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Wednesday, March 17, 2004
Group submits bid for 'Connecticut Colonials'

ESPN.com news services

HARTFORD, Conn. -- A Massachusetts-based real estate developer has submitted a bid to move the Montreal Expos to Connecticut, but Major League Baseball is not giving the plan much consideration.

John Alevizos of Wellesley, Mass., who helped Toronto land an expansion franchise in the mid-1970s, has organized a group of investors who want to buy the Expos and relocate the club to Connecticut.

Alevizos was quoted as saying in Wednesday's editions of The Middletown Press that his group offered more than the $125 million the other 29 teams paid for the Expos three years ago. Alevizos told the newspaper his group is looking at several locations around the state to build a 34,000-seat ballpark.

The proposal was given to Chicago White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf, a member of the relocation committee. But it has not yet been forwarded to Bob DuPuy, baseball's chief operating officer, or to officials in the commissioner's office, baseball spokesman Rich Levin said Wednesday.

"My optimism has no bounds," Alevizos told The Hartford Courant.

The Expos also are being sought by Las Vegas; Monterrey, Mexico; Norfolk, Va.; Northern Virginia; Portland, Ore.; San Juan, Puerto Rico; and Washington, D.C. Baseball hopes to make a decision by the All-Star break in July.

Currently, the only major league team in the state in any sport is the Connecticut Sun of the WNBA, but there are three Double-A Eastern League baseball teams and several independent minor league teams in Connecticut.

Alevizos told the Courant, for Tuesday's editions, that private funding would provide for a 34,000-seat stadium that because of its relatively small size would drive up demand for season tickets. The Hartford area is where fervent interest in the Yankees and Red Sox collides, but as a National League team, the transplants -- who would be known as the Connecticut Colonials -- would not be able to draw on that interest to any great extent.

The Courant reports that the real estate firm of Colliers, Dow & Condon, which is helping Alevizos, claims that the four sites being considered do not infringe on the territory of other major league teams.

"I think Connecticut is the perfect location," said Alevizos, a Red Sox vice president in 1969-74 and former Boston University business administration professor. "If [baseball] does their homework, they'll agree."

Bids of various degrees of seriousness also have been launched from Washington, Northern Virginia, Portland, Ore., Las Vegas and New Jersey.

Connecticut first had major league baseball in 1872 when Mansfield of Middletown joined baseball's first major league, the National Association, for part of the league's second season. The team disbanded in August. Hartford joined the league in 1874 and New Haven was in for one season, 1875.

The National Association evolved into the National League in 1876 and that was the last season that Connecticut had a major league baseball team. The next year, the Hartford Dark Blues moved to Brooklyn.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.