Expos To Stay in Montreal in 1999
MONTREAL (AP) _ The Expos will be back in Montreal for the 1999 season. Their future beyond that date is still uncertain.
``We made the commitment to the league a little while back that we would be playing baseball in Montreal in 1999,″ Expos president Claude Brochu said Thursday night. ``The end of September becomes the deadline for the year 2000.″
Brochu and his partners had previously set a June 30 deadline to decide whether they would proceed with the construction of a proposed downtown stadium or move the franchise following the end of the 1998 season.
``Our 1999 schedule is done.″ Brochu said. ``We’re submitting it to the union and trying to finalize various aspects of it, but the 1999 schedule is done and planning for 2000 will begin quite shortly. If there is going to be a relocation _ which I don’t think there will be _ baseball needs to know that fairly early.″
The Expos ownership group had enlisted the aid of the Montreal business community to sell the necessary number of seat licenses for the proposed 35,000 seat stadium that would give them the confidence that they would be able to raise the $170 million (U.S. dollars) required to finance construction of the stadium.
``Obviously if we had sold 12,000 seat licenses today this would all be academic,″ Brochu said. ``But I think we need a little more time, basically. Let’s give it to ourselves. Those people that are doing the work with us now say they need that time. I believe that. I think it will help us.″