Today I announced at a press conference Montreal Baseball Project’s 20-year Anniversary Gala Celebrations for the 1994 Montreal Expos, “The Best Team in Baseball.” On Saturday, March 29, 2014, 7:00 PM at the Queen Elizabeth Hotel, we’ll toast one of the best – if not the best - all-around teams the Expos ever fielded. Tickets go on sale Tuesday, October 1 at montrealbaseballproject.com.
The ’94 Expos were running away with the National League East, well on their way to the post-season and a chance to take home the World Series. Names like Pedro Martinez, Larry Walker, Moises Alou, Marquis Grissom, Ken Hill, John Wetteland, and Jeff Fassaro come to mind, just to name a few. We had a local kid by the name of Denis Boucher taking the mound for the Expos in ’94, too. And with Felipe Alou steering the way, this was truly a team for the ages.
We all know that circumstances at the time brought the 1994 season to an early end. Unthinkably, the playoffs and World Series were cancelled. Despite this, I know that the 1994 Expos are still champions in the hearts of all Expos fans. MBP’s Gala Dinner will be a great opportunity for fans to say thanks. I am also very happy to say that MBP will be honouring both Felipe Alou and Montreal’s own Claude Raymond during the course of the evening. In addition to our two guests of honour, we have at this point a number of players from the ’94 team who have confirmed their presence: Moises Alou, Marquis Grissom, Rondell White, Tim Spehr, Lenny Webster, Sean Berry, Cliff Floyd, John Wetteland, Jeff Fassero and Denis Boucher. I am waiting to hear back from Larry Walker and Pedro Martinez and I’ll be updating more names as they come in. In addition to the Gala, an exclusive VIP Cocktail with the ’94 Expos will be available one hour prior to the Dinner. All the details about the different ticket packages can be found here.
You’ve probably noticed that our Gala falls on the same weekend as the recently announced exhibition games between the Toronto Blue Jays and New York Mets at Olympic Stadium. With a night game on Friday, an afternoon game Saturday, and the 1994 Expos Gala on Saturday night, it’s going to be a great weekend of Major League Baseball in Montreal! It only goes to show how valuable Montreal will be in the long run for baseball. And to make it an even more special weekend, I am pleased to announce that Montreal Baseball Project, in collaboration with evenko, will welcome the 1994 Expos onto the field at the Big O prior to Saturday afternoon’s game. I predict a mass outbreak of laryngitis from all the cheering that’s gonna go on.
I don’t think I can emphasize enough how critical it is for Montreal baseball fans to show up to these games. Attendance will be used as a measuring stick. This is your chance to show how much Montreal wants Major League Baseball back. The entire baseball world will be watching with magnifying glasses. We wanna show them fannies in the seats! I encourage all Expos fans, all of ExposNation, and all fans of Montreal Baseball Project to come out strong, make some noise, and enjoy some baseball.
I understand that the Blue Jays, along with 27 other teams, voted to contract the Expos in 2001. But don’t let this stop you from going to these games. Montreal can forgive, but we don’t have to forget. Just keep the big picture in mind. I remember when Toronto came into Major League Baseball. They didn’t have much of a stadium to play in at first, but we looked forward to going over there to play for the Pearson Cup. We looked forward to helping the other guys along while striking up a sort of rivalry, even though they played in the American League. So now, with the Blue Jays coming here in March, giving Montreal a chance to fill the Stadium for two ball games, it’s déjà vu in reverse.
Let me just say how great it is to hear so much baseball talk in Montreal lately, and it’s only increasing all the time. We are making progress, we’re still taking things one step at a time with the feasibility study, and I look forward to the day the Expos – Canada’s first Major League Baseball team – can return.