MONTREAL — A group of dedicated Expos fans sent a letter to the MLB, Wednesday, offering the hundreds of asylum seekers taking refuge in the Olympic Stadium as proof of the stadium’s ability to draw a crowd.
The letter was sent by the “Bring back the Expos” Facebook page. The group claims that the sudden influx of hundreds of asylum seekers into Quebec might be related to the recent induction of former Expos star Tim Raines into the MLB hall of fame.
“Even after all these years, look at how people flock to the Big O for some good old fashion baseball,” said longtime fan and “Bring back the Expos” moderator Terry Rothbart from the stadium bleachers. “If you ignore the cots and first aid tents, it’s not too hard to imagine the Expos playing some ball out there.”
“Yes… it was very difficult for us when the popular baseball team moved to Washington in 2004,” said Hatian asylum seeker Emmanuel Louis told reporters. “To be honest, in 2004 I was preoccupied with avoiding summary execution but I was told mentioning the Expos might help my application.”
Mayor Denis Coderre took time from his schedule to meet with the busloads of asylum seekers. Decked out in full Expos gear, Coderre told reporters that he was feeling more and more confident that Montreal would soon see a permanent major league baseball team.
“If we could just get a few Dominican asylum seekers we might be able to get this ball rolling,” Coderre told reporters. He hinted that Youppi might later make an appearance to sign autographs and hand out emergency blankets.
Meanwhile, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees criticized Montreal for housing asylum seekers in crumbling, dangerous facility not renovated since 1976.