By: Stuart Nulman
It’s been exactly nine years since the Montreal Expos pulled up stakes and moved to Washington, D.C. to become the Nationals. And there are still many fans who mourn the loss of “nos amours”, and yearn for their eventual return to the Major League Baseball fold.
However, Montreal baseball fans will get another taste of the excitement of Major League Baseball next spring back at the Olympic Stadium, as Evenko will present a special two game pre-season series between the Toronto Blue Jays and the New York Mets on March 28 and 29. The event was announced at a special press conference held at the right field area of the cavernous Big O, where the ghosts of Expos games past echoed throughout the place. Present at the press conference were representatives from Baseball Quebec, Evenko and the Blue Jays organization, including president Paul Beeston and general manager Alex Anthopoulos, who is a native of TMR and started his pro baseball career as a gofer in the Expos’ mailroom and later at the Big O press box.
“The games that will be played here next March will have our A-team and A-line. The players will be finished spring training in Florida and have to be ready. The Blue Jays will have the makings of a great season starting in Quebec,” said Anthopoulous. He also lauded the Montreal fans for their passion and thinks that the atmosphere will get quite loud at the Big O. “It’s going to be very exciting and the energy will be so outstanding that the players are going to be impressed.”
And what about the possibility of the revival of the Expos to Major League Baseball in the near future? “It can definitely happen. Montreal has a fan base and the market to support the return of a major league franchise,” said Anthopoulos.
Another goal of this pre-season series – which Evenko hopes to make it as an annual event – is to promote the growing development of baseball to younger generations of baseball players and baseball fans. One way that this will be accomplished is that Baseball Quebec plans to hold a series of baseball clinics on March 30 on the Big O field with a group of baseball specialists.
Tickets for the two-game series between the Blue Jays and Mets go on sale today (September 14) through www.evenko.ca. A special 10% discount is going to be offered to those who buy tickets for both games, and special children’s prices are also going to be available.