Promoter expects decision next week
SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico -- The promoter who brought the Montreal Expos to Puerto Rico last season expects a decision by commissioner's office next week on his proposal to host the team again in 2004.
Antonio Munoz, the Puerto Rican businessman, guaranteed major league baseball $6.6 million to stage 22 Expos games last season.
"We've had final talks and next week, between Monday and Tuesday, they should decide," Munoz said Wednesday. "The negotiations between me and the major leagues are set. What's missing is the approval."
Bob DuPuy, baseball's chief operating officer, also is considering an offer from Monterrey, Mexico. The players' association has said San Juan is the leading contender, and DuPuy hopes to have a deal by next week.
Under the plan, the Expos again would play 22 games at Hiram Bithorn Stadium. Montreal's games in San Juan probably would be before the All-Star break.
"They asked for shorter trips, improvements to the stadium, and that they hold the team together and resolve to find it a home by 2005,"' he said.
Munoz said players also demanded that their travel schedule take them only between the Caribbean island and the U.S. East Coast -- not more distant locations on the U.S. mainland. Last season, the Expos had to travel from Puerto Rico to Seattle.
The Expos were bought by the other 29 major league teams before the 2002 season, and baseball has discussed a permanent move to Northern Virginia; Portland, Ore.; or Washington, D.C. Major league baseball doesn't want to approve a move until financing for a new ballpark is complete.
Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press
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