Well, it's been quite an eventful few weeks for us all that began with an exciting end to the baseball season.
This year's playoffs gave us quite a thrill ride. From the up and coming teams and rivalries to the beautiful ballparks, there were very few dull moments. The World Series saw my last team, the Kansas City Royals take the San Francisco Giants to a Game 7 that could have gone either way in the bottom of the 9th. In the end, the Giants won, and the word 'dynasty' is now becoming synonymous with their franchise. These are the same Giants who almost left San Francisco for Toronto in 1976, and almost left again only a few years after reaching the World Series in 1989. Today, they are seen as the model franchise, anchored by a ballpark that has revolutionized how the game is seen and has become an unmistakable part of the city's architecture.
We also learned that baseball will once again return to Montreal for a weekend in April 2015, after this year's unforgettable series in late March. It should be yet another incredible experience that will mark the path on this journey of ours, and reignite passions once again. Montreal Baseball Project is proud to be hitting leadoff for this weekend of baseball with our Gala that will reconnect Montreal with some of its greatest baseball heroes, like Rusty Staub, Andre Dawson, Tim Raines and Andres Galarraga, and the legendary Jacques Doucet. Our Gala this spring was an inspiring success, as we learned how critical it was to give the floor to the players, so they can relive iconic moments and we can understand the past from their perspective. And we want you to be there next year to help write another chapter in Montreal's rich baseball history.
And yes, there were all kinds of rumors swirling about who may or may not be involved in bringing a team back here and in what capacity. I have always said that it will take patience and following protocol to bring baseball back to Montreal. Rather than speculating, we have to focus on what we can do, and what is within our reach until we are at the next phase. The attendance for this year’s games at the Big O surpassed everyone’s expectations, so much that several teams expressed an interest in coming to Montreal for next year’s preseason games. Blue Jays' president Paul Beeston described those games as having "playoff atmosphere" and said “Your best ambassadors when you left were not just those numbers, but also the 60 players, coaches and managers that said what a great time it was here, too.” As hard as it is to improve on a capacity crowd, we have nowhere to go but up in 2015. We have no choice.
It requires us to keep baseball in the conversation. To keep challenging our assumptions, because we will all have to do more to bring baseball back to Montreal. As Felipe Alou revealed to us at our last Gala, it took an extra effort from many people working in different capacities to keep the Giants in San Francisco and build that ballpark. We each have an important role to play to rekindle the same spirit that led to Major League Baseball coming to Montreal almost 50 years ago. To get Montreal to think big again. And from everything I've seen and heard in the last two weeks, I know you're up to the task.