I had no idea what the rumors of Jose Abreu being traded to the Red Sox might do. I mentioned it Thursday morning as a work warm up and the lone Red Sox fan in our Montreal warehouse smiled a David Ortiz smile and then added,
“Wasn’t there another Abreu in baseball?”
“Yeh,” I said. “Bobby Abreu.”
“For the Cardinals?” he asked
“No, a couple of other teams, but mostly the Phillies,” I said.
“Oh yeh the Phillies,” he responded. “He was an Expos killer.”
I had no idea about Abreu being an Expo killer but I related to the horror because Reggie Jackson murdered the Brewers at County Stadium. I told my co-worker this. He paused and then said,
“We’re going to an Expos game one day.”
He might have been referring to the annual spring training games held at Olympic Stadium between the Blue Jays and some other team, but he said Expos. I could have asked him, could have made clarification my top priority, but I prefer riffing off someone any way I like, delusional as it may be.
So one day we were going to an Expos game. Hmmmm. Of course things would have to change. Typically baseball arouses ire rather than awe in Montrealers. They seem to use the sport as a springboard to deconstruct society and all its woes, maybe understandably so considering the Expos were stolen from Montreal and moved to Washington D.C.
Then there is a group that welcomes the idea of baseball back here, but only if there is a new stadium. They know exactly where to put one too, how much money it would generate, and so on. No one liked Olympic Stadium. No one does. This is nothing new. Even the Expos management didn’t like it back in 1975 when they promised major league baseball it was a temporary solution while a new stadium was built. We’re still waiting. But a new stadium wouldn’t solve Montreal’s problems. Sure, if you build one, people would come, but only for a year or two and then what? The newness of the fashion would fade.
I say forget the new stadium mentality. Start over. Take a new road. Mind you this is very much a work in progress. I’m no urban planner, but as a baseball fan in Montreal I can only tolerate so much Bobby Wine-ing. Here’s my nine cents…..
1) revive Montreal’s lost rivers from before the automobile highways aroused a strange desire in cement.
2) create blue prints to carve canoes from fallen trees, paddles too.
3) build real simple baseball diamonds all over the place, river to river.
4) organize teams according to old parish neighborhoods
5) open bars and diners near the diamonds.
6) organize baseball games.
7) don’t keep score.
8) stop the games at random moments and have players and fans breathe, feel the wind, make games longer.
9) make batting practice a city-wide every day holiday and let fans take batting practice after every game.