Baseball! Americas favorite pastime, coming to (insert screeching tire sound) Canada! Okay, it is not a new phenomenon; baseball already exists in Canada, even though Toronto would like to think they are an American city. It has already been in Montreal as well, until it left the city in 2005 for the capital city of the US of A. This weekend, however, the MLB is coming back to Montreal for a couple of pre-season games. It is a long cry from getting baseball to actually put a team in Montreal but it is definitely a start and a way for the city of Montreal to reach out to the MLB and show them that the city can support a team.
The fans seem to be purchasing tickets in droves, or maybe that’s just a few scalpers buying up all the tickets, but the Olympic Stadium is poised to be packed and noisy. There are a few typical things you will see at baseball games and usually any sporting event. This event is anything but typical for the event driven city of Montreal. For baseball fans who want a team back, it is a chance to show up in massive numbers and make a statement to Major League Baseball. We are here, we are loud and if we cheer enough, maybe the Tampa Rays will come following after. For most other people, they may want to either just enjoy a baseball game with their buddies or well, it is an event in Montreal that everyone is going, so I am going too. So what will be seen at the Olympic Stadium? Which crowd will be louder? The “we want baseball” crowd or the party crowd that is just constantly around the city of Montreal? Will there be any stupid shenanigans? Most likely!
Girls clearly had to make the list because, well, its Montreal. The city is known having beautiful women. What a legacy! The ’94 Expos cannot even compete with that. The girls will either be girlfriends or wives of the real fans or the girl who wanted to be one of the guys for the day and got a free ticket from a guy looking for an excuse to hang out with her. Sprinkled among those girls will be the women who were fans of the team back in the day and fawned over the likes of Gary Carter and Larry Walker both for looks and of course their stats. Not those stats! Stats like HRs and RBIs. What will make the girls in this crowd particular will be the ones decked out in Expos jerseys and caps, with logos painted on their faces when neither them nor the guys they came with can name three Expos. There will of course be the attention seeking females who, if the temperature happens to be even 2 degrees above freezing, will be wearing skirts with long socks and baseball caps, because they are fans, right? Regardless of what they are wearing or not wearing, surely there will be women to be seen at this game because after all, this is a big event and in Montreal everyone loves an event.
There is no guarantee that Emmanuelle Chriqui will be there, but we can hope.
4. The Drunk Guy who Suddenly Loves Baseball
Surely at 9 dollars a beer there may not be a whole lot of drinking going on at the Olympic Stadium. There is, however, always that one group who are just there to have a good time, no matter the cost and the one guy who keeps buying round after round, inning after inning. This is the guy that will definitely be noticed by many fans at the games over the weekend. He came to have a good time and probably has a vague recollection of the Expos, but after 4th inning and 6th beer, this is the guy who will be leading the chants of “we want baseball,” just because he can and just because he is there. He will annoy true fans beside him by spurting out his very limited knowledge of seasons past and also by calling the plays happening on the field. Eventually someone will tell him to shut up and he will because he is still calm at the 6thinning and into the 7th inning stretch. By the 8th inning however, the security may have to be called and a guy who doesn’t really love the game will have to be escorted out by his friend who will be crushed inside because he loves baseball and the score is 5-5 in the bottom of the ninth.
3. The Guy who Will Wear Any Team Cap or Jersey From Any Sport
There are always these types of people at any given sporting event, like the guy at Yankee stadium wearing the Green Bay Packers jersey and Boston Celtics cap. What? Why? Green goes with green, I guess? It’s funny to see because those people are not fans of what they are coming to watch. They are sports fans and sports fans are passionate about their teams, no matter where they are. Sometimes however, they just seem out of place. What made you wake up in the morning, go to a baseball game and flaunt your support for a different team in a different sport? What kind of reaction did you think you were going to get from the people here to watch the game who are fans? These “sports fans” show up at almost every sporting event, surely there will be more than a few at the Olympic Stadium on the weekend. On a side note, given the nature of hockey in Montreal, it stands to reason that there will be a few Montreal Canadiens Jerseys prevalent in the bleachers. These people sporting the Habs gear WILL have done it on purpose, in some sort of attempt to fit in with the baseball fans whom they know nothing about. They love hockey, love their team and want to fit in with a bunch of people who loved a team from the same city as their team. Or of course they could be wearing it to show that hockey rules and baseball drools, but, who know? Either way, be sure to keep an eye out for the Bleu Blanc et Rouge.
2. The Homemade Sign Thanking Major League Baseball
Surely there will be tons of homemade signs in the audience, anything ranging from the numerous acronyms of any TV station showing the game, to giving a shout out to a loved one who couldn’t make it. Sure as there will be beer flowing, there will be a sign from one or several huge baseball fans thanking the MLB for bringing an exhibition game to the city of Montreal. The sign of course will be made with plenty of love and commitment because it alone will be the main source of convincing Bud Selig to bring baseball back to Montreal. A perfectly crafted sign can change the minds of many people. On the note of signs, there will also be shout outs to former players who aren’t necessarily at this game or even the pleading sign to bring baseball back. Something along the lines of “I’ll name my kid Bud if you give us a team” and an arrow pointing to his annoyed wife’s baby bump. The pleading signs will be numerous and so will the thank you signs, but no matter what, they will undoubtedly NOT play a factor in the decision to bring the game back. The fans don’t care though, they just want to be on the opening credits of SportsCenter when it all boils down to it.
1. The True Blue Baseball Fan
These types of people are hopefully what the stadium will be filled up with. Diehard fans of the Expos, who’s hearts were ripped straight out of their chests when the Expos moved away. The fans who secretly plot death scenarios for everyone involved in the relocation of the team. Would be nice to see a stadium filled with fans like them, who know the game and what is going on; why a certain pitch is being thrown and when to steal a base. The type of fan who would probably be able to have an intelligent conversation with baseball brass and explain why Montreal can support a baseball team, will definitely be within earshot of every person at the games. They will be spewing out stats and baseball records of yesteryear while in the process judging the party guys buzz. They will not care however because this is their buzz, their passion that was stolen from them before they ready to let it go.
While they are watching, memories will come floating back like they can almost swear they are living it over again that moment. Perhaps a memory of a cool night in ’94 when the Expos began to pull away from the pack and clearly were the team to be reckoned with come the playoffs, had the playoffs ever happened that year. Or some simple memory of going to the ball park with friends or loved ones to share the game that they love. They will be out there in the crowd and they will be paying attention to the game while reminiscing with friends and when the moment comes to cheer like your life depended on it, they will, because baseball is back. And they will yell so loud that someone might hear it, hear all of those guys and girls in unison, proving to the league that baseball deserves to be in Montréal. That baseball belongs in Montréal and that the Expos, will never be forgotten.