Tag Archives: Montreal Expos

Bring On The Fall Classic

jock

Often I hear folks say they hate baseball and that’s fine. I couldn’t care less about NFL football, including the Super Bowl.

Since I was a kid I’ve loved baseball. Loved to play it, loved to watch it, loved to read about it. I was a big Dodgers fan during the Sandy Koufax, Don Drydale, Maury Wills days. Later on it became the Expos, and now it’s no team in particular.

Of course, loving baseball means loving World Series time, which is now. I can remember in grade 5 when my teacher let me bring my transistor radio to school when the Series was played during the day, and my job was to sit at the back of the class, quietly listen to the game, and as the score changed throughout, write it on the blackboard.

I’m cheering for the Giants over the Royals, even though the Giants were the enemy when I was a Dodgers fan. Kansas City might be a fine place, but San Francisco is my kind of town.

(25 years ago, 63 people died during a massive San Francisco earthquake, and it’s assumed a great deal more would have perished had it not been for Candlestick Park being full of baseball fans for game 3 of the ’89 World Series).

Have a look at  Mr. Ed (the talking horse) give hitting pointers to those L.A. Dodgers from my youth. Quite a horse, that Ed.

Fab Habs Lads Edge Avs

Canadiens beat the Avs 3-2 again for the second time in two nights, only this time in regulation. But more about that below the photo. (It also happens to be three straight wins in preseason by the bleu, blanc et rouge, all by the score of 3-2)

The photo below is from last April when we were in Quebec to paint the town red. Well, not exactly paint the town red. Partied quite a bit, though. Well not exactly partied. Walked around a lot and went to a restaurant.

The historic district of Quebec City is sensational, and a handful of miles away is Le Colisee, The House That Beliveau Built, with the new barn being built next door.

Le Colisee holds 15,399 folks, and on this night when the Canadiens and Avalanche did battle, the attendance was………no idea. For some reason, the  Canadiens.com site was blank with no stats. Didn’t anybody want to do it?

Colisee

Jiri Sekac showed some serious moves, scored a beauty, and is absolutely forcing management to keep him. He had an excellent rookie camp, an excellent main camp, and is now excellent in exhibition games.

Feeling good about Sekac.

Sven Andrighetto, also enjoying a fine preseason, tied things in the second after Colorado had opened the scoring in the first, while in the third, the Avs took the lead once again when Montreal’s Gabriel Dumont was in the sinbin for shooting the puck over the glass.

But soon enough, Sekac, in a magical moment, used his skate to free the puck from goalie Semyon Varlamov and did a cool wraparound to even things at two. And then David Desharnais sent a sweet pass that Brandon Prust had to skate like the wind to catch, and Prust burst in and fooled Varlamov.

Unusual to see Prust behave like a left-handed Guy Lafleur.

The Quebec crowd was pro-Avalanche, cheering for them throughout. The Avs were once the Quebec Nordiques, and all I can say is, when the Expos left Montreal, I could care less about the Washington Nationals.

But there’s always been that built-in rivalry between big city Montreal and the quainter Quebec City, so it’s not really a surprise that Quebec fans cheered against the Canadiens.

Joe Sakic was introduced and given a hardy ovation. Pretty sure that wouldn’t happen with Eric Lindros. (If you’re not aware of the Lindros/Nords situation, give it a Google).

Shots on goal? I don’t know. Like I said, Canadiens.com was blank.

As it was in the first game, only six players played who can be considered regulars or semi-regulars – Tokarski, DD, Prust, Gilbert, Tinordi, and Beaulieu. The rest of the lineup was prospect-packed.

Next up, Washington Capitals at the Bell on Sunday night, probably to lose 3-2.

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

Cheering For The Kings I Guess

It’s taken the Los Angeles Kings only nine games to remove the Vancouver Canucks and St. Louis Blues from the playoff picture, and when is it going to get hard for them? If they keep going like this, the major studios will come calling.

I’ve decided that I’m hoping the Kings go all the way. They’re the one NHL city I can almost accept right now, I suppose because they’ve been around since 1967, the first year of expansion, and for me that’s some solid history. Along with Orillian Jiggs McDonald handling the first play-by-play.  (The other new teams were St. Louis, Pittsburgh, Oakland, Philadelphia, and Minnesota).

Heck, I’m just trying to find a team to cheer for. And it wasn’t going to be Philadelphia.

So why not L.A.? And besides, they win by default  because I could care less about the other teams playing and I like going to Los Angeles. It’s that simple. I thought I might be cheering for the Rangers because the Big Apple is so great, but I haven’t seen many Ranger games, and the ones I have seen, I forget.

And of course, L.A. has magnificent palm trees.

The L.A. Kings were born when the Sunset Strip, a few miles west of the Fabulous Forum, was filled with long haired youth toking and provoking and often forgetting underarm deodorant. The Doors and Janis Joplin blew it out at the Whisky A Go Go in West Hollywood, the streets were abuzz, crowds gathered at the Troubadour and Pandora’s Box and at the theatres to see Dustin Hoffman seduced by Ann Bancroft. Things were hopping, and definitely, the players from that first year in LA were in their new city at a very cool time.

Although I suppose being on the hockey team got in the way of a lot of things.

The Los Angeles Dodgers were my favourite baseball team back then, but I see in checking the Dodgers 1967 season that they finished 28 games behind the St. Louis Cardinals, so I guess they sucked at that time. But regardless, palm trees grew behind the outfield walls at Dodger Stadium and the team once boasted the sensational pitching duo of lefty Sandy Koufax and the righthanded Don Drysdale, who were even more important than palm trees.

L.A.s a good place with great weather. It hardly ever rains, unlike where I live. It’s on the ocean, and there’s some nice neighborhoods, and of course some not-so-nice neighborhoods. I’m sure you’ve seen both in the movies. Also, the freeways are ridiculously packed and drivers on regular streets are on their horns to the guy in front of them about a millisecond after the light turns green. I know about this quite a bit.

But aside from that and a few other things, (okay, a lot of things), it’s a lively and interesting place to visit. I think it always has been. Humphrey Bogart liked it.

For me it would be fine to see the Kings go all the way. Why not?

Keep it going, Kings. Go Dodgers. Go Habs, next year!