This One Is About The Expos

05Aug09

BigO

“I would like to share this with the people in Montreal that are not going to have a team anymore, but my heart and my ring is with them too.”
— Pedro Martinez, upon winning the World Series with the Boston Red Sox, 2004.

I do not follow Major League Baseball. If you were to ask me who was leading the AL East right now, I would have no idea… I would guess either the Yankees or Red Sox and probably be right, but I would really have no clue. If you were to ask me who won the NL MVP last year, I’d say ‘no idea’ and then you would tell me and it would probably be some player I have never have heard of before.

Let me be clear: I do not follow Major League Baseball. I simply do not care. I do not care who won the World Series last year, I do not care who won the Cy Young award. In either league. It does not matter a whit to me. So why, you are probably asking yourself, would I bother making this proclamation, wasting my time writing this screed if I indeed care so little about Major League Baseball? Well, it was not always this way. In fact, there was a time when baseball was my life, my obsession. I have a good memory, see, matched with a thirst for knowledge and a love of facts and numbers, all of which made baseball an obvious choice for a young man of these inclinations. I was also an alright athlete and developed into a decent hitter in time, but all this is beside the point.

The point is, I no longer give a shit about something that mattered more to me than pretty much anything else. The average Friday night for the fifteen year-old version of myself? If there was no ballgame on, there I would be, glass of chocolate milk to my right, bag of zesty Doritos to my left, with the latest issue of Baseball America or Baseball Weekly opened in front of me on the kitchen table. I would pore over the statistics, both major and minor league — something which Baseball Weekly was indespensible for — looking for the next saviour toiling away somewhere in the minors, be it Harrisburg Pennsylvania, Burlington Vermont or Ottawa Ontario, putting up numbers which would someday lead to an MVP-caliber season for the object of my affections:

The Montreal Expos.

It should now be well clear to baseball fans why I no longer care about Major League Baseball. It was not the perpetual, ongoing PED saga, the overinflated salaries or the goddamn New York Yankees. I was – hell, still am – an Expos fan; I will go to my grave a die-hard ‘Spos fan with that ridiculous logo adorning my headstone like the marker of tragedy it is.

My beloved Expos.

I miss them more than words can fully express, that wretched team of broken promises, squandered potential and heartbreak. Sure, after 1994 I never honestly expected them to win a blessed thing, but I could always dream. 1994, in and of itself, was a microcosm of Expo fandom, an exercise in denial and false hope. ‘Oh, they won’t strike.’ Sure. ‘The Spos are gonna win the World Series!’ Yeah, right, pal. What the Spos are going to do is cruise to the best record in baseball then be neutered by a strike, a salary-shedding fire sale and more management changes and empty promises than one would care to remember, all of which contributed to a death which took ten years, culminating in a move to Washington DC.

I am not a Washington Nationals fan.

Sure, they have managed to keep the classic Expos theme of underachieving futility alive, but without any of the style or drama, without any of the arms or bats — because that is the one thing you cannot take away from the Expos: they could always provide other teams, if not themselves, with the building blocks to a successful franchise. Who knew the unfriendly confines of that crumbling concrete behemoth, Olympic Stadium — Le Stade Olypique, or more simply, The Big O — would prove such fertile grounds for world-class talent? Well, Expos fans, for one.

Larry Walker, Pedro Martinez, Vladdy Guerrero, John Wetteland, Rondell White, Orlando Cabrera, Moises Alou, Marquis Grissom — just to name a few.

But all this has been said before and, to those not in the know, will come off as so many sour grapes. So, to fellow Expos fans, I feel your pain brothers and sisters. I feel your pain. To Bud Selig and Jeffrey Loria? May you rot in baseball hell for eternity along with Roger Clemens, Barry Bonds and the rest of the unworthy scum.

With that in mind, maybe someday my Expos pain will start to fade and I will be able to sit and watch an MLB game in its entirety without thinking one painful Expos-related thought. Maybe I will rekindle the passion, stoke the embers which may yet lie smoldering somewhere in the recesses of my blackened baseball heart. Maybe I will don some ill-fitting merchandise and sit eating chips, drinking beer and yelling at the television. Maybe my new favorite team will win the World Series and I’ll turn to my future children and say ‘The Expos wouldn’t have done it that way, no siree!’

And maybe that will be just fine.

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5 Responses to “This One Is About The Expos”

  1. I hear you.
    I pay little attention to the National League, but loved games in Olympic Stadium, drinking Fifty. I also liked those multi-colored Expos hats. The stadium, though, was what was cool. I liked Fou Fou Electrique and the Jazz Festival and so on, but regret I won’t be going to any more games there.

  2. I remember reading an SI (or was it ESPN? I forget) simulation that finished the 1994 season. They had the Yankees over the Expos in the World Series. Typical. I have my own simulation. Pedro Martinez threw the 2nd no-hitter in world series history to clinch the series in 5 games over the Yankees. Why wasn’t it a perfect game? Because he hit Wade Boggs in the face with a wicked heater and subsequently ended Boggs’ career.

    I fucking hated Wade Boggs, in case you didn’t notice. How could I not? He played for the Red Sox, Yankees and the Devil Rays, all hated rivals of my beloved Blue Jays.

    Now, I know you don’t give a rat’s ass about the Jays, probably even hated them, but don’t you think both teams would have been better off if they had actually played each other on a regular basis and established a fierce rivalry?

    I guess that would have made too much sense. Much better to move a team to Washington and make sure they only face Baltimore a handful of times per year. Much better to turn a great defensive sport into a homerun hitting freakshow to put butts in the seats. Bud Selig is a genius.

    What a sport. I still follow the Jays religiously. When they eventually move to Las Vegas or whatever, I’ll stop watching too. Until then, FIRE J.P RICCIARDI!

  3. 3 arsebundren

    Wayne, we’ve been over this before — I too used to love the Jays, until they blew it against the Twins in the ’91(?) ALCS. From that point on they were dead to me, World Series champions or not. But yeah, if both teams had been in the same league it probably would have been beneficial to both. It would have to have been a move to the NL by the Jays, though. The American League sucks: Yankees, the DH rule and a distinct lack of class. Or something. I don’t know. I don’t really watch baseball anymore. Maybe the AL is cool now.

    • No, the AL still sucks. the DH rule is so t-ball-esque. I would have loved for the Jays to move to the NL. Who the hell wants to play in a division with not one but two teams that literally try to buy championships every year?

  4. 5 Dave Martin

    I thought maybe I was the only one still hurting… the 15-year-old version of ME would play RBI Baseball with the NL All-Stars and leave the Big Cat in the starting lineup. How’s that for dedication? Thanks for this.


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