Category Archives: Montreal Expos

Expos-ing The Sleeve

This might not be the right time to throw in something not exactly 2014 playoffs-related considering the thumping the boys took yesterday, but what do want me to do, rehash the nightmare? I’ve already done that.

I just thought the following might be of interest, that’s all.

After the Rocket passed away in May of 2000, the Montreal Expos played the rest of the season with number 9 patches on their sleeves in tribute to the great hero, who, I might add, gave the New York Rangers plenty of trouble in his day.

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Jays And Mets On Expos Turf

More than 90,000 fans packed Montreal’s Olympic Stadium this weekend to not only watch the Blue Jays and Mets in exhibition action, but to also show their love for the Expos, Gary Carter, and the 1994 team which might have won it all if it wasn’t for the players strike midway through that would ultimately and sadly cancel the World Series.

I wasn’t at the Big O this weekend, but I wish I was. When tickets went on sale last year, I still wasn’t sure if we’d be in Montreal at this time.

Bleacher seats were available in the last few days, but I didn’t want to sit in them. I was in the upper deck in left center field at the 1982 All-Star Game at the Big O and I hated it. I felt like I was watching the game from St-Hyacinthe.

Don’t forget, even great seats at this gigantic echo chamber are far away. There’s that track running around it that pushes the seats further back. And maybe the seats are on a more gradual slope than other parks, I’m not sure. Seems like it though.

This isn’t the friendly confines of Wrigley Field.

So I didn’t go this weekend and I regret it. But seeing clips on TV of that spotty field again reminded me of how much I despised that ballpark.

Below is an Expos reply from 1987 when I was looking for tickets. I went often when I was living in Ottawa.

I loved the Expos, as so many did, and maybe they’ll come back. I sure hope so.

But guaranteed it won’t be the Big O they come back to.

Expos 1

Expos 2

Habs Snuff Sens

Solid win Thursday night at the Bell Centre as the boys lance the Senators boil and close off the preseason on the right note.

3-1 Habs. The guys played well. At a rink in the downtown core where it should be instead of 45 minutes east of the city in a pasture.

Ottawa grabbbed a 1-0 lead in the first period after Andre Markov wasn’t forceful with a bouncing puck in the crease, and this sort of thing needs to change. We’ve seen too many pucks cross the line behind Carey Price after mad scrambles. A puck in his crease means holding our breath until it leaves. It’s not healthy.

Alex Galchenyuk, chosen third star, tied the game after stripping a Sen of the puck near the blueline, converting a Daniel Briere pass from behind the net, and showing the good hands which will catapult him into superstardom in the not too distant future.

The Canadiens then jumped ahead in the second when Tomas Plekanec surprised Anderson with a blast, finally giving our boys the lead.

It’s more fun watching games when the team is leading. Have you ever noticed that?

Max salted it away after another Briere pass from behind the net, and it seems there’s some fine chemistry with Briere on the Max and DD line. Luci noticed it. And when that happens, it’s real.

Brian Gionta returned and made a clear impact on things. He was smart and poised and assisted on Pleks’ marker.

Carey Price was solid and stopped 29 of the 30 shots that came his way. He tried to shoot it into Ottawa’s empty net with about a second left, it wasn’t hard or high enough anyway, and it’s something he needs to work on. If we’re going anywhere this season, we need more offence from Carey Price.

So there you go, Sens fans. It wasn’t that proverbial piece of cake this time. And if you say you didn’t have Erik Karlsson, we’ll say we didn’t have Alexei Emelin. Different kind of D-man. Important in his own way.

Random Notes:

Shots on goal – Ottawa 30, Habs 25.

Leafs next Tuesday to get the party underway. Great to have a solid win beforehand.

At this time I’d like to express my sadness on the passing of Denis Brodeur. A legendary photographer, he was the Habs official lensman for years, and because he’d enjoyed a fine senior and minor league career, and even an Olympic goaltending stint, he would sometimes suit up as practice goalie with the Habs in the 1950s.

Denis produced quality photos over the years with the Canadiens and Expos, and I know a fellow who has about a hundred Grand Prix photos shot by Denis that I’ve never seen but which he says are amazing. And of course he snapped one of the classic Paul Henderson goal photos.

Denis was 82. By all accounts he was a great man.

 

 

Getting Ripped

Big O

Montreal’s Olympic Stadium was a tremendously lousy baseball stadium, full of echo and a home plate exactly 17 miles from the first row of seats. And from the outside, the place looks like something from Close Encounters of the Third Kind.

My first wife and I were there for some of the ’76 Olympics, and over the years we would come down from Ottawa several times a season to see the Expos.

But that’s neither here nor there.

The main thing is, it’s been announced that more than 2700 rips in the roof have occurred between last November and May.

That’s a lot of rips. What’s the roof made of, soft plastic?

Do workers get up on top and walk around counting the rips? And are they wearing cleats on their boots which are causing the rips?

And to make this post even more interesting than it already is :-(, I’m including a joke Willie Nelson told in Rolling Stone magazine.

Guy went to a doctor for a physical. The doctor says, “First thing you have to do is stop masturbating.” The guy said, “Why?” Doctor says, “So I can examine you.”

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Thingamabobs

I bought a brand new size large Montreal Expos t-shirt the other day, brought it home, washed it, and now it’s a size small, which means I’ve never worn it and never will.

Twice I dialed a Telus 1-800 number,  twice the phone rang, and twice my friend Mike in Toronto, who has a 905 area code, picked it up. How could this be?

Anyway.

Have a great night. Get a good night’s sleep. Then wake up, enjoy a heart breakfast, and help a little old lady across the street.  You never know, she might be a billionaire with no friends or relatives.

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Mick

 

 

 

 

 

 

Binder Power

Baseball has its dog days of summer, but so does hockey. The Canadiens haven’t played a game since losing 6-1 to the Ottawa Senators on May 9 in the opening round of the playoffs, bowing out four games to one in the process.  If my math is right, that’s 64 days ago.

It’s been a long time, and it’ll be a while yet before the puck is dropped for real again. And I’ve never come to grips with losing the Expos. It still hurts, and I’ve tried to revert to my childhood team, the L.A. Dodgers, but without Sandy Koufax and Don Drysdale, it just hasn’t been the same.

So I go to my binders and start pulling stuff out.

My brother used to be the bass player in country singer Michelle Wright’s band. He and Michelle ended up living together and had a place in Nashville, although things, as they tend to do, came to an abrupt end and my brother now has a wife and daughter and moved on a long time ago from those days.

Michelle would sometimes send me things, and today I found this as I was going through old binders.

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A Big Thanks And Merci

To everyone here and on Facebook, Twitter, and Hockey Inside Out, I’d like to say thank you so much for your well-wishes on our upcoming move to Montreal. It’s a big chapter about to begin for Luci and I.

I even saw the little wooden bastard Gaston shed a tear, but I think it was only because he’s emotional at the thought of those beautiful Montreal women.

It’s a chance to work for such an iconic company, Classic Auctions; it’s a chance to live in Montreal, a city I have great affection for; it’s a chance to be near the team which is so close to my heart; it’s a chance to be near Ontario, where so many of my friends and family are; and it’s a chance to simply try something new, late in life, instead of sitting around and not doing much and getting fat and even more homely than I already am.

I was about 14 the first time I was ever in Montreal, when a friend and I took a bus from Orillia to see a game at the old Forum, which was several years before the 1968 renovations. I can remember waking up on Sunday morning in the downtown hotel and looking out the window and thinking that the Montreal Canadiens players were at home somewhere not far away, and I wondered what they might be doing.

It was magical for me, and the memories have remained lodged in my little memory bank. What’s left of it.

Cripes, I think I even heard church bells ringing. Yes indeed, it was a holy moment.

As an adult living in Ottawa, I’d go to the Forum several times a year, and in summer I’d often make the two-hour trek down to see the Expos, a team I absolutely loved, at the horrific Olympic Stadium, which I absolutely despised.

Now I’m going back to Montreal, only this time to live. It might not be for a long time, but then again it might. It all depends on how the job feels, and whether I’ll be suitable for the good folks at Classic.

I’ve always been one to take chances and move around, it’s in my blood, and I can’t wait to get this thing going. Even the drive across is going to be great.

Your comments are so much appreciated. My blog has been a vehicle to something very special, which is the connection I’ve made with you, and although I think I’ll be very busy in this new job, my little site will carry on. I’ll make time for it. It’s become too important to me to discard.

Thanks again for your wonderful messages. I’m very touched.

Anne And Gordie

Gordie Howe was in Montreal for an Eaton’s appearance tour in the 1970′s, and while there he did a T.V. taping session with singer Anne Murray. The taping was at the Forum, and Anne wore Howe’s sweater while Howe wore John Ferguson’s.

Murray was quoted in Gerry Patterson’s book “Behind The Superstars” as saying to Howe, “This is my girlfriend’s coat and she wants you to touch it all over. But wait till I put it on.”

Howe playfully asked Patterson, “Hey, corporate coordinator, I’ve got Fergy’s sweater on. Is it okay if I attack her?”

Just some good, old-fashioned flirting.

Gerry Patterson, who passed away in 2005, ran a successful sports management team that looked after the affairs of Jean Beliveau, Howe, Guy Lafleur, Rusty Staub, Nancy Greene, and many others.

Anne and Gordie

Finally Seeing Dodger Stadium

It took awhile, 50 years in fact, but I finally saw a game at Dodgers Stadium. Talk about crossing something off the bucket list.

When I was a kid I thought Los Angeles was just one big ‘Leave It To Beaver’ set, with peaceful, crime-free and clean streets, where bikini-clad Annette Funicello-types danced around bongo-playing surfers on nearby beaches, and where everybody’s houses were nicer than my house. It took me a few years but I found out I was slightly off on all this.

But I always knew, without question, that the ballpark was the real deal.

I originally wanted to go to Dodger Stadium mostly, I think, because there were palm trees in the background, behind the outfield bleachers. And I guess the fact that the team had Sandy Koufax and Don Drysdale back then, along with speedy Maury Wills, big 6’7″ Frank Howard at first base, and kindly old Walter Alston calling the shots. That was then, but long after these guys had called it quits, the place still held huge mystique for me. And last month I finally went.

Dodger Stadium is a real big-league ballpark, a beautiful place to see a game, unlike that cavernous echo chamber in Montreal named Olympic Stadium. Maybe if Montreal had the stadium L.A. has, the Expos might still be there.

On the night we were at the place, which is also called Chavez Ravine, the Dodgers were trying to catch the Cardinals for a NL wild-card spot, but the Cards disappointed most of the 43,309 fans by squeaking out a 2-1 win and making things very difficult for the Dodger’s postseason hopes. But being given nice fleece Dodgers blankets on our way in softened the blow, and the seats, somewhat.

Random Notes:

IndyCar driver Helio Castroneves threw out the first pitch and did a lousy job of it, bouncing one in. And the 22 oz. beer was ten bucks, which of course was way too much. The popcorn was ten bucks too.