brewers baseball and things

why did i have to meet you again?

19 Comments

My dream came true. I walked 7 minutes to the subway; slipped onto the orange line at 9:50 AM, traveled 11 minutes to Lionel Groulx, waited 3 minutes, transferred to a green line-direction Honore Beaugrand and 17 minutes later arrived to Pie IX-Olympic Stadium. Totel travel time-38 minutes.

I walked to Sherbrooke street, took in the view. It was a grey day. There was no haze; the mountain tops in the southern skies distance, the shipping cranes along the St. Lawrence River. I spotted a tall stranger with a Minnesota Twins bag on his back and asked the obvious question, “so you traveled from Minnesota to see a game at Olympic Stadium?”

Actually, he traveled from New Jersey, but grew up in Minnesota and yes, he came to see Olympic Stadium. He had already seen all 30 MLB parks and the exhibition games in Montréal were an opportunity to see one he had missed. We walked towards the stadium together. There was a lot to talk about.

There were 51,000 people at yesterday’s game and we quickly became life long baseball friends; the conversation spanning Early Wynn, the 1914 Boston Braves, a Carlos Gomez gift from Minnesota to Milwaukee; any which way baseball babble speak our bridge.

His assigned seat was way up top. So was mine, but we watched the New York Mets take batting practice down below. We watched the spastic Brett Lawrie over swing into a first pitch double play.  We were bumped from lower box and grandstand seats on three separate occasions, but never hassled by ushers as we played mouse in a crowded room; finding the infinitesimal opening.

Brandon Morrow of the Blue Jays pitched superb or the Mets were tired and couldn’t see the ball. Juan Lagares did a damn good impersonation of Willie Mays in centerfield. I was awe-struck by his instinct and range. The Blue Jays scored the first runs of the game; a two run homer by Melky Cabrera in the bottom of the eighth inning.

We waited a good 30 minutes after the game and watched as the crowd spilled to the exits. It felt like fast forward photography; a 30 year Expos history condensed into a blink; from standing room only crowd smashing the plastic seats-make some noise! to a sparse crowd to a nothing crowd and that loud silence and finally the usher and his tragic words, “time to get lost.”

And oh yeh, there was  pregame celebration to honor the 1994 Expos and fans cried and wore their uniforms proudly. They snapped photos and paid 7.50 for a beer and throughout the game performed the wave and chanted , “Let’s go Expos, Let’s go Expos.” A crowd cheering for a team not playing; a team no longer existing. Charming goose bumps indeed, but rage and disappointment too.

Where were these tear jerkers and nostalgic junkies from 2000-2004 when attendance dipped below 10,000 per game? Where were these fans when it mattered most? It’s easy to love a team when winning is the norm and big daddy MLB corporate boss is not breathing down your neck. Praises be to Chicago Cub fans.

Montreal can wave its plastic finger at evil America, at the MLB, at Bud Selig. They can blame management and Jeffrey Loria for an abusive relationship with the team, but fans were not here from 2000-2004.  They blamed the stadium; said it was old, ugly and out of the way. But the Big O is still easier to reach than most MLB stadiums; the subway empties into the turnstiles. And the outside views? Only San Francisco and Pittsburgh come to mind as more photogenic.

My new friend and I exchanged emails and parted ways in the concourse;  he heading back to New York on the greyhound and me walking through the mob of fans wearing not only Expo hats and jerseys, but every team in baseball. The only one I didn’t spot on a head or back was the San Diego Padres.

I turned west on Hochelaga, took one last look at the stadium; the dream come true still ringing in my mind, but still sobered from feeling pissed off that it won’t happen again; pissed at Expo fans more than anything else.

But what the hell? This is rare in Montreal I thought; the slide show images of a game still in my mind and a new baseball friend and sudddenly I knew that  any song on my MP3 would make sense. I clicked forward a few times and the carousel landed on Dire Straits.

 

 

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Author: Steve Myers

I grew up in Milwaukee and have been a Milwaukee Brewers baseball fan for as long as I can remember.

19 thoughts on “why did i have to meet you again?

  1. I saw the Expos once. There was an exhibition game in Arlington in, I want to say 1971 (my memory is fuzzy), between the Expos and the Senators. The next year, the Senators were the Rangers. I got autographs from Rusty Staub and Casey Cox. I still have the program.

    Your writing is wonderful. I really enjoy it. Almost felt like I was right there with you.

    • Jeff, what a treasure you got there; Senators soon to be Rangers program with Rusty Staub’s autograph!! I had to look up Casey Cox. Thanks for sharing that and i’m glad you enjoyed this post.

      I guess the Senators were being tested in Arlington? and I guess Arlington passed the test? I wish it were the same for Montréal, but maybe the MLB will start playing once a year here.

      • I don’t know if it was a “test” or a “preview.” That’s a good question. I’m just glad my Dad took me to the game! 😀

        Before that, “Turnpike Stadium,” as it was called, was home to the DFW Spurs, a team in the farm system for the Orioles. We went to a few games there, too. I’m still grateful to my Dad for instilling a love for baseball in me.

  2. Steve, Just so you know, I’m a huge fan of Dire Straits / Mark Knopfler. My all-time favorite movie is “Local Hero” to which Knopfler contributed the soundtrack back in ’83. Also saw Dire Straits on their “Money For Nothing” tour in ’85. I treasure each of their first five albums. “Love Over Gold” is probably my favorite, though I also love “Making Movies.”
    Cheers, man
    Bill

    • and the movies keep coming. Thanks Bill. I’ve never seen Local Hero and will download it and also listen to a few more Dire Straits tunes as well.

    • On this occasion, I might have gone with “Tunnel Of Love.” All the wistful farewells ‘n ‘at.

      • never heard of it, but because of Bill mentioning the movie “Local Hero” and now you mentioning“Tunnel Of Love” I’m getting it and maybe getting into it too. Next time it may be in my MP3 carousel if there is a next MLB exhibition in Montreal.

      • “Tunnel of Love” is another one of my favorite songs of theirs.

        She took off a silver locket she said remember me by this
        She put her hand in my pocket I got a keepsake and a kiss
        And in the roar of dust and diesel I stood and watched her walk away
        I could have caught up with her easy enough but something must have made me stay

    • Hey Bill. I just finished watching “Local Hero.” Fantastic and to be watched again and again. The sea and the sky; the oil refinery or astronomy research institute. So much Scotland that I never knew, but would like to. The scuba diving lady was a mermaid? The child in the stroller was the town’s child? The whiskey rhythm. The beach house with no door. That last scene with no words; only a phone call back to Scotland; the old country-the desired country. And the actor..what’s his name? Also in Field of Dreams. Burt Lancaster? Wonderful movie. Thanks Bill.

      • Couldn’t tell you how many times I’ve seen it. The Scottish director, Bill Forsyth, also made a few other nice little films along the way, but I think that is his best effort. Burt Lancaster’s performance was the icing on the cake. Glad you enjoyed it.
        Bill

      • Did Bill Forsyth direct Gregory’s Girl? One of the half-dozen best movies known to man.

      • now I have another movie to downoad-Gregory’s Girl. Thank you wkkortas. I haven’t been bored in over a week.

      • wkkortas, you have made my day. Gregory’s Girl takes on a subject matter delved into thousands of times and it delivers a fresh and hilarious film, best young people’s love story I’ve ever seen. Thank you. After Local Hero and Gregory’s Girl, I’m about to stowaway on a ship to Scotland.

      • You’re on a roll wkkortas. I had a belly laugh there. Life is good.

  3. Gotta agree with Jeff…I felt as if I was right there with you. I know how it feels to have a “baseball friend” for a game. What a great thing. Kudos to you, this game and the wonderful day you had.

  4. An immediate, eloquent, and vivid piece of writing. Probably the closest I have ever come to appreciating your passion today.

    • Thanks for saying so. Reminds me that watching a game on TV is not the same as being there. Unfortunately, major league baseball in Montreal was a one shot deal, but there are amateur games and the same subway takes me there.

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