Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre 'delighted' over baseball expansion plans
Reports say MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred wants to add 2 baseball teams to league
Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre says he's thrilled MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred told an American radio show that he wants the league to expand by two teams, from 30 to 32.
"I'm delighted to see that major league baseball is looking for expansion. Of course, there are the other issues to move a team but we're not there...but there is a will from the commissioner himself to raise the amount of teams," Coderre said.
The mayor has been making a pitch to bring baseball back to Montreal for months.
"It's going well. We have a baseball commissioner who wants to expand...He already said Canada is a market for him — and Montreal. So he's done his homework."
In May, Coderre had his first-ever face-to-face private meeting with Manfred.
- Montreal's Denis Coderre to confer with MLB commissioner
- MLB commissioner impressed by Montreal crowds
"We had to show it was not about nostalgia — this is a baseball city," Coderre told reporters Friday afternoon at Montreal City Hall. "We are sending a message that it's working well, and it's progressing."
Last April, Manfred said the crowds that packed Montreal's Olympic Stadium for pre-season games were a "very positive thing" in terms of demonstrating the city's interest in Major League Baseball.
Over 46,000 fans attended the first pre-season game between the Toronto Blue Jays and the Cincinnati Reds. More than 50,000 fans showed up to watch the teams play again the following day.
Coderre said he hopes Montrealers will buy even more tickets for the next pre-season games at the Olympic Stadium on April 1 and 2, 2016 to see the Toronto Blue Jays take on the Boston Red Sox.
"I think we can even do better for those games because you have a lot of people supporting the Red Sox — not the Bruins, rightfully — but the Red Sox is OK for now," Coderre said, adding he will not talk about any negotiations between the city and the MLB in the public domain.
"It's a step-by-step approach. I will not negotiate publicly, but I think our strategy is working pretty well, and I think Montreal is back on track in terms of baseball."