in Montreal, and pledges recieved for over 7,500 sets of season tickets for 2003 (we had only 1,000 sets for this season), politicians are beginning to come aboard, where a current plan to build a new ballpark has the goverment loaning $100 million to jump start the plan. People are saying "We want our Expos". They are not some recent expansion team, they've been here over 30 years and have a true history to them. We hope the current projects underway will draw out investors who are interested, but unsure of the doom and gloom coming from MLB.
What we are in now is a slump, every team has one once in a while. Atlanta and Cleveland have had ones and it is a perfectly correctable situation.
It can work again. Montreal has been a good home to baseball in the past and it still can be. When 35,000 fans+ can show up for opening days and special events, it shows the fan base is there, the people can come if they are given reason to. The fact the team could break 800,000 in total attendance for the year is remarkable considering everyone and their mothers telling people not to even bother, that it’s over. All that is required is responsible ownership, who could properly manage and maintain the team. Combined with the downtown ballpark, Montreal could be one of the jewels of MLB, the city offers every demographic and quality that could make baseball succeed. All we fans can do is hope the local ownership comes through, that the lawsuit filed against Selig by the former minority shareholders plays out, that next year we can give more people a reason to come and watch baseball again, and we must endure the taunts of a media and “fans” who will not see the bigger picture. Imagine the heart break of losing your favourite team, especially when you know that can have a bright future ahead of them.
By the way a fan wrote a nice song that's been getting airplay on Montreal radio, sure it sounds all doom and gloom but that's because it was written back in January when we didn't have as many positive things on the horizon: http://www.chom.com/audio/EXPOSm.mp3