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Olympic Stadium Prepares For MLB Return As Blue Jays Look To Extend Reach
Published March 28, 2014
SAVOR THE MOMENT: While the games at Olympic Stadium bring hope to people of Montreal that MLB might consider returning to the city, baseball writer Jonah Keri notes the event was organized by the Blue Jays because team execs are "seeking to expand their reach west into Canada and Quebec is a huge market." Keri said, "If they could even have 5% penetration that would be huge and they’re making a go of it. That’s what it comes down to." He added fans at the game "are going to be people mostly wearing Expos jerseys." Keri: "I don’t know that the Jays are going to get much traction, but I also don’t have any illusion that MLB is watching closely thinking, 'Oh well if they can put 40,000 people in a stadium they need a team.' I think that the biggest upshot of this will be a chance to party for a weekend, a chance to welcome baseball back to Montreal." Keri noted MLB "will be watching, I just don’t know that any decisions will be made, certainly not in the near future" (Jillian Fay, Staff Writer).
HAVING A FIELD DAY: Blue Jays VP/Special Projects Howard Starkman said that when team execs were approached by Evenko last year, the "big concern they had was the field." Starkman added, "We think our players will like it and we’re very pleased with the work that’s been done by Evenko and the stadium people. The artificial turf, one of the things we’re always concerned with are the seams so the players don’t trip over them. But they’ve done a nice job, not very noticeable at all." Evenko Project Manager Simon Arsenault said that work "started a month ago because the pitcher’s mound operates on a hydraulic system that can be lowered into the ground." In Montreal, Brenda Branswell noted the mound "still had old dirt from 10 years ago on it that was dry and compacted and had to be removed." Arsenault said, "You see the pitcher’s mound, home plate and the bases -- it looks simple, but it’s a huge amount of work. It’s about 10 to 12 employees who will work seven consecutive days -- full days -- to build the bases and the mound" (Montreal GAZETTE, 3/27).