Monday, March 29, 2010

Various Baseball Tidbits

So in my travels in Cyberspace, I've come across a few interesting baseball news tidbits that I'd like to share. So here goes.

1. Austin Jackson will be starting for the Detroit Tigers
Jim Leyland announced that rookie Austin Jackson will be starting in CF for the Tigers in the season opener against AL Cy Young award winner Zack Grienke and the Kansas City Royals. Having gotten Jackson in the deal that sent former Tigers CF Curtis Granderson to the New York Yankees, Jackson gets the chance to show his 5-tools with the Tigers. Hope the young man does well in the Motor City.

- To see the article on Austin Jackson from the Detroit Free Press website, click here

2. The Giants sign Matt Cain, Brian Wilson and Jeremy Affeldt to extensions
In news that will make my friend Justin happy, the Giants opened the bank and signed Matt Cain to a three-year, $27.25 million contract, Brian Wilson to a two-year, $15 million extension and Brian Affeldt who was due to earn $4 million in 2010 in the final year of his contract, he will get $4.5 million this year and next with a $5 million club option for 2012 and a $500,000 buyout. This impressive to see from a franchise who has been criticized (especially by me) for not being very active in the big name free agent market. Though I still say they need a big bat in the lineup to protect Pablo Sandoval, locking up their young pitching (Lincecum signed a two-year $23-million dollar deal in the offseason) is a sound move. Maybe the Giants aren't really that trigger shy after the signing busts of Barry Zito and Aaron Rowand.

- To read the article from the San Francisco Chronicle, click here

3. Milton Bradley gone from Chicago but not forgotten
So as MLB's version of Kanye West (Milton Bradley) is announced to be the Seattle Mariners cleanup hitter this season, the Cubs (and their fans who yell Milton Bradley sucks in Spring Training games against the Mariners even when he's not playing) are still trying to shake the stigma of the brief Milton Bradley era along the Northside of the Windy City.

- To read the article on Bradley's becoming the cleanup hitter for Seattle from the Silicon Valley Mercury News webpage, click here
- To read the Chicago Sun-Times article on the continued effect Bradley has on the Cubbies, click here
- To read the USA Today article where Bradley refers to himself as MLB's Kanye West, click here

4. The All-Time Dodgers Pitching Rotation
Johnathan Stillwell describes in his Bleacher Report for the Los Angeles Times what his all time Dodgers pitching rotation would be. He separates the pitching by the Brooklyn era (Early), the Los Angeles era (Modern) and then both combined. The results are truly amazing. Especially since the Dodgers only won one title in their time in Brooklyn.

- To read the article and see the results of the All-Time Dodgers rotation, click here

5. The Phillies window for becoming a dynasty is closing
Dave Sheinin of the Washington Post writes that he believes that the Phillies chance to become a baseball dynasty is closing. As he states in his article:

The core is no longer so young, the future is no longer boundless and the window that keeps The End at bay is closing fast.

He makes an interesting point especially when stating that the contracts of star players are almost finished. Jayson Werth's contract ends after this season. Rollins, Howard, Lidge, Hamels and left fielder Raúl Ibáñez all come up after 2011. So do the Phils go the route of the Yankees and spend some cash, or do they trade those guys for draft picks before their deals end. Only time will tell.

- To read the Sheinin article from the Washington Post website, click here


Thursday, March 25, 2010

Finally Yankee-land Makes the Right Decision

It was announced today that The New York Yankees will have Phil Hughes as the 5th starter while Joba Chamberlain will start the season in the bullpen. I've been saying for the last few years now that Joba should not have been in the rotation. To me, his strength lies is the bullpen, especially in the 8th inning role that Hughes occupied last season.

Unless Joba's 0.38 ERA in 19 games with 24.1 innings pitched with a WHIP of 0.750 (34 strikeouts to 6 walks with 12 hits) during the 2007 was a fluke or a product of the league seeing him for the first time, it just seems to me that he should be in the bullpen. His velocity and movement works for the first two times through a lineup but he seemed to lose it within the third time around. Joba went 9-6 with a 4.75 ERA with 32 appearances (31 starts and 1 relief appearance) while struggling during last two months of the season. In addition to that, the fist-pumping and emotional Joba seemed to have that emotion quenched as a starter. On the other hand, Hughes' range of pitches plus his spot on command are better utilized in the rotation instead of the bullpen, though he excelled in the 8th inning role. In that capacity, Hughes made 44 of his 51 appearances in relief, going 8-3 with a 3.03 ERA and 3 saves. His 1.40 ERA in relief was the lowest in the majors.

We'll see how things play out. Maybe Hughes flounders and Joba steps back into the rotation though I believe that they way it is set up now is the ideal scenario. I really wish baseball would go back to the 4-man rotation of old. It seems as if it is a more useful set up, especially in April when the need for a fifth starter is diminished due to off days and days affected by weather. Time will tell. In the end, the Yankees success depends on how these homegrown pitchers fare this upcoming season. Will the hype be fulfilled or will it be just that: Hype.


For further reading:
- Click here for the article on announcing the 5th starter victor.
- Click here for Phil Hughes' stats from
- Click here for an interesting article on Phil Hughes from The Hardball Times website by John Beamer
- Here is another interesting article on Phil Hughes from The Hardball Times website by Josh Kalik
- Click here for Joba Chamberlain's stats from
- Click here for an interesting article on Joba Chamberlain from The Hardball Times website by David Gassko
- Click here for an article from The Hardball Times comparing Hughes' and Joba's mechanics by Carlos Gomez

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Joe Mauer Decides to Stay Home

So ESPN news reported today that C Joe Mauer agrees to an eight-year, $184 million contract extension with the Twins. This is the best thing that could of happened to the Twins and to Baseball.

As a Yankees fan I always get grilled (and at times it is valid) about how the Yankees spend tons of money buying up all the best players (which is often unfair). If that was the case no other team would have any superstars, but I digress.

I commend the Twins in showing a dedication to their city, their players and most importantly their fan base. This shows that the Twins are committed to winning with their core duo of Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau. Mauer's extension runs to the year 2018, Morneau signed his six-year, $80 million extension in January of 2008 which puts the duo together until the year 2014. I remember the day I heard that the Twins were passing on drafting the top prospect of the 2001 draft who happened to be pitcher Mark Prior. Instead, the Twins decided to draft local ballplayer, a catcher no less named Joe Mauer from Cretin-Derham Hall, St. Paul (Note: Prior was drafted at number two with great fanfare by the Chicago Cubs).

The Twins were ridiculed by the media who scoffed at the notion of the Twins not only passing on Prior but doing so by drafting a catcher. Laughs could be heard throughout the baseball world. Prior complied a 42-29 record in 5 season with a 3.51 ERA while Mauer has quietly won 3 batting titles and the 2009 MVP award. One guess on who is laughing now.

Bravo Twins. Now your fans have another reason to celebrate this season along with the new stadium. Pirates' fans must be grumbling why can't their team look out for them as the Twins do for their fans.

For Further Reading:
-Here is the article from ESPN announcing the contract extension for Mauer
- Here is the article from the Minneapolis-St. Paul Minnesota Star Ledger website, Click Here

Friday, March 19, 2010

Bo Jackson

There are times when I wonder if the memories that I hold dear of baseball gone by are colored by my personal views or if they are truly accurate. In reality I believe that it is a combination of both, but sometimes its hard to distinguish from one or the other. For example Pete, Justin and I sit around and shoot the breeze about different players that we have watched play the game. We often get different perspectives since Pete is a Phillies fan, Justin is a Giants fan and I'm a Yankees fan. But it seems that there is one player that we all agree on as being truly amazing. Here is where I wonder if my memories are colored or true. The player we agree on is someone who I believed then, as I do now, could have been one of the best players ever on a baseball diamond. The player was Vincent Edward Jackson, or simply known as Bo.

Bo Jackson was born Nov. 30, 1962, in the town of Bessemer, Alabama. His famous nickname was due to his wild troublesome nature growing up. Originally called "wild boar" by his family, his nickname was shortened to the now famous "Bo". Jackson focused on sports as a way to manage is wildness, especially at McAdory High School in McCalla, Alabama. While excelling in any sport that he focused on, Jackson claimed two state decathlon championships. As a senior, he ran for 1,173 yards on 108 carries (10.9 average) and scored 17 touchdowns in football, and slammed 20 home runs in 25 games in baseball.

Jackson's skill at playing baseball drew the attention of the New York Yankees who drafted him in the 1981. Jackson describes the reason why he decided not to play with the Yankees:

I was a pitcher, shortstop and outfielder, and the Yankees tried to sign me out of high school as a first-round draft pick in 1981. I turned them down to go to college.

Jackson attended Auburn University from 1982-1985 on a sports scholarship. In his freshman year Bo averaged 6.4 yards per rush, sprinted a 6.18 second-yard dash for the track team, and hit .279 as the starting centerfielder in baseball. Jackson's best year in college came in 1985 which saw Jackson lead the nation in all four main categories of ball-carrying as late as the eighth week of the season. At that point, he was tops in total rushing yardage, average per carry, touchdowns scored, and yards-per-game. His performance that season led to Jackson winning both the Walter Camp Award for the exceptional collegiate player of the year and the Heisman Trophy for the most outstanding college football player. Jackson was drafted with the number one pick by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 1986. When told to choose between baseball and football, Jackson chose to sign with the Kansas City Royals, who had drafted him in the fourth round (105 overall) in the 1986 amateur draft (Jackson would be drafted once again for the NFL, this time with the seventh pick by the Los Angeles Raiders who allowed Jackson to play both sports)

It didn't take long for Bo to grace the field at Kauffman Stadium. Bo was called up by the Royals by the middle of the 1986 season and played some of the most exciting baseball for the next 5 seasons with his best season being 1989. Bo had a batting average of .256 with 132 hits (15 2B, 6 3B, 32 HR) and 105 RBI with 26 SB. Bo also had an OBP of .310 and a SLG% of .495 for an OPS of .810 in 135 games. To me, the memorable moment of that season came in the All-Star game. The game was played in Anaheim and while leading off for the American League team against San Francisco's Rick Reuschel, Bo hit a monster shot earning him the honor of All-Star MVP in his only All-Star appearance.

Alas, it was while playing his other sport that led to his demise. Bo Jackson suffered a hip injury on January 13, 1991 in a playoff game for the then Los Angeles Raiders against the Cincinnati Bengals. Bo would never again play football and made a comeback in baseball after receiving hip replacement surgery playing for the Chicago White Sox earning the Tony Conigliaro Award in 1993 which is given by the Boston Chapter of Baseball Writers Association of America in cooperation with the Boston Red Sox Baseball Club to a Major League Baseball player who overcomes adversity through spirit, determination and courage — trademarks of Lynn, Mass., native and Boston Red Sox hero Tony Conigliaro. Bo would play one more season with then California Angels in 1994 before retiring. Here are Bo's career numbers:

Bo Jackson's Career Statistics
8 years

Nostalgia is a big part of what it is to be a Baseball fan. Remembering moments in time whether real or not are what makes the game invaluable to fans like me. Though Bo's career numbers are not much to look at, I'll choose to remember his tape measure homeruns, his running up and down outfield walls, his "Bo Knows" commercials and (in a non baseball memory), the image of Bo Jackson mowing down Brian Bosworth of the Seattle Seahawks on his way to a touchdown on Monday Night Football in 1988. Bo was the man and unfortunately for us, injuries cut his career short. What could have been. Not even Bo knows that.


For Further Reading
- For the official Bo Jackson website, click here
- For Bo Jackson's career baseball statistics from, click here
- For Bo Jackson's page on, click here
- For an ESPN Sports Century article on Bo Jackson, click here
- For Bo Jackson's Heisman Trophy Page, click here

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Pujols vs. Howard

The Baseball world was abuzz yesterday with the presumed leak of a possible trade between the National League Champion Philadelphia Phillies and the St. Louis Cardinals. Though rumors of trades between teams are a common practice, the players involved in the trade are the reason for the excitement. The proposed trade would sent St. Louis Cardinal first-baseman and current league MVP Albert Pujols to the Philadelphia Philles for his defensive counterpart, Ryan Howard. Whether or not this deal is real or not is irrelevant (well except to Pujols, Howard and their respective organizations), for arguments sake, let's look at both players and see which one would be the better deal.

1. Age
Both players are 30 years old, with Howard being a few months older than Pujols. Edge=Even

2. Offense
Both players are MVP caliber players, though Pujols has the edge on Howard with 3 MVP awards to 1. Both players are offensive dynamos who can change a game with a simple swing of the bat. But it is in the areas of batting average, walks and strikeouts that separate Pujols from Howard.

Pujols' and Howard's Career Statistics

Now the career numbers are tilted towards Pujols' favor since he has played for 9 seasons while Howard has played for 6. Here are the average numbers for both players.

Pujols' and Howard's Yearly Average Statistics

Comparing the yearly average statistics for both Pujols and Howard, you can see that Pujols is the more domninating and efficient player. Where Howard is the prototypical power hitter who hits massive amounts of homers (49) while striking out more than he walks (194/90). Pujols is quite the opposite. While he also hits many homers (42), he is much more efficient at the plate in terms of his strikeouts to walks (94/66). Pujols also has a better batting average and OPS compared to Howard (Pujols' .334 BA to Howard's .279 BA/Pujols' 1.055 OPS to Howard's .961 OPS). Edge=Pujols

3. Defense
Both play first-base and though not in the same league defensively as Mark Teixeira of the New York Yankees both are very good first-basemen. The edge would go to Pujols here since he has the same amount of errors at first as Howard but with 3 more years on the bag (64). Pujols also has a slight edge on fielding percentage over Howard (.994 to .990). Edge=Pujols.

4. Meaning to Their Team
Both Pujols and Howard are extremely important to their teams, though I think that Pujols plays a more pivotal role to the Cardinals than Howard does to the Phillies. If you took Howard out of the Phillies lineup, they still have a team that is capable to win many games. Their lineup has the 2007 NL MVP Jimmy Rollins, Chase Utley, Jason Werth and Shane Victorino. Plus the Phillies have the luxury of throwing Roy Halladay and Cole Hamels on the mound every 5th day. On the other hand, if you took Pujols out of the Cardinals' lineup, you 'd be left with Matt Holliday, Yadier Molina, Ryan Ludwick and Skip Schumaker with Chris Carpenter and Adam Wainwright on the mound. Not really the same effect. Edge=Pujols

5. Potential Free-agency
Both players are signed for a few more years with their respective teams. Pujols signed a 7-year $100 million dollar deal in 2004. Howard signed a 3-year $54 million dollar extension in 2009. Both players are currently making about $15 million per year but with free-agency looming large on the horizon for Pujols, it seems as if he will garner a contract similar (if not larger) than Alex Rodriguez's 10-year $275 million dollar deal. It remains to be seen if Pujols would take a hometown discount to stay with the Cardinals. Pujols had the following comments about his contract status with the Cardinals this past January:

“When that time comes, if it’s taking a discount to make this organization better, I want to have a great organization to be in the playoffs every year if we can,” he said.

“Right now I still have a couple of years,” he said. “That’s something that I don’t need to worry about right now. When my time comes, I’ll deal with that. Right now, my job is to let my agent do the talking and I’ll go and prepare for baseball. We’re open. We’re open to talk about it. I can tell you one thing, when the season starts we ain’t talking anything about it. Because my focus is to help this organization to win, and that’s it.

“If it comes to that [free agency], then that’s fine. That’s the decision that they decide to make, and that’s it. Do I want to become a free agent? No, but if it happens, then I have to deal with it. I want to play baseball, so I have to deal with my free agency and go play either here or somewhere else.”

After having signed Matt Holliday to a 7-year $120 million dollar contract this past offseason, will the Cardinals be willing to break the bank to sign Pujols? I think the thought of trading for Howard would mean a lesser contract to be given to Howard when he would be eligible for free-agency over the one that would be given to Pujols. On the flip side, would the Phillies be able to afford a contract of the size that Pujols would garner on the open market? Edge=Even.

As I told Pete yesterday after he notified me of the news of the trade rumor, both Pujols and Howard should be lifers with their teams as Tony Gwynn, Cal Ripken and (hopefully) Derek Jeter are. A player of Pujols' caliber comes along once a generation if a franchise is lucky and since he wants to play in St. Louis, the Cardinals should make every effort to sign their franchise player for the long term. The price they pay will me made back with ease as Pujols continues to climb and knockdown record after record on his way to Cooperstown. On the other hand, Howard is no slouch by any stretch and I believe when it is all said and done, he will be mentioned in the same breath as Pujols and Teixeira as the premier first-basemen of this generation. Both players are adored in their home markets and should be the subject of adoration of hometown fans for years to come.

But if I was Phillies GM, Ruben Amaro Jr., the lure of being able to acquire the game's best player may be too much to ignore. Sorry Pete, I make the deal with no hesitation. What do you guys and gals think. Let me know.


For Further Reading
- An Article from on Pujols and LaRussa thoughts on the trade comments
- An Article from the Philadelphia Daily News about Buster Olney defending his comments on the trade rumors
- The article from by Buster Olney that announced the trade rumor and comments from Pujols and Howard
- A column from the Albert Pujols Fan Club page on his status with the Cardinals and looming free-agency

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Torii Hunter and his "Imposter" Comments

Torii Hunter was part of a USA Today baseball panel on what can be done about improving things within Baseball and some things that he said have caused an uproar. Here is what he said:

Fans look down from their seats onto the baseball field, see dark-colored skin and might assume they are African-American players.

But increasingly, the players instead hail from the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico or Venezuela.

"People see dark faces out there, and the perception is that they're African American," Los Angeles Angels center fielder Torii Hunter says. "They're not us. They're impostors.

"Even people I know come up and say, 'Hey, what color is Vladimir Guerrero? Is he a black player?' I say, 'Come on, he's Dominican. He's not black.' "

"As African-American players, we have a theory that baseball can go get an imitator and pass them off as us," Hunter says. "It's like they had to get some kind of dark faces, so they go to the Dominican or Venezuela because you can get them cheaper. It's like, 'Why should I get this kid from the South Side of Chicago and have Scott Boras represent him and pay him $5 million when you can get a Dominican guy for a bag of chips?'

"I'm telling you, it's sad."

There are certain parts of his assessment that I agree with. As I have stated in a previous post, the academy system in Latin American does favor the teams since they can sign the Latin players at pennies on the dollar to what the teams play prospects here in the United States. Ozzie Guillen adds his two cents to debate by saying:

"I was laughing because when he said, `They go there and sign for potato chips,' I said, `Well, we've got Chapman. They gave him $12 million. [Cincinnati actually agreed to a $30.25 million, six-year contract with pitcher Aroldis Chapman.] We've got [prospect Dayan] Viciedo. They gave him $10 million. I remember in my time, one scout goes [to Venezuela and] 30 players show up. Now, 30 scouts go there and one player shows up.

It is true about Chapman and Viciedo, but I think that the amounts they signed for are a rarity among Latino ballplayers not born here or those who have been raised here in the United States.

But for Hunter to say that the Latino players are "Imposters" is totally bogus. Dark skinned Latinos faced the same discriminatory practices that the Black players faced in the 1950's and 1960's. The fact that they were dark skinned Latinos gave them no advantages when faced with the hate of the times. They didn't just step into the places originally held by the blacks and all was "hunky-dory". They faced the same insult and rants often not realizing why they were being hated since where they were from the idea of color wasn't seen as negatively as it was here.

There was something else Guillen says that leads me to the next point:

"In our country, we play baseball. That's no choice. Here you can play basketball, you can be another athlete, you can do so many things when you have the opportunity. And that's why there's not many [African-American] players out there."

Whether or not that is the truth, I have always said that if you were African-American and had the talent to play professional sports, why would you go through a long period of playing in the minor leagues when you can play at the top level almost immediately in the NBA and the NFL.

Hunter also touches a point that I believe is entirely accurate in certain African American communities:

"I looked at all of the (charity) work I've been doing, and 60% to 70% of the African-American homes are single-parent homes. And they're all mothers. It's hard for a mother to take their kids to practice every day, pay the $1,200 a month to travel and $1,200 for a tournament team."

If Tori Hunter has a gripe with how he (and other players) feels that Major League Baseball has turned their attention away from the inner cities to abroad then he needs to take it directly to MLB. The players are not to blame if the league is choosing to expand their operations and presence overseas. Programs like Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities have made progress in helping to bring Baseball back to the inner cities. But more needs to be done. Baseball has become a pay-to-play sport. In inner city neighborhoods it is often easier (economically) to play Basketball since all you need is a ball. It is easy to find hoops and if one can't be found, a box nailed to a telephone pole is often enough. The article states that the representation of African-American ballplayers 8% of al Major Leaguers compared with 28% for foreign players on last year's opening-day rosters (foreign players includes Latinos, Asians and players from other areas). It is s problem that needs to be continually addressed. The question is how to solve it.

Had Torii Hunter stuck to addressing the deficiencies of Baseball in inner-city African-American communities, rather that taking the us vs. them approach then he would not have caused the uproar that he did. He says he won't apologize. Should he? I'm not sure. He said what he meant to say. He was honest about it. It just shouldn't have been said. Sometimes the freedom of speech is not being able to say anything you want, but to have the freedom to know what to say and when to say it. What do you think.


For Further Reading:

- Here is the original article in USA Today
- Here is the article from ESPN that Ozzie Guillen is quoted in

Monday, March 8, 2010

The Forgotten Franchise

With Andre Dawson’s election to the Hall of Fame this past in January there has been a bit of a renaissance of Baseball’s forgotten franchise: Les Expos de Montréal (1969-2004). Who can forget Randy Johnson with his full frame in the powder blue Expos uniform before he was traded to the Mariners. And how about Pete Rose getting his 4,000 hit in front of close to 48,000 fans in Olympic Stadium. Both Gary Carter and Andre Dawson laid the foundation to their Hall of Fame careers on the artificial turf in Montreal. Tim Raines stole bases in bunches while with the Expos. El Presidente equaled El Perfecto with the Expos. Pedro Martinez blazed his way into the record books in Montreal while the "Impaler" Vlad Guerrero, Moises Alou and Larry Walker were decimating opposing pitching staffs hitting any balls they saw come their way in Le Stade Olympique with the Expos. In the most painful of images, who can forget the images of the Felipe Alou team that was running roughshod over the National League in the lost season of 1994. I can go on and on.

Now you Seattle Pilots fans might say “Hey, what about the Pilots” and you guys and gals could have a point but let me tell you why the Expos are the forgotten ones. The Mariners have worn Seattle Pilots uniforms as their throwback uniforms though the Pilots have nothing to do with the Mariners. For those of you who don’t know, the Pilots played the 1969 season in Seattle before going broke and were moved to Milwaukee by a group lead by current Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig for the 1970 season. The Pilots became the Brewers who replaced the Braves who moved to Atlanta in 1966. So, they aren’t truly forgotten since the Mariners give them recognition and the Brewers also recognize their roots as the Pilots. This is not the case for the Montreal Expos.

The Expos left Montreal after the 2004 season, relocating in Washington D.C. as the Nationals. Major League Baseball recognizes the lineage of the Nationals but here is the rub, the Nationals don’t. As far as the Nationals go, their team came to exist the moment they played their first game as the Nationals. I guess since it is their franchise they can do what they please but to be fair to baseball fans and historians, the Expos should be recognized. So here are my two cents on the Expos.

Sure the Expos never made a World Series and made the post-season a handful of times but nothing should be taken away from that franchise. The Expos were the first franchise that the MLB established outside of the borders of the United States and was only the 3rd National League expansion franchise after the New York Mets and the Houston Colt 45‘s/Astros in 1962..Though their language and customers were different, the city of Montreal gave Baseball a truly unique flavor. It was in this vein that I want to give you a peek of what Baseball in Montreal was like at the end from the mouth of my baseball brother Pete Sophy.

Pete is a lifelong Philadelphia Phillies fan who attended a couple of baseball games in Montreal during the 2004 season. Now unlike the tragic season of 1994 where the Expos were on top of the Baseball world playing in front of a total of 1,249,576 fans, leading the major leagues in victories (74-40) until the strike ended their hopes of a World Championship, the Montreal Expos Pete saw were in a much different shape. Read on to see what I mean.

Wanting to visit as many major league ballparks as possible, I decided to drive to Montreal during the summer of ‘04 to see my beloved Phillies play the Expos . Knowing 2004 was the “swansong” season for the Expos and Olympic Stadium, I traveled solo because my window for travel was very narrow. Upon arriving in Montreal, I drove directly to the stadium and walked up to the box office. The place was like a baseball morgue. I purchased 2 tickets for consecutive nights. The seats were located directly behind the Phillies dugout and the price for both tickets were a whopping $39 dollars (U.S.). The whole transaction lasted about 2 minutes, probably because I was the only human anywhere near the buying side of the box office.

The game was a surreal but enjoyable experience. I sat with Philly fans that seemed to “out shout” and “out knowledge” the Frenchies. There may have been 3000 paying customers sitting in primo seats that you know they didn’t pay for, except for this one loner Expos fan in the deep right field stands. This guy displayed the cavernous loneliness an Expos follower might have endured during these dying days. He would yell and scream Anti-Philly chants, he would stomp his feet, clap his hands, chortle, guffaw, and the entire crowd heard everything, I was amazed, entertained and also a little sad.

The food was not standard baseball fare. The florescent pink mystery frank had a weird sort of coleslaw piled over the meat and buns that when you ate this French mess your teeth would resemble Jaws after devouring Quint. My memory betrays me as far as details go on the other “cuisine” but I remember thinking the signs for French Fries were redundant because we were in Montreal.

I practically had my own food vendor and service was not a problem. I think Youppi doubled as the beer guy for some extra scratch. Youppi was pretty nice, not as funny or clever like the Phanatic, and he (or she) mixed it up with the Philly guys.

The Phillies won both games and it was well played, well pitched Baseball. The second night was pretty much identical to the first. The same Philly fans attended, I ate the same weird food, the guy in the right field stands yelled the same obscenities, Youppi was hovering and the overall experience will be forever missed.

So when Andre Dawson is enshrined to the Hall of Fame this upcoming summer and you see that fancy looking “M” on the cap on his plaque, you know what it symbolized and why they should never be forgotten.

For Further Reading:
- The Sports Encyclopedia page on the Montreal Expos
- Check out Chris Creamer's Montreal Expos' page for cool looks at logo, symbols and uniforms of the Expos.
- Tyler Kepner's NY Times article titled Montreal Expos, Forgotten by Many, Are Reuniting in Cooperstown dated January 7, 2010