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By Rondell (From Fastball chat forum)
This stadium thing has me scared. First of all, a little background for you all. During the entire 1980's the Cleveland Indians at the stadium which now rests at the bottom of Lake Erie drew absolutely nothing in attendance. I attended games as a child where the paid attendance was 3,000 people, and we paid only $1 to get in. Hell there were games that only drew 300 people in an 80,000 seat stadium. No one wore Indians hats, if you did you were laughed at.
Then in 1992, the government and the owner raised money to build this tremendous facility called the Gateway complex. It consisted of the Gund arena for basketball, and Jacobs field for Baseball. In this more intimate baseball setting, and through player development in the minors, the fans sold out the place even when the team was good but not great upon the stadium's opening.
Fastforward 4 years. The Indians have had 260 something straight sellout crowds, I mean sold out by December, 2 months before spring training even starts. Our city is on ESPN, FOX games of the week, and restaurants and bars have sprung up in an area downtown that was once a parking lot that died after 5pm on weekdays.
Now to Expos management, Montreal city officials, etc. Go to Jacobs field. Seriously go there on a game night. Ask the owners of the packed restaurants/bars where they would be without this facility. Okay, go ask the parking lot owners in the area who are charging double the price of lots anywhere else in the city, and still have hundreds of people they have to turn away because their lots are filled an hour before gametime. Ask them if the taxes levied on alcohol and cigareetes are worth it. Ask the team shops located in 6 malls across Northeast Ohio if they like selling tons of overpriced merchandise to eager fans. Ask owner Dick Jacobs who just sold $60 million dollars worth of stock in the team. Ask the mayor, if he enjoys the city being on national TV every week or two, and all the taxes/tourism brought in by the playoffs, World series, All star games etc. Ask the fans if they like the stadium/team.
To Montreal, I have been a fan of your team since 1995. Your people have never had a baseball team. You have never had the opportunity to see a real infield, to experience a true baseball environment. Sadly, you were forced to play in an overbudgeted ridiculous complex built for one Olympic Games. If you can build that expensive complex for 6 months of benefit, how can you not build something for 50 years of benefits?
To Bouchard: Don't blame the Expos for a stadium they never wanted to play in. The facilities are laughable compared to any ballpark in the USA. I went to Montreal this summer to see the expos and fell in love with the city. It truly is a beautiful place. Help it to grow, and don't stifle progress. This thing will never be built without government support. It can work. I have seen it happen for myself.
Thank you for your time.
By Big O (From Fastball chat forum)
Well, look, the fact is this. Lucien Bouchard and his band of demagogues where voted in by the rural areas. How many institutions have left because of the PQ? They don't care about Montreal where all the big bad anglos/ethnics live... Talk about health care... Money doesn't grow on trees as some people believe. It needs to be generated. Business generates revenue, that goes on to pay for social services...Why is there no money for health care? Because the PQ has screwed Montreal's economy with their initial election in 1976 and their election in 1994.
I have felt like a lone voice the past year and a half. This does go beyond Brochu this is about the future of our ball club. What's next? The symphony orchestra? The festivals? We cannot let our institutions depart. We must send the message to Quebec that we still to remain a North american city not a bush league town. Brochu is right about two things, one that everywhere else except San Francisco some public funds have been used , and why? Because it makes money. And two, it is not acceptable for Bouchard to close the door on any solutions. What we need now is for the population of this city to finally realize, as i think they have at last how serious this is. The public has been badly informed from the start. A lot was the Expos own fault, but a lot was the fault of many mean spirited, self hating Montrealers in the media. Guys like Montreal radio and newspaper "legend" Ted Blackman who a year after the project was announced still would talk of $10 000 seats, even though they had been sold months earlier. He also said Montreal survived before the Expos and would survive after them. Well, yeah I guess Montreal could survive without the festivals, and the museums and even without the metro...I mean after all if we just want to survive we don't need any of our institutions do we? And he also talked along with about the Expos trying to make it work at Olympic Stadium...Come on! I mean A0 people will not go there, especially with a new permanent roof on the place. And b) they could never generate enough revenue there to be even close to competitive. The Big Owe is a bust face it! And what of the media's constant negativity? Oh we can't... Its not possible, we're not a baseball town...The city's dying...Never one word of optimism, its very pathetic. And you know why we are in the political situation we are in today? It is our own fault. We have a spineless civic administration, a bunch of racists in Quebec city, that would be tolerated nowhere else in north america but are our government...Do we get the government we deserve? I guess we do eh?
It is time that Montrealers regardless of their language or political feelings come to bat for saving baseball in this town. We owe the future generations that privilege and that is what it is, we are damn lucky to have had it for 30 years, and it will be up to us to keep it here for another 30.I grew up listening to Dave and Duke on the radio at 1 am on west coat trips. Dave's voice has been a mainstay of our summers. I was there in 1991, when all looked just as bleak as it does now, and i was there en 1994 when Montrealers went nuts over the Expos, when it was fun and cool to be an Expos fan. We can do it again. How many events are there especially in this town that can draw around 2 million people on a bad year, people of all races, languages, united at the ballpark. It is time we got off of our collective butts and did something. If we lose this team it will be because of our own apathy more than because of Brochu, that is a fact. We have 3 weeks left, where is the political leadership? The Americans are laughing at the "Canadians" and how they don't care about their team. Well, I think people do care, it has to become an emotional issue, because losing the Expos would be the last straw, Montreal would then really be bush league...We can't let that happen. I've been studying Political Science for over two years, politicians are scum for the most part, they only care about what will help them get votes, only care about polls. Public opinion will decide this one...And it isn't too late to swing it around .There is nothing wrong with the player's income tax idea. The public supports it. it could be a way to save all pro-sports in Canada. Bouchard has no moral trouble in expanding casinos to bleed poor people dry does he? Or putting at least $50 million for a new roof at the Big Owe, or a new library for $75 million, convention center expansion...I could go on. The Expos deserve just as much support...
-- Big Owe
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