Posts Tagged ‘MBP Gala 2015’


Montreal's weekend of baseball once again proved to be an incredible experience that left its mark on the city and the baseball world. The challenge was in many ways bigger this time around, and Montreal once again rose to the occasion, proving that the hugely successful return of baseball last year was not just a novelty, but Montreal reconnecting with a fundamental part of its DNA, as Mayor Denis Coderre rightly says.

Montreal Baseball Project was excited to be leading off this weekend with our All-Star Gala that reconnected some of the biggest names in Expos history with the city that knew them as 'Nos Amours'. The personal interactions between the honorees and the guests and dignitaries in attendance gave the evening a very special feeling that celebrated the special history that we all shared together.

There were some unforgettable moments, like Tim Raines mentioning how Montreal was where he grew up and he felt Canadian because of that, and Andre Dawson describing so eloquently how difficult it was for him to leave Montreal and how committed he is to seeing baseball return here. Andres Galarraga, with his smile as generous as we remembered it, spoke fondly of his time in Montreal as an Expo, as did Vladimir Guerrero, who ended his speech with a 'merci beaucoup', proving how sincere their words were, after spending so many years away from the city.

Having them share the stage together along with legendary broadcaster Jacques Doucet was special, given that as many as three of them have a chance at joining Andre Dawson and the late Gary Carter as representatives of the Expos franchise in Cooperstown. There were memories made that will last a lifetime for fans of all ages, and some smaller moments some of our guests witnessed, like when Vladimir Guerrero briefly stepped outside the ballroom to buy an Expos keychain for himself. It made it clear to us how important it was to bring back these remarkable individuals, as much for the fans as for the players themselves. The Gala and the buzz surrounding it in the media would prove to be the big hit to start the rally that was to come in the following days.

If last year's exhibition games at Olympic Stadium were about celebrating the 20th anniversary of the 1994 Expos team, this year's games would be about proving baseball had a much deeper meaning to Montrealers and truly understanding what that was. Many were expecting a drop in attendance from last year, including representatives from Major League Baseball. What happened was the exact opposite, as the total attendance not only matched last year's number, but beat it by a slight margin. The heartwarming moments between Russell Martin and his father, and the wonderful ovation the Reds’ Chad Wallach received, simply because so many fans remembered his father's time with the Expos, were taken in by so many children who were themselves watching their first game with their own parents. It marked a new beginning for baseball fans, and a continuation of the revival that began last year. It was as if the difficult years of the Expos franchise were completely forgotten, and we were brought back to the atmosphere of the glory days of the early 80’s.

It seems impossible to imagine Major League Baseball not returning to Montreal next year, especially with even more teams expressing an interest in playing these games. Because of this tremendous success, Montreal is no longer just part of the conversation, but part of the circuit. The encouraging comments we have heard from Major League Baseball, including from Commissioner Rob Manfred himself, mark a significant development in what we are trying to accomplish. The questions are steadily shifting away from "if baseball can return" to "when can baseball return".

We have clearly moved into a new phase in this big dream of ours, and as much as we are anxious to see progress, it is only by having patience and following due process that we find ourselves closer today than we have ever been. But rest assured, we are continuing to work behind the scenes, making sure we build upon the successes of the past few years and the firm grassroots that have been established. Stay tuned!


Click here to see more photos from our Gala!


2014 was a year we will never forget. It began with the astounding success of the exhibition games in Montreal in March and the celebration of the 1994 Expos, and carried through all the way to the end of the year. Montreal remained in the conversation during the All-Star break and World Series, due in part to encouraging comments from Bud Selig, Scott Boras, Paul Beeston and several influential writers.

When the Montreal Baseball Project first set out to bring back the 1994 team at the beginning of this year, it was to give them the tribute they so deserved, but never received.  There was nothing more fitting than to make them a central part of the festivities surrounding the exhibition games at Olympic Stadium, and to reconnect them with the city that was behind them 20 years ago. But we quickly learned something very humbling at the MBP Gala. There were countless stories we did not know. Like how the outfielders would switch gloves during pitching changes just to make the games more interesting. And how confident the team was heading into any city to face any team and the sense of family they felt not just among themselves, but with others in the organization. John Wetteland went so far as to say that it wasn't closure- it just opened up more questions.
À l'arrière/Back row: Joey Eischen, Sean Berry, Cliff Floyd, Wil Cordero, Marquis Grissom, Tim Scott, Moises Alou, Larry Walker, Tim Spehr, Rondell White, Heath Haynes, Denis Boucher, Gil Heredia, Pierre Arsenault. À l'avant/Front row: John Wetteland, Ken Hill, Joe Kerrigan, Felipe Alou, Kevin Malone, Darrin Fletcher, Lou Frazier.
It is a big reason why MBP is bringing back some of the most legendary names in Expos history to our Gala in 2015. Rusty Staub and Jacques Doucet were there on opening day in 1969 and together they will reshape our understanding of history and ignite something special once again. Tim Raines and Andre Dawson were the face of the franchise through some of its most promising years, and lived through some unforgettable moments. Andres Galarraga's presence will remind us of how the city has deep roots decades after his big years as an Expo, and how it lives on well after 2004. Their combined presence will create memories that will last a lifetime, and will propel us into the next phase of this big dream of ours.

Montreal is now considered the frontrunner to land a Major League Baseball team. This is tremendous progress from where MBP was a year ago. But we can not stop there, because there are other cities watching, looking to build the same type of momentum so they can find themselves where we are. We have to think bigger, and that will be our challenge in 2015.

However, one thing is certain: Montreal IS a baseball town and in baseball terms, a five-tool city. That was proven this year, and it will be proven again next April.  It now needs to reaffirm itself as a business town, a bustling place where dreams are born and are lived, and where optimism prevails over nostalgia. A big part of the resurgence of baseball here is the boomerang effect of adults who loved the Expos 20 years ago now introducing the game to their own children. Those families are a central part of what we are trying to accomplish, so that next generation can pass this tradition down to their children.

The conversation around baseball in Montreal has to shift from simple yes or no questions and answers, to what it would take to bring it back here and make it a lasting success. Those who want to dwell on what went wrong have already missed an amazing ride, one that has transcended and brought ideas and people together like only Baseball can.

We learned a lot this year about how strong the passion for baseball is in Montreal, beyond what many had anticipated. And we were overwhelmed by how much support we have throughout the baseball world. But most importantly, we learned that this is all happening because ultimately there are people who believe in Montreal and what it can accomplish. It is time we all do.

On behalf of everyone at the Montreal Baseball Project, I wish you all the best for the holiday season and a safe and prosperous 2015.  We can't wait for it!


Well, it's been quite an eventful few weeks for us all that began with an exciting end to the baseball season.

This year's playoffs gave us quite a thrill ride. From the up and coming teams and rivalries to the beautiful ballparks, there were very few dull moments. The World Series saw my last team, the Kansas City Royals take the San Francisco Giants to a Game 7 that could have gone either way in the bottom of the 9th. In the end, the Giants won, and the word 'dynasty' is now becoming synonymous with their franchise. These are the same Giants who almost left San Francisco for Toronto in 1976, and almost left again only a few years after reaching the World Series in 1989. Today, they are seen as the model franchise, anchored by a ballpark that has revolutionized how the game is seen and has become an unmistakable part of the city's architecture.

We also learned that baseball will once again return to Montreal for a weekend in April 2015, after this year's unforgettable series in late March. It should be yet another incredible experience that will mark the path on this journey of ours, and reignite passions once again. Montreal Baseball Project is proud to be hitting leadoff for this weekend of baseball with our Gala that will reconnect Montreal with some of its greatest baseball heroes, like Rusty Staub, Andre Dawson, Tim Raines and Andres Galarraga, and the legendary Jacques Doucet. Our Gala this spring was an inspiring success, as we learned how critical it was to give the floor to the players, so they can relive iconic moments and we can understand the past from their perspective. And we want you to be there next year to help write another chapter in Montreal's rich baseball history.


And yes, there were all kinds of rumors swirling about who may or may not be involved in bringing a team back here and in what capacity. I have always said that it will take patience and following protocol to bring baseball back to Montreal. Rather than speculating, we have to focus on what we can do, and what is within our reach until we are at the next phase. The attendance for this year’s games at the Big O surpassed everyone’s expectations, so much that several teams expressed an interest in coming to Montreal for next year’s preseason games. Blue Jays' president Paul Beeston described those games as having "playoff atmosphere" and said “Your best ambassadors when you left were not just those numbers, but also the 60 players, coaches and managers that said what a great time it was here, too.” As hard as it is to improve on a capacity crowd, we have nowhere to go but up in 2015. We have no choice.

It requires us to keep baseball in the conversation. To keep challenging our assumptions, because we will all have to do more to bring baseball back to Montreal. As Felipe Alou revealed to us at our last Gala, it took an extra effort from many people working in different capacities to keep the Giants in San Francisco and build that ballpark. We each have an important role to play to rekindle the same spirit that led to Major League Baseball coming to Montreal almost 50 years ago. To get Montreal to think big again. And from everything I've seen and heard in the last two weeks, I know you're up to the task.

Montreal Baseball Project’s 2015 Gala: Celebrate Montreal’s baseball history, celebrate Nos Amours!

As the baseball season winds down, many are looking back at the year and charting a course for the future. 2014 has been an incredible year for baseball in Montreal, marked by the electrifying atmosphere at the Big O this spring for two pre-season baseball games, and the celebration of our 1994 Expos. For us, 2015 looks to be a year where we build on the successes of the past, and it begins with our Gala.

Each of MBP's Galas in the past has given players the opportunity to relive their favourite memories as they saw them, and for fans to take it all in firsthand. They have given us pivotal moments in redefining how we see baseball in Montreal and have lit up the path in front of us today.

Montreal Baseball Project's 2015 Gala promises to continue that tradition. It will take place on Wednesday, April 1, 7 p.m., at the Hyatt Regency in downtown Montreal. We will honour five beloved members of the Expos family: Andres Galarraga, Tim Raines, Andre Dawson, Rusty Staub and Jacques Doucet. Each represents an integral part of the Expos’ legacy, with deep ties that extend off the diamond and to the city itself.

2015 will mark the 30th anniversary of Andres Galarraga’s debut as an Expo, and the start of a memorable career in which he consistently ranked among the best first basemen in baseball. He is also a man with strong links to Montreal, being the father of two daughters who were born here.

Andres Galarraga

Andres Galarraga

Tim Raines is regarded as one of the best leadoff hitters and baserunners in baseball history. This alone makes a strong case for him to be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame. He was the last Expos player to have his number retired, and was there for many key moments, including as a member of the coaching staff for the team's last game.

Tim Raines

Tim Raines

Andre Dawson was the author of an illustrious career and one of the first homegrown stars of the Expos organization. His unrivalled work ethic inspired many of his teammates and helped him overcome one challenge after another, to eventually place him among the legends in Cooperstown.

Andre Dawson

Andre Dawson

Rusty Staub is synonymous with the early days of the Expos. He was a six-time All-Star and the city's first MLB superstar, a man who became a hero to legions of fans not only in Montreal, but all across Quebec and Canada.

Rusty Staub

Rusty Staub

As a journalist and broadcaster, Jacques Doucet lived through every moment in the history of the Expos and was instrumental in bringing the game to life for millions of French-speaking baseball fans over the years. His longevity and unique contribution to the game have consistently put him on the verge of entering the Baseball Hall of Fame as a broadcaster.

Jacques Doucet

Jacques Doucet

We can't wait to see these legends together, as we take yet another bold step towards our ultimate dream of making Montreal a Major League city again. Tickets go on sale Friday, September 12  on our events page. For more information, please write to hope to see you there!