Montreal Expos fans fill an outfield section during a baseball game between the Tampa Bays Rays and Toronto Blue Jays Toronto on Saturday July 20, 2013. The Montreal fans hope to lure a major league team back to their city. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Frank Gunn).
MONTREAL — A crew of Montreal Expos fans, willing to do just about anything to get their team back, has driven to Toronto to watch the Blue Jays.
Organizers say about 1,000 Expos supporters, hoping to attract the attention of baseball’s movers and shakers, packed into the outfield bleachers at the Rogers Centre on Saturday for the Blue Jays game against the Tampa Bay Rays.
The group wore the traditional red, white and baby blue of the former Expos, who relocated in 2004 and became the Washington Nationals, and held up signs promoting their cause.
“Our goal is to celebrate the history of the Expos and show that there is still a viable market for it,” said Matthew Ross, who runs the website Expos Nation and helped organize the trip.
Nearly a decade after the Expos left town, there is a small but growing movement to bring a team back to the city. The possibility has become a recurring topic on local talk radio shows and has even influenced Montreal street fashion.
It’s no accident the group chose to attend a game featuring the Rays, one of the baseball’s more troubled franchises, he said.
The Expos logo has become a source of city pride and a statement for young people barely old enough to have seen them play.
Ross said the pain of the Expos’ messy departure has begun to dissipate. These days, people are more focused on joyful memories, and Expos greats like Andre Dawson, who was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2010.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper said on Twitter, “I hope that the efforts of Expos Nation will one day be rewarded with a team in Montreal.”