Twenty-five years ago Monday, Aug. 12, 1994, the Montreal Expos appeared to be bound for that fall’s World Series, Major League Baseball’s ode to glory, the reason why players play and fans go to games.
For those who may have never experienced it, a baseball pennant race is a joy to behold and experience.
Unlike most other sports, games are played virtually every night and much time is spent around around town discussing and arguing about what took place at the stadium that night and what it meant.
On August 12, 1994, the Expos were on fire: a team of young, exciting players who were running away with the National League East, six games ahead of their long time nemesis: the Atlanta Braves, with a 74-40 record.
The Expos had won 22 of their previous 26 games.
The team and its fans were floating on a gorgeous cloud.
It all ended.
Pick a side if you wish.
What we know for certain is that what happened that day was the start of a long downward slide to oblivion for the Expos and their fans.
A decade later, the team was gone--to Washington D.C., no less.
No more, would Expos’ radio and tv broadcasts filter through to our collective soul on soft summer nights.
Many have never forgotten the Expos and there is talk–fuelled by terrific turnouts for a couple of Toronto Blue Jays exhibition games played at Olympic Stadium every spring–that the boys of summer will someday return.
That remains to be seen.
All we really know is that something important for many, many Canadians was lost that Aug. 12, 1994.
I was at Olympic Stadium that day.
So was Richard Griffin, who was director of media relations for the Expos.
Griffin left Montreal the following year to become the Toronto Star’s chief baseball writer.
Last year, he joined the Blue Jays as their director of baseball media.
He joined me by phone Tuesday from Toronto.Listen