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Hey Expos, come on down

How sad that the Major League Baseball owners slipped in and out of town last week without acting on my modest proposal: Bring the Montreal Expos to Boston.

It is all so obvious. Big league baseball towns worthy of the name have two teams: New York, Chicago, Los Angeles. Boston had two major league teams during much of the 20th century, until the Braves moved to Milwaukee, and subsequently to Atlanta. Just four years after leaving the accursed Hub, the Braves reached the holy land, beating the Yankees in the 1957 World Series. They've seen plenty of Series since.

We've kept their stadium warm for them -- Nickerson Field, just up the street from Fenway. Now it's time to find a new tenant. The homeless, stateless, ownerless, Montreal-and-temporarily-playing-22-games-in-San-Juan Expos? The floating garbage barge of Major League Baseball? I know what you're thinking: We already have a team full of star-crossed unwinners; who needs Montreal? Aficionados remember 1994, when the Expos had the best record in baseball, only to see their playoff hopes dashed by a strike. But a brief survey of the facts may convince you otherwise:

* The Expos are winners, not losers. They were four games over .500 as of yesterday. Even if they were losers, having them here would improve the chances of seeing a Boston team in the Series. Say at the beginning of the season the Expos have a 50-1 chance to make the Series, and the Red Sox have a 10-1 shot. Boston's odds of making the series would rise from 10 in a hundred to 12 in a hundred. That doesn't necessarily help John Henry and Theo Epstein, but it helps you and me, the fans.

In the unlikely event that the Red Sox and the National League Boston Expos met in the world championship, "at least both Boston teams couldn't blow the Series," notes my statistical consultant, Boston University economics professor Michael Salinger.

* No one doubts that the region could support a second baseball team; witness the florescence of Red Sox caps at the Series of Doom in Baltimore, and at the famous Montreal interleague series of July 2001. Back then the Expos more than quadrupled their average home attendance of 8,000 per game when Red Sox Nation converged on Olympic Stadium for three days of heady cross-cultural exchange. Sox fans "love their strip clubs and they get drunk too fast," a bouncer named Player at the Choix des Gentlemen club commented to the Montreal Gazette. "But they're like kids. They're harmless. They don't cause any problems for us."

It seems worth mentioning that the legal drinking age in Montreal is 18, contributing to its appeal.

* Our French Canadian friends are swarming all over Maine this time of year. Perhaps it would be an added attraction for them to drive a few miles farther south, buy Boston Expos tickets, and pour their worthless Canadian dollars into our economy.

I think the visiting fans will like the Boston game -- it's so much quicker. One national anthem instead of two, or the three that are sung when the Expos play in their San Juan digs. (Yes, they play the Puerto Rican anthem. But I thought Puerto Rico was part of . . . never mind.) And no bilingual stadium announcements will be necessary down here. I doubt Expos star Vladimir Guerrero much likes being called a "voltigeur" (outfielder) anyway.

But there's more. If attendance flags at Nickerson, Pedro Martinez can always walk a few blocks west to pitch for the team that helped him win his first Cy Young Award. Heavens knows Expos voltigeur Wil Cordero will rejoice at the prospect of returning to Boston. We've completely forgotten about that wife-beating thing, Wil, really. Big league players adore the press here, and vice versa. Come feel the love. And if the Expos don't catch on, well, we can always use them for spare parts. Theo has been dying to recruit lanceur -- sorry, pitcher -- Javier Vazquez from Montreal. That should be a lot easier once Vazquez has settled into Boston and smelled the Sam Adams.

Speaking of which, mightn't a second team apply some downward pressure on ticket and concession prices? $4.95 for watery swill masquerading as beer? Mais non! I don't think Youppi!, the Expos' upbeat mascot, will stand for it.

Alex Beam is a Globe columnist. His e-dress is

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