Another Major League Baseball season has come to a close, with the San Francisco Giants winning their second World Series in three years after sweeping the Detroit Tigers. Their manager, Felipe Alou, celebrated with his players as they won the most prestigious title in baseball.
What does this mean to Montreal? Well, Felipe Alou was part of the Montreal Expos organization from 1976 to 2001, going from batting coach to team manager in just a few years. This is just another reminder of how much Montrealers miss the Expos.
Our city made a grave mistake. It’s true, the Expos didn’t have the most fans, they never made it to the World Series and they played in a crumbling stadium: it’s no wonder they ended up relocating to Washington. But like any successful business, money needs to be invested in the team; to acquire star players, to fix stadiums and to win seasons. That’s how a good business is run, and that’s how you attract fans. The Expos just needed an enormous push in the right direction, not an unceremonious relocation.
As you walk around the city today, vintage Expos hats and shirts can be seen everywhere worn by old and especially young. This tells me one thing: that despite the Expos being long gone they are still not forgotten, and they are sorely missed.
Tony Portolese, lifelong Expos fan, said it best when he said “there’s an emptiness” in the summer. No more ball games. No more rooting for the home team. No more Expos.
Montreal needs a baseball team. More precisely, we need the Expos back. In such a diverse, enormous metropolis, the more sports teams, the better. They bring the city together. Despite having made the move to Washington eight years ago, the past year has seen many rumours about potentially bringing a baseball team back to Montreal.
It all started when Expos legend Gary Carter passed away from brain cancer in February. Thousands of fans mourned, and a park in Montreal was renamed in his honour.
The hype was back. Even in a province like Quebec, which has many European characteristics compared to the rest of North America, baseball was a sport that helped define our city. We had the Expos in the summer and the Habs in the winter. What do we have now? After 35 years of representing in the MLB, Montrealers haven’t simply forgotten about the sports they loved.
“You have to start somewhere, and what better time to start than now?” former Expo Tim Raines told The Canadian Press. “So hopefully we can get a team back here in the near future.” Raines explained that the city should immediately build a small league team, that can move up to the big leagues in a few years.
Montreal summers need more life. I want to see dads bring their kids to a ball game. I want to see life again in the Olympic stadium. More importantly, I want to see the Expos back in Montreal.
There’s no better feeling than watching a baseball soar out of the parc and being the one to catch it in the stands. It’s every kid’s dream. Watching baseball games was an important part of my childhood, and I don’t want Montreal’s youth to miss out on one of the greatest sports ever created.