Memories of Montreal

BOB ELLIOTT -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 7:27 AM ET

Former Montreal Expos see and hear the words "Washington Nationals" and they have different reactions.

"I feel sorry for the few really big fans in Montreal," former Expo Larry Walker, of Maple Ridge, B.C., said in Jupiter, Fla., yesterday at the St. Louis Cardinals training complex. "But I don't think it could have continued going the way it was, baseball didn't want to own the team and the players didn't like it the way it was."

The Expos played 22 home dates in San Juan, Puerto Rico, in 2003-04.

"The first thing I think of when I hear the Washington Nationals is the Montreal Expos," said former broadcaster Dave Van Horne, who now wears a Florida Marlins ring big enough to choke the winner of the eighth race at Woodbine.

"I'm happy for the players. No group of players should have had to have gone through what they did the previous few years. Now they finally have a home."

Van Horne believes that baseball hit the wall in Montreal when the downtown stadium issued stalled and then Claude Brochu's attempted move to Northern Virginia stalled.

"Had Claude been allowed to move six or seven years ago, a lot of people who left would still be with the team. But I'm not sad, I moved past that emotion."

New York Mets right-hander Pedro Martinez expressed sadness the other day hearing the name of the new National League entry.

Martinez doesn't believe baseball died in Montreal on Aug. 12, 1994, when the strike hit and the season never resumed for the first-place Expos.

"We still could have had a good team, we still had Cliff Floyd, Rondell White, Mike Lansing and Darrin Fletcher," Martinez said. "Brochu did the most damage as an owner. He wanted money without investing in players.

"I still have close friends in Montreal that would always come to Toronto when I was with the Red Sox."

CHARITY GAME

Ron Taylor, the Jays' physician and former New York Mets reliever, was in Hollywood, Fla., this month as the former New York Yankees and Mets played a charity game to benefit the Joe DiMaggio children's hospital.

His good friend Syd Cooper invited him to a nearby race track to see his horse Dr. Ron, named after Dr. Taylor. Cooper asked for the Taylors, four-legged and two-legged varieties, to pose for a picture.

Taylor held the horse by the reins and the horse bit him in the shoulder.

"So here I am wearing a white Tommy Bahama shirt covered in blood and headed to the airport for my flight home," Dr. Taylor said.

Cooper gave Taylor a recently removed horseshoe for luck and Taylor was off.

Taylor attempted to pass through security and beeped, on his first and second try.

The guard asked if he'd had hip replacement surgery.

Taylor said no, beeped again and was taken off to the side. Only then did he remember the horseshoe in his back pocket.

"The guard told me to remove it ... very slowly, I asked how his luck had been, he said 'not good' so I told him to keep it," Taylor said.

EVEN-STEVEN

In the Cleveland Indians' 162 games last season, a total of 1,715 runs were scored. The Indians scored 858 and their opponents scored 857. The Indians had 29 triples, their opponents 28. The Indians hit 42 sacrifice flies, their opponents 43. And the Indians' slugging percentage was .444, their opponents: .445. The Indians finished the season 80-82.


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