In the News

Filner pushes for Expos to play in Mexico

By RITA CHANG, Special to this newspaper
Imperial Valley Press, October 21, 2003

WASHINGTON (MNS) - Rep. Bob Filner, D-Calif., apparently thinks it's time to take the great American pastime south of the border

Filner introduced the "If You Build It They Will Come" Baseball Friendship Act on Friday, urging Major League Baseball to stage one-fourth of the Montreal Expos' 2004 season in Monterrey, Mexico.

"Baseball has been a part of the friendship between the U.S. and Canada for decades," Filner said. "It's time that we include Mexico and make baseball the North American pastime."

Longtime home to the Sultans of the Mexican League, Monterrey played host to a number of successful Major League Baseball games over the last few years. In 1999, Monterrey - Mexico's third largest city - hosted the major league season opener between the San Diego Padres and the Colorado Rockies before a sellout crowd of more than 27,000. The Padres and New York Mets played a three-game series there three years earlier.

Carlos Bremer, owner of the Sultans of the Mexican League and their stadium, Estadio Monterrey, has made a proposal to host all 81 of the Expos home games.

Groups in Northern Virginia, Portland, Ore., and Washington, D.C. are also making bids for the Expos to play in their cities. During the 2003 season, Major League Baseball relocated 22 Expos home games to San Juan, Puerto Rico.

"A commitment from Major League Baseball to play a quarter of the Montreal Expos' home games in Mexico would be a strong statement of friendship and good will between our countries and cultures," Filner said.

He said U.S. Ambassador to Mexico Tony Garza recently wrote to the commissioner of baseball urging the Monterrey move.

"I would like to see (the Expos) go to Monterrey," said Paul Healey, who runs the Web site and has been tracking developments in the Expos' schedule. "They're big baseball nuts down there. It would be good for baseball and would extend their reach. Baseball is slowly gravitating toward international expansion and a place like Monterrey has a lot more money than a place like San Juan."

But Healey predicted the games will end up in Washington, D.C., for economic reasons. He said the team will more likely find its own cable television package or a network in Washington, D.C. that will broadcast its games.

"The revenue from the TV package is going to be what makes or breaks a team," Healey said.

2003-17 Paul Healey.