CAUGHT OFF BASE
Lots of baseball fans were surprised that Montreal received one of the two new National League franchises, but the city itself apparently is flabbergasted. Resistance appears to be building—but not the promised 55,000-seat domed stadium. "The city made no commitment regarding the stadium," the chairman of Montreal's executive committee now says. And newspaper editorials have stated flatly that Montreal cannot afford big-league spending—the domed stadium is expected to cost $45 to $55 million. Nor is there any certainty that the club's temporary ball park on the grounds of Expo '67 can be adapted to suit baseball by next April when the team is scheduled to begin play. Canada is in the midst of national elections and no politician has been sporting enough to commit himself to the necessary expenditure.
Furthermore, there must be some doubt as to how the All-American pastime will appeal to French Canada. There was no overwhelming enthusiasm for the sport when the city had a fine Triple A club in the late '50s.
The new team still has no president, no general manager, no coaching staff, no farm team and has given no thought to a spring-training site. "The franchise was gathered in such remarkable style," says Charles Bronfman, one of the major backers, "that it was here well ahead of the organizational groundwork. Three days before the franchise was granted, I wasn't even in, and none of the sponsors had even had a formal meeting."
The chairman of the board of directors (it is reassuring that the team now has one) admits, "We are fighting desperately for time. Frankly, it is going to be a gigantic task to open on the projected 1969 date."
Only the National League seems oblivious to the troublesome situation. "What is happening among the backers of the team and the city over the stadium is no concern of the league's," John Galbreath, a member of the NL expansion committee says. "It is strictly a club matter and we have no part in it. Their problems are their own, not ours."
Looking for ways to give an uplift to its business, The Lovable Company, a manufacturer of brassieres, is offering engineering school students prizes for fashioning new designs. Students at such schools as Harvard, Columbia, Purdue and Carnegie Institute of Technology are being asked to apply complex engineering principles of stress and load to improve brassiere design. They are also, the company hopes, looking for the sporting angles. Lovable has just developed a jogging bra, made of sweat-shirt-gray flannel, for fitness enthusiasts. It will go on sale on August 1 and will retail for $3.
Lovable, isn't it?