It’s been 10 years now since MLB has returned to the nations capitol. With the Dodgers and Nationals battling each other this weekend in the nations capitol, many are saying that this could be a playoff preview. Should these two teams cross paths in the post-season, it would not be the first time. Prior to big league ball returning to the nations capitol as the Washington Nationals, their history could be traced back to 1969 during their days as the Montreal Expos. In 1981, the Dodgers and Expos would battle it out in an epic best of 5 NLCS that went the full 5. It would be the Expos only post-season appearance and thanks to Rick Monday’s home run in the top 9th that would give the Blue a 2-1 lead and eventual victory en route to a World Series triumph over the Yankees, citizens of Montreal still refer to Game 5 of the 1981 NLCS, played ironically on a Monday, as Blue Monday.
The Expos had some pretty decent players during it’s heyday, from Gary Carter, Andre Dawson, Tim Wallach, Tim Raines. In 1994, a young pitcher, Pedro Martinez acquired in a trade during the off-season, Dodger fans… would be a part of a team, also featuring Larry Walker, a team that many felt would win that season’s World Series. Unfortunately, as their record stood at 74-40, baseball came to a halt, and the season never resumed. Many to this day feel the Strike of ’94 not only killed the Expos chance at winning a World Series, it killed the Montreal Expos, if not an immediate death.
After the 2004 season, MLB relocated the Expos to DC. It was often said by those in the MLB office and among the Expos brass that Montreal was not a baseball town due in large part to sparse attendance. I’m not so sure. It also did not help matters that the Expos, for many years, we’re having stadium issues, playing their home games in what many called an ashtray, Olympic Stadium.
Prior to the Expos becoming a MLB franchise in 1969, Montreal already had a proud history of baseball with the Montreal Royals serving as the Brooklyn Dodgers minor league affiliate. Jackie Robinson and Roberto Clemente, two of baseball’s most influential figures, would make their way up to the big show through Montreal.
Today, there is talk that the city of city of Montreal is ready for baseball to return. Attendance at recent exhibition games in Montreal could be a glimpse of hope that big league baseball is ready to return to Montreal. Who knows ? Perhaps the day will come when our beloved Boys in Blue will continue to some day provide more happy moments from The City of Saints. ( On a personal note, perhaps I can hear the bilingual version of Oh Canada echoing through Chavez Ravine once again on a yearly basis…) .