Former Expos Manager Felipe Alou says the chances of Major League Baseball returning to Montreal are '50/50', and maybe better.
Alou, who led the 1994 Expos to the best record in baseball that year, told reporters that this weekend's exhibition games between the Toronto Blue Jays and the New York Mets at the Olympic Stadium are making a good case for bringing Major League Baseball back to Montreal.
"It's 50/50, that's what I hear," he said. "But after these two games it will probably go over 50/50."
More than 50,000 tickets were sold for today’s game, which included a pre-game celebration of Alou's 1994 squad featuring 20 members of the team, including Pedro Martinez, Larry Walker, Marquis Grissom, Cliff Floyd, and Moises Alou, among others.
With a record of 74 wins and 40 losses, Alou's Expos were widely expected to make the World Series in 1994 but the season was cut short by a strike.
The '94 Expos will also take part in a fundraising gala Saturday night organized by the Montreal Baseball Project, a group dedicated to bringing Major League baseball back to the city.
Smooth sailing at ticket booths
Saturday’s game got off without any sign of the ticketing troubles that plagued Friday night's game.
Friday’s pre-season game against the Blue Jays and the Mets, which drew more than 45,000 fans, was the first major league baseball game at the Olympic Stadium since the Expos’ final game in 2004.
People attending Friday’s game faced long waits to collect their tickets.
Tickets purchased online had to be picked-up in person and by game time hundreds of fans were still waiting — while employees manually searched for the tickets.
Accident mars Friday's game
Friday’s game was marred by an accident that saw a man in his 40s fall from a lower balcony in the outfield bleachers to the concrete 10 to 15 metres below.
The man is listed in critical condition with multiple fractures and head injuries.
Eyewitnesses said the man was trying to get his section doing the wave and climbed over a guardrail in the process.
CBC News reporter Thomas Daigle witnessed the man’s fall.
“He was on the other side of the guardrail, I don’t know what he was doing there. I blinked and the man fell flat all the way down to the floor. He didn’t move at all, stayed motionless,” he said.
Daigle said a player from one of the teams rushed over and summoned emergency crews, who provided first aid.
The injured man was removed from the scene by ambulance and taken to hospital.