It has been 10 long years since MLB took our beloved Montreal Expos from us. In 2004 the last MLB game was played at the cavernous Big O and the Expos became the Washington Nationals. On Friday night and Saturday afternoon the Toronto Blue Jays will be playing two preseason games against the New York Mets. I know it is not the Expos, but it is still an opportunity to see professional ball players (even if it is preseason) and show MLB by packing the Big O how baseball can work in Montreal.
The weekend has become a festival of baseball with several events being held around the two games. The recently deceased and former Montreal Expos and New York Met Hall of Famer, Gary Carter will be remembered and the 1994 team (that would have been World Series contenders if not for the strike that year) will be celebrated.
While this is not exactly the Los Angeles Dodgers versus the Boston Red Soxs there are still a couple of players on each team’s 25-man roster to keep your eye on. The New York Mets has not been a good team for a while now. Though they think that this might be the season that they become perennial contenders again with their young talent finally maturing. Even with ace Matt Harvey out for the season they feel optimistic. Players like pitchers Bartolo Colon, Jon Niese and Dillon Gee, infielders David Wright, Daniel Murphy and Ike Davis along with outfielders Curtis Granderson (newly signed from the Yankees), Chris Young and Eric Young Jr will be expected to contribute.
As for Toronto, the made a big splash over the winter of 2012 by signing a rash of big name free agents. Many so-called baseball experts named them the favourites for the title. It was obviously premature as the team did not even make the playoffs. This off season former Montrealer and present Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos was quieter. No one is talking about the Blue Jays so I predict that they will do better than their last place finish in the AL East of last year. What they do have is guys that can hit like infielders Brett Lawrie, Edwin Encarnacion, Adam Lind, and former Met Jose Reyes as well as outfielders Jose Bautista, Colby Rasmus and Melky Cabrera. The question mark will be the pitching staff which consists of the likes of R.A. Dickey, Mark Buehrle and Brandon Morrow.
Though the games are not quite sold out there has been an impressive 80,000 tickets sold so far. Impressive numbers and enough to make baseball fans here dream of the day when we get our own MLB team.
-Dates: March 28 + 29, 2014
-Venue: Olympic Stadium
-Ticket Purchase: www.admission.com
-Ticket Prices: $22.00, $29.50, $32.00, $45.15, $49.15, $64.15, $89.15 (plus handling charges)
-Game Times: March 28, 2014 – 7:05 p.m.
March 29. 2014 – 1:05 p.m.