washingtonpost.com  > Sports > Leagues and Sports > MLB > Expos

Montreal-San Juan Expos Once Again

By Mark Asher
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, November 21, 2003; Page D05

Major League Baseball and the MLB Players Association are on the verge of an agreement for the Montreal Expos to play 22 home games in San Juan, Puerto Rico, next season, sources familiar with the situation said yesterday.

An announcement could be made today. The final major hurdle to the deal was resolved in MLB's favor when a San Juan promoter agreed to end his insistence that MLB contractually owed him an additional $600,000 in revenue from last season's Expos games. That dispute delayed completion of the deal for nearly a month as Monterrey, Mexico, re-emerged as an alternative venue.

_____Expos Basics_____
Expos page
_____ Postseason Awards _____
NL MVP: Barry Bonds
AL MVP: Alex Rodriguez
NL Cy Young: Eric Gagne
AL Cy Young: Roy Halladay
AL Rookie: Angel Berroa
NL Rookie: Dontrelle Willis
AL Manager: Tony Pena
NL Manager: Jack McKeon

_____World Series '03_____
Josh Beckett throws a five-hit shutout to lead the Florida Marlins past the New York Yankees to their second World Series title.
_____MLB Basics_____
Team index
Music Downloads
MLB Section
_____ Boycott the Birds? _____
Should Washington-area baseball fans, as Thomas Boswell suggests, boycott the Baltimore Orioles?

Don't know

 View results

What's your opinion?

Note: This is an unscientific survey of washingtonpost.com readers.

_____Stadium Site Survey_____
Proposed D.C. Stadiums The District has narrowed its choices for a new baseball stadium. What's your favorite?
Washington Senators The District has been without major league baseball for more than 30 years. Look back at a visual history of the Washington Senators.
_____Giants Basics_____
Giants page
_____Pirates Basics_____
Pirates page
_____Brewers Basics_____
Brewers page
_____Blue Jays Basics_____
Blue Jays page
_____Marlins Basics_____
Marlins page
_____Mets Basics_____
Mets page

Sources said San Juan guaranteed MLB between $9 million and $10 million. In addition, work will soon begin on moving back the fences at Hiram Bithorn Stadium by 25 feet, installing a new artificial turf field and improving clubhouse facilities.

Promoter Antonio Munoz Sr. declined to comment about the dispute, as did Gene Orza, associate general counsel of the players association and its point man in discussions with Robert Manfred, an MLB vice president, about moving the Expos' home games. Manfred also declined to comment.

Expos players originally rejected playing a second straight split season, citing road weariness and scheduling that included games in San Juan in September. MLB agreed to complete the games in San Juan by early July. They also reached agreement on two fundamental areas of contention: travel arrangements and the level of the Expos' 2004 payroll.

The games in San Juan will finish two days before the All-Star Game in mid-July, according to sources. The Pittsburgh Pirates, in their tentative 2004 schedule, list a four-game road series against the Expos ending in July. Otherwise, according to sources, the Florida Marlins and New York Mets will travel to San Juan in April, followed by the Milwaukee Brewers and San Francisco Giants in May and the Toronto Blue Jays and Pirates in July. One additional series needs to be set.

The latest development came on the same day MLB's relocation committee, seeking a permanent home for the Expos, met in Chicago after a quarterly owners' meeting there. MLB has been operating the Expos the past two seasons in a limited partnership of its 29 other teams.

Bob DuPay, MLB's president and chief operating officer, said the committee plans to meet "shortly" with jurisdictions that are still interested for "discussions of mutual interest." The committee had not met since recommending late in the summer to hold off relocation for at least another season. None of the three bidding jurisdictions -- the District, Northern Virginia and Portland, Ore. -- has met MLB's threshold requisition: completion of a financing plan for a new ballpark or selecting a site for its location.

Prior to the meeting, sources said it would focus on how to proceed for a possible relocation in 2005. More jurisdictions could be added to the mix, although several owners have said privately the District is the only viable option. MLB top executives do not plan to comment as frequently or announce self-imposed deadlines for their work.

Baltimore Orioles owner Peter Angelos remains steadfastly opposed to relocating the Expos to either the District or Northern Virginia.

© 2003 The Washington Post Company