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The Imperial Valley Expos

GRANT'S TOMB:

June 01, 2001|By CHRIS GRANT, Sports Editor

While reading about another example of baseball ineptness yesterday I came up with the greatest idea ever, an idea that will bring the Imperial Valley the long overdue recognition it deserves.

As I sat at my desk Thursday morning I read on the AP wire that the Montreal Expos had fired longtime manager Felipe Alou. Now, I'd first like to say that this was not a good move on the Expos' part as Alou is probably the best manager in baseball. However, that point aside, it was while I was reading that article that I got my idea. I noticed in the story about Alou's dismissal that the Expos' average attendance was just over 9,000 fans a game. That's when the idea hit: Get the Expos to move to the Imperial Valley!

I'm sure many of you are pooh-poohing my idea at this point. I say you're not thinking this thing through. If the Expos are used to playing in front of just 9,000 fans a game, I don't see any reason why we can't guarantee them at least 15,000 fans a game. That's a 40-percent increase in attendance and what club wouldn't be down with that?  Hell, I'd be willing to bet that if we would do some marketing in Mexicali we'd be able to get 20-25,000 people a game and that's an even bigger increase.

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Don't think this would be the only drawing point for the Imperial Valley's first major league franchise. No, another would be the proximity to the Mexican border. I have read on numerous occasions that Expos star Vladimir Guerrero is not enamored with having to live in a country that speaks mostly French with a little English. Well, Vlad, your problem is solved. If the Expos would relocate to our lovely Valley then Vlad could live in Mexicali and speak all the Spanish (his native tongue) that he wanted to. This fact would not be lost on some of the Expos' other Latin superstars either. Yes, I'd say that the ability to converse on a daily basis in these players' native tongue would make them all happy and a happy ballplayer is a productive ballplayer.

Now before you all go jumping on the Expos bandwagon I think you need to know this is not going to be easy.

The first thing we're going to have to do is come up with money to build a state-of-the-art major league stadium. I figure that with the hot weather we're going to have to make this an indoor facility, but maybe we can build it with a retractable roof that can be pulled back during some of our cooler spring nights. I see this being built at the Imperial Valley Expo. Yes, that's right, the Imperial Valley Expos will play at the Imperial Valley Expo. I'm not sure who they'll name the stadium after, but hopefully it will be a local corporate sponsor. (Perhaps Mountain Man Pizza Park.) And people, this will not come cheap. The junior fair board is going to have to wash a lot of cars to get that stadium built, but remember it will be worth it. The Imperial Valley Expos will be a source of pride for this entire community.

If you're still not sold, then just think of how important a major league baseball franchise could be to the Valley. First there would be the sense of local pride it would give us. We could be like the MLB equivalent of Green Bay. The Expos would be a true part of this community, not just a team that plays here. They would be embraced, loved, treated like a part of the family, which is certainly more than they ever got in Montreal.

Perhaps by now you have bitten on my idea. Perhaps you're wondering just how we can make this happen. Well folks, that's simple. Give a call, send an e-mail or write a letter to Montreal Expos owner Jeffrey Loria. He must be tired of the lack of support that his team gets and I think we could easily guarantee him the aforementioned 15-20,000 people a game.

And once we get them to move, who knows, maybe we can get Felipe Alou his job back.

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