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MONTREAL — The aboriginal activity you charge to apperceive about the world’s grandest building committed to the Montreal Expos is that it’s additionally the world’s alone building committed to the Montreal Expos.

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You could absorb all day analytic the streets and walls of this burghal and not acquisition one statue, applique or cairn committed to the canicule of Les Expos. It’s as if association were so abashed by the team’s abandonment in 2004 that they vowed to clean its history from their aggregate memories.

Perry Giannias went the added direction. A constant fan, he began accession aggregate Expo-related. Hundreds of game-worn jerseys. Balls, photos, cleats, Gold Glove and Silver Slugger awards. Some items so attenuate that baseball’s Hall of Fame has adopted them for exhibits. All this celebrity and affliction carefully tucked abroad in one man’s basement on a tree-lined burghal street.

MORE RAYS: Hillsborough admiral accumulate aperture accessible for the Rays. But is Tampa still in the game?

So who will do that for the Tampa Bay Rays?

The catechism is not out of line. Abounding bodies see buyer Stu Sternberg’s angle to allotment the Rays with Montreal as a forerunner to abrogation Tampa Bay altogether. In Montreal, they are conspiratorially assumption that the half-season plan will eventually become a abiding relocation.

Which leads to this absorbing conundrum:

The alone bodies larboard in North America who can possibly accept the affliction of accident baseball are some of the aforementioned bodies who would see the Rays snatched from Tampa Bay.

* * *

Sister cities is what Sternberg alleged them. Put Montreal and Tampa Bay together, and two amiss baseball markets become an ideal breach home for the Rays.

Now, the achievability of that plan is still a continued way from actuality certain. Or alike actuality plausible. But the abstraction of Montreal and Tampa Bay administering some accepted baseball amphitheatre is not so outlandish.

Here’s the history of the Expos in 52 words:

An amplification aggregation that started off with 10 afterwards accident seasons. An airedale amphitheater congenital in the amiss allotment of town. Constantly trading abroad its best players aback they became too expensive. A proposed burghal amphitheater that died on the cartoon table. A absurd abstraction to comedy home amateur in Puerto Rico.

Sound familiar?

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Jonah Keri, a built-in of Montreal who has accounting acknowledged books about the 2008 Rays and the history of the Expos, does not appetite to see Tampa Bay abide afterward those bathetic footsteps.

“As abundant as it would be air-conditioned to see baseball aback actuality I would never, ever, anytime ambition a fan abject to lose a team,’’ Keri said. “It stinks. Forget about (Evan) Longoria and (Carl) Crawford. What about Damian Rolls and Dewon Brazelton? Admirers had to ache through all of that to get to this agitative aggregation that wins 90 games. From a fan’s perspective, it’s aching and it doesn’t go away. It leaves a void.’’

RAYS’ MONTREAL PLAN: What All-Stars, agents, ex-Expos were adage in Cleveland

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For several canicule afterwards Sternberg’s announcement, allocution of the Rays bedeviled newspapers and radio airwaves. It’s understandably waned, and now seems too far off in the ambit to actively contemplate.

Sports confined appearance MLB amateur on TV, but no one seems to be advantageous attention. An breezy bout of bristles altered antic appurtenances food didn’t about-face up a distinct Tampa Bay Rays item.

At a Boutique Lids abundance in the burghal Eaton Centre mall, they are affairs baseball caps of added than 20 altered MLB teams. The Athletics are there. The Rangers, Pirates and Braves, too.

There’s not a Rays hat in sight.

When asked if they accept article with a Tampa Bay logo, a agent says the abundance has never agitated the expensive, adapted hats for the Rays.

“We ability accept had some dad caps,’’ she said. “But that was a continued time ago.’’

By the time the Rays affronted the bend in 2008, baseball had already abolished here. Montreal ability accept a 100-year history with baseball dating aback to the accessory alliance Royals breadth Jackie Robinson and added Dodgers Hall of Famers came through, but the burghal and bold seemed to alluvion apart.

Sitting in an alfresco café aloof off St. Catherine artery abreast downtown, longtime Montreal radio host Mitch Melnick talks of how admirers active their affections for years afterwards the Expos left.

It was the afterlife of Expos admired and baseball Hall of Famer Gary Carter in 2012 that seemed to bake an interest, and led to assorted groups basic with the absorbed of bringing baseball back.

“To me, that was the trigger. There was a lot of affect in the air and I anticipate everybody accomplished how abundant we absent baseball,’’ Melnick said. “I was a baseball junkie. I knew every player, every carbon and it aloof abolished from my activity … I never anticipation we’d see baseball again.’’

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* * *

There is one above aberration in these baseball tales. Montreal was already a archetypal franchise.

For several years in the backward 70s and aboriginal 80s, the Expos were winners on the acreage and the box appointment too. They were cartoon added than 2-million admirers a season, topping teams such as the Yankees, Red Sox and Cardinals. The Rays accept never approached that akin of abiding success with crowds.

“There is a assertive brio about actuality Above Alliance and for a boondocks like Montreal that had been activity through some (political upheaval) actuality Above Alliance was a actual big deal,’’ said aboriginal Expos buyer Charles Bronfman, whose son Stephen is arch the accepted buying group. “They talked in French about Les Expos Nos Amours, which agency our admired ones. And it was a adulation affair, authentic and simple.’’

The adulation activity affronted acerb for a lot of reasons, abounding that would complete accustomed in Tampa Bay.

Olympic Stadium, congenital for the Summer Amateur in 1976, is far from burghal in a beneath flush and beneath developed breadth of Montreal. The burghal never consulted the aggregation during the architecture action so it was designed, in essence, for two weeks of Olympic Amateur instead of 30 years of baseball.

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MORE RAYS: Does St. Pete charge the Rays?

It’s a accumulation of accurate with little curbside address or access. The autogenous was not configured with baseball in apperception and the retractable roof, that was added later, never worked.

Major Alliance Baseball has already fabricated it bright that no approved division amateur will anytime be played there again.

And the amphitheater was aloof one of Montreal’s problems. The Expos were additionally aching economically by the abrasion Canadian dollar, and absent TV revenues aback the Toronto Blue Jays were born.

And Montreal never bent a breach on the field. It had acceptable teams, but consistently seemed to accomplishment inches from glory. The acme came in 1994 aback they had baseball’s best almanac but a assignment abeyance annulled the World Series.

Sitting bench in the 1909 Taverne Moderne absorbed to the Bell Centre amphitheatre with a massive video awning assuming the Rangers-Astros game, Matthew Ross laments the affairs that bedevilled a authorization and soured a fan base.

“The adventure of that aggregation was bad timing,’’ said Ross, a communications specialist who has helped advance the accepted baseball accomplishment with his accumulation ExposNation. “If there was a agrarian agenda in ’92 or ’93, we ability still accept a aggregation here. The absolute history of the alignment is bad timing on the field, bad timing with the strike, bad amphitheater location.’’

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* * *

Much of the Expos’ annihilation is traced aback to aback Charles Bronfman awash the aggregation in the aboriginal 1990s. The abutting buying accumulation had little money, and that began a bottomward circling of acid costs, re-selling the aggregation and, eventually, affective to Washington.

Montrealers, by that point, acquainted betrayed and disillusioned. Crowds at Olympic Amphitheater had dwindled to awkward levels, and there was about a good-riddance agency to the team’s departure.

This time, they feel they’re accomplishing it right. Whether Sternberg is complex or not.

“Every night the catechism I apprehend is, “Will they be alleged the Expos?’ I don’t apperceive that answer,’’ said Rodger Brulotte, who abutting the aggregation in 1969 and was eventually allotment of the Expos French accent advertisement team. “That’s not important now. What’s important is accepting baseball back. And that is happening. I don’t apperceive all the details, but Montreal will accept a aggregation again.’’

That affect is not accepted about here.

Stephen Bronfman’s buying accumulation has vowed to body a amphitheater absolutely with clandestine money, gluttonous alone basement funds from the public. The changing questions are what those basement funds will cover, and how abundant is needed.

“The accepted (mayoral) administering would accept a lot of problems with this. It’s not the blazon of activity that appeals to their aborigine base,’’ said Marvin Rotrand, the administrator of the Montreal burghal council. “I don’t see how it can be done. I don’t apperceive how it gets built. You add the acknowledged entanglements of accepting out of Tropicana Acreage and I aloof see the accomplished abstraction as a airship balloon. I don’t anticipate anybody is demography it actively abundant for it to be a above accessible altercation in Montreal.’’

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If there is one activity anybody actuality does assume to accede on, it is that Montreal got a bad rap aback the Expos left. There’s a faculty about Quebec that MLB manipulated affairs so the aggregation could be confused to Washington. Alike Stephen Bronfman appropriate as abundant in Keri’s book Up, Up & Away.

RAYS FANS REACT: No halfsies, Montreal

Montreal admirers accept they adapted better. They captivated up their end of the arrangement whenever the aggregation was winning, and the franchise’s aftermost half-dozen seasons were above their control.

“You apperceive what makes me, array of, not feel bad for Tampa Bay? You guys win. You won a pennant, you went to the World Series, and you still don’t abutment the team,’’ said Giannias, the memorabilia collector. “Don’t analyze the two because we’re absolutely different. We never won anything. You can’t attending at the appearance abstracts and accusation the admirers here. We went through too abundant applesauce to accusation us.

“But I will say this: It sucks to lose a team. You don’t feel it appropriate away. Tampa admirers ability be affronted about the stadium, ability be affronted about the owner. But afterwards a while the acrimony fades.

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“And it aloof absolutely hurts.’’

John Romano can be accomplished at jromano@tampabay.com. Follow @romano_tbtimes.

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