Archive for the ‘Montreal Memories’ Category

MLB: Spring Training-New York Mets at Toronto Blue Jays

When I decided to buy a ticket to this past weekend’s exhibition games at Montreal’s Olympic Stadium, I wasn’t expecting to get much out of the actual baseball. Spring training baseball is never about the baseball, and I expected that to be the same in Quebec as it is in Arizona.

But everybody, even the foreigners like myself, could tell as we filed into the stadium and the sections deep into the outfield and deep into the top deck filled up that this was a little more than an exhibition game. By the middle of the first inning most of the 45,000 fans in attendance were parked in their seats. If you didn’t know better, you’d think this game counted.

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Expos Brad Wilkerson signs autographs prior to the start of the team's final home game.

Well isn’t this a nice treat. Author of the new book — Up, Up, and Away — on the star-crossed, beloved, tortured history of the Montreal Expos Jonah Keri joins me in studio to talk about The Kid, the Hawk, Rock, Vladi, Pedro, le Grand Orange, Youppi and all things Montreal Expos.

We also spend a few minutes previewing the 2014 baseball seasons, bantering about teams and players and the like ahead of Opening Day.

RSS/MP3 Link here

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Pete Rose once played for the Expos, it’s true. Did you know that? You should. The good people at Sporcle put together a whole list of random dudes and needs you, dear reader, to decide if they ever suited up for the Expos?

How many Alouses? Spin the wheel of Martinezes. Perez until you drop! It’s almost a holiday for lots of you, kill the rest of your afternoon as you see fit.

The following post is written by Dave Kaufman, host of BALLS! The Baseball Show on the Team990 in Montreal.

I’m thinking back fondly to where I was eight years ago this week.

“Believer Fever” had held her grip through most of the summer, and after taking the first three games of a four game set from the Philadelphia Phillies, the Montreal Expos and their fans knew that the math was simple.

Win the last game of the series, and we’re tied for the Wild Card heading into September.

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Sometimes it’s the little things that keep us together/ That’s’ why I’m an Expo forever

-AnnakinSlayd

I’ve lost two jobs because of baseball. The first time was in 1999. I was telemarketing (a thankless job, my Expos cap is doffed to whoever toils on the phones) – my shift conflicted with witnessing Tony Gwynn’s 3000th hit. The other time was last summer, when I had a gig in logistics for a major Montreal festival that will remain unnamed.  On the second to last day of the fest, I followed my heart, shirked my duties, and jumped on a bus to Cooperstown for Andre Dawson’s induction into the Hall of Fame.

The bus had been chartered by the Team 990, the former flagship radio station for the Expos. Once I had received the invite to join, I knew I couldn’t pass it up.  A few days before, while the festival was in full swing, I decided to mention it to my supervisor. Let’s just say nobody was amused.

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I would like to share this with the people of Montreal who are not going to have a team anymore, but my heart and my ring is with them.

– Pedro Martinez, in the Red Sox locker room after winning the 2004 World Series

It took two seasons for our favourite ace to come back as well. 1999 was the year of Pedro Martinez. Going into that June series vs. Montreal he was 11-1, and on his way to a season rivaled in the modern era by only the likes of Gibson and Koufax. He’d go on to strike out 5 of the first 6 batters he faced in the All-Star game at Fenway, and throw 6 no-hit innings in relief in a playoff game against Cleveland.

Watching Pedro in 1998 was difficult, but watching him in 1999 was akin to torture. It was hard knowing that under different circumstances Expos fans could have still been watching him pitch every fifth day…

When Roy Halladay steps on the mound at Rogers Centre today in front of what will hopefully be a very large and appreciative crowd, I’ll be 500km away and thinking about an interleague series back in June of 1999, when a comparable scene played out in Montreal.

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June 16th, 2004, isn’t a date that lives in infamy for Expos fans, and the names Brian O’Nora and Luis Rivas won’t send shivers down your spine the way that Rick Monday does, nor the way that that ‘94 forever will. It was the date of a meaningless interleague game, with zero importance in the grand scheme of a long season. Yet, as a fan that was there that night, it still rankles.

The box score says that 3,763 fans were in attendance, the second smallest crowd up to that point in the season. Many had left in the 9th inning after Chad Cordero gave up 2 runs and blew his first save opportunity since officially taking the job from Rocky Biddle. By the time the play happened I’d say there were no more than a couple of dozen people left in my section, right above the 1st base dugout.

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