Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Les Expos

The following is written by David Kamoe, a life-long sports fan whose sister is a close friend. David is an avid A's fan, wen to to high school with Drew Gooden and can't believe that Giants commentator Mike Krukow used to refer to the right-centerfield expanse at Pac Bell Park as "Finley Alley," referring to Steve Finley who remarkably wore a Giants uniform for a season. David will likely be stopping by these parts a few times a month, so treat him right. And no sister jokes.

I had a one-point thought of writing about a few teams I consider in the have-not column in Major League Baseball: the Orioles, Royals, Pirates, Blue Jays, Reds, Padres, and Mariners were all on such a list. I wrote out in my head what why I thought they fit into this category. In the end, however, I couldn’t make a cogent piece, so I scrapped it. There was, of course, a team that I left off this list and that may be the ultimate “have not” team: Les Expos de Montreal.

Born at Jarry Parc en Montreal, Quebec in 1969, Les Expos were the first Major League Baseball team born outside of the United States. From the start, unfortunately, they were second class citizens to the Les Canadiens de Montreal. Having already won 14 Coupe de Stanley prior to the birth of Les Expos, les Canadiens were and are the face of pro sports in Montreal.

The two best examples of Les Expos have not status are the following: the number of good players traded away and honoring Maurice Richard. Most people know about Les Expos trading players away. During the late eighties and early nineties, all the following players left Montreal: Andre Dawson, Dennis Martinez, Randy Johnson, Orlando Cabrera, Vladimir Guerrero, Andres Galarraga, Larry Walker, and Moises Alou. The only person to be traded to Les Expos was Pedro Martinez and that was only for three years and pre-Activator.

The other example is not meant as a dig at the late, great Maurice “the Rocket” Richard. The man started a riot for crying out loud! Inadvertently of course, it involved him losing the scoring title because he was suspended by Commissioner Campbell. The example is this: when Maurice Richard passed away in 2000, not only was there a public funeral at the Molson Centre but Les Expos wore a patch with Richard’s No. 9 on it. I can’t think of another time where this has happened anywhere.

Phil Rizzuto passed away died in 2007 and the Yankees wore No. 10 patches. I don’t remember seeing Henrik Lundqvist with a pinstriped “10” on his helmet. The only other cities where I could see this happening are Toronto, Detroit, and Chicago and only if it’s Darryl Sittler, Gordie Howe, or Bobby Hull.

Alas, les Expos are now the Washington Nationals (when the clubhouse manager sews on the letters correctly) and stinking out the joint. At one point, they were on pace to match and possibly eclipse the lowly 1962 New York Mets who lost 120 games.

1 comment:

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