Some thank God, some the devil, some nothing at all. Whatever it takes to turn our own chains into dance with hopefully hate not being the fuel to our funk.
I hold a soft spot for people who dedicate their good feeling to specific cities. It raises up the earth into a floating ball of endless spices to discover. Of all the fancy words and illuminating paragraphs available to us in books, the five simple words of Pedro Martinez jumpstart a fireworks celebration in my heart.
“This one’s for you Montreal.”
The specific city doesn’t matter. It’s the awareness and gratitude. Of course, it’s easier to say after winning a World Series than losing one, but it’s the thought that counts. Pedro stood in a downpour of champagne after winning the 2004 World Series as a Boston Red Sox and decided to thank the city and team that give him his first chance in the major leagues; the Montreal Expos. It came on the heels of the Expos relocating to Washington D.C. and it mirrored the Quebec license plate; Je me souviens- I remember. It moved us all.
Pedro was too small they said. Pedro threw across his body and was an injury waiting to happen. Pedro was traded to the Expos for Delino Deshields and Expo fans were pissed off because Deshields batted .295 with a .389 OB% and 43 stolen bases in 1993. Pedro only pitched four seasons in Montreal. He was traded to Boston, but he was never bitter. Montreal loved him as the greatest pitcher they had ever seen.
Pedro will be back this weekend and Expo fans won’t be thinking about Delino Deshields. I’ll be at Olympic Stadium Saturday for game 2 of the Exhibition Series between the New York Mets and Toronto Blue Jays. Friday is Gary Carter Night and Saturday is celebrate the 1994 Expos day; celebrate Felipe Alou, Larry Walker, Moises Alou, Pedro Martinez, Rondell White, Cliff Floyd, Marquis Grissom, Sean Berry, Wil Cordero, Denis Boucher, John Wetteland, Joey Eischen, Darrin Fletcher, Lou Frazier, Heath Haynes, Gil Heredia, Ken Hill, Tim Scott, Tim Spehr, Gabe White, Pierre Arsenault, Joe Kerrigan.
They’ll all be there and when names are announced and they run onto the field and line up along the first base line like the World Series intro that never happened, goose bumps will fill the big ugly Olympic Stadium. In that moment, I’ll probably wonder if it’s a nostalgic lollipop for us to suck on or a test to see if relocation to Montreal is a possibility. I have a sober reason. I was not here in 1994 and the Brewers hold my heart even tighter.
But both games are sold out. Montreal passed the test and I want to participate and 50,000 fans screaming will wire me up.
I hope they play the following video on the scoreboard. It is filled with some rare footage and photos, but I might bring my Mp3 player and play Funkadelic’s “One nation under a groove.” I’m more interested in the irrational dream and dance of what may be than tears over what’s been lost.