A professional baseball club. Baseball was for a long time the most popular sport in Montreal. Even Canadiens players like Maurice Richard, Doug Harvey and Bill Durnan were stars of the local diamonds. The departure of the Expos created a void in Montreal life. It is that a baseball club accompanies you day after day for more than six months. Its start to the season marks the arrival of spring. Its elimination, the autumn which settles down for good. Its presence is comforting – especially with a late-season sweater. I miss that.
It’s not just a wish for Montreal, but it has to start somewhere: affordable tickets. The “premium” games of the Canadiens and the “dynamic” prices of the National Bank Open, for example, mean that an outing of just a few hours can cost several hundred dollars. Inflation and rising interest rates have hit consumers hard. Of course, sports organizations have also seen their operating costs increase, but the constant rise in admission prices began long before. Is fan tolerance infinite? The next few years will tell. Honorable mention, moreover, to CF Montreal, the Alouettes and the Laval Rocket, which the public can cheer on without liquidating the children’s education savings plan.
Of humility. In many respects, the metropolis compares to other major North American cities. Culturally, economically and gastronomically, Montreal is definitely part of the lot. However, on the sporting level, this is a little less true. Our chauvinism seems to blind us most of the time. Toronto, Boston and New York, to name a few, are true sports cities. I would tend to say that Montreal is more a city of events than a city of sports. People attend the National Bank Open, the Formula 1 Grand Prix or the marathon, but otherwise the city is nothing like its big sisters with only one team among the four major leagues. Montreal is the city of the Canadian. While Toronto is home to the Leafs, Jays and Raptors. And that Boston is home to the Bruins, Patriots, Red Sox and Celtics.
In Montreal, one thing is missing more than anything: reasons to use the Olympic Stadium. I was able to take advantage of the Olympic Stadium for a multitude of events, from the Impact to the Expos to the Monster Spectacular (bring earplugs for the children). And frankly, I know “Big O” isn’t exactly up to date, but I don’t care. I want to see the Alouettes there in front of 40,000 people, I want to relive David Beckham’s visit, I want to remember the great years of the Expos. Nothing beats fellowship with 40,000 other sports fans in that smell of concrete and hot dogs, followed by that endless walk to the metro or Sherbrooke Street. Stadium, I miss you. Above all, never change.
Of course, in an ideal world, I would dream of an NFL club, which could also be called the Marjos of Montreal, in honor of one of our greatest representatives. But even more, can we claim to be a leading sports city without having a soccer club around us that takes part in the purest form of this sport, that is to say the indoor version, in a arena, as it should be? Those who know know. There is nothing more poetic than a soccer player recreating the scene of Othello’s death, but on a synthetic carpet, preferably green, as Pelé himself would have wanted. There is an indoor soccer club in Detroit, for example, and there is one in Milwaukee, two cities whose leaders are active and present, obviously listening to the needs of their citizens. Montreal deserves indoor soccer. Montreal deserves better.
What do you think Montreal lacks the most in terms of sports, and why?