If you would have asked me in 2005 if I would ever be sitting in the Olympic Stadium with my oldest friend watching Major League Baseball, I would have laughed in your face. Until a few years ago, I had zero expectation that MLB would ever come back to Montreal. Things ended so horribly that no one wanted to talk baseball anymore. I sure didn’t.
Given what just happened on March 28th and 29th, times change. And this obsessed baseball-nerd was happy to be there to witness this change.
On Friday, in the midst of an early morning snowstorm, I made my way over to Le Windsor for an event put on by the Jewish Chamber of Commerce called The Business of Baseball. It was interesting to hear speakers such as Alex Anthopoulos, Jay Horwitz and Warren Cromartie (The man behind the Montreal Baseball Project, which I am involved with) but was a business-y event; breakfast, men in suits, people at tables in a ballroom and then off we all go to work. I was under dressed.
After work I got together with my oldest friend and we headed to the Olympic Stadium to take in the first of 2 MLB (exhibition) games between the Blue Jays and Mets. I have to admit that it was surreal to walk back into that beat up old place and see a real baseball field. While I’m happy that we did have a place to host a game and the building did bring back old memories, it’s time is up. It feels like it’s held together with bandaids. Complaints aside, the was a wonderful evening that I got to share with 46 121 other people. It was an exciting game going into the 9th tied at 4. Munenori Kawasaki (my favourite Blue Jay) scored on a walk-off single to end the game.
Saturday was a different kind of experience as I got to share the game with 4 colleagues in Loge seats, thanks to my good friends at the MBP. In a Loge you most definitely feel spoiled but I most liked were I was better on Friday. To get completely into a game the closer you can get to home base, the better. Since 75% of the action of a baseball game takes place between the pitcher and batter, that’s where I want to be. It was a pretty good pitcher’s duel which was won in dramatic fashion with a 2-run shot by Melky Cabrera in the bottom of the 8th.
The highlight of the weekend was a special event put on by our MBP friends; a Gala to honour the 1994 Expos team who would have won the World Series if it wasn’t for the strike ending season. With the majority of that team attending the event it was an amazing opportunity to see all these guys again, chat and get some photos. The evening was flawless. With a good meal, great videos and some inspiring speeches and interviews with the players, it was a success.
I was so happy I had the chance to share this weekend with so many close friends, staff and colleagues.