|A fan at Friday's Reds-Blue Jays exhibition makes|
her real rooting interest clear.
For the second year in a row, the Toronto Blue Jays played some end-of-spring-training exhibition games in Montreal. For the second year in a row, those games drew big numbers.
It's tempting to look at those crowds (more than 90,000 for the Friday-Saturday games with Cincinnati) and compare them to what we'll likely see in, say, St. Petersburg, Florida, for the Rays, and think that moving a team to Montreal is a no-brainer.
The reality is that the forces -- economic and political -- that prompted the Expos to flee Montreal are still in place.
Montreal is still a city whose corporate base sharply dwindled during various pushes for the province of Quebec to separate from Canada. It's still burdened -- almost 40 years later -- by the cost of "The Big Owe," the Olympic Stadium built for the 1976 Olympic games and for years the home of the Expos but today hideously outdated. And the chronic issue of currency fluctuation, and the reality that a Canadian team inevitably takes in Canadian dollars and pays out American dollars to the players, remains.
Maybe major-league baseball will someday return to Montreal. But I'm not counting on ever seeing it myself.