Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About The Expos, In 2:42
In Twitteronia, @Montreal_Expos passed along an amazing clip of an early-90s Expos-Mets game at the Big O.
–Denis Casavant and Rodger Brulotte on the French-language call, sharp as always. Casavant was the solid play-by-play man, while Brulotte was the excitable color commentator. Once this play ends (and I won’t spoil it, because you might have this game queued up on TiVo 17 years later), Brulotte launches into his patented “Yell the player’s name three times routine.” That same summer, we rejoiced to my favorite Brulotte call of all-time, “Barberie! Barberie! Barberie!”, in honor of a walk-off bloop single by forgettable Expos utility infielder Bret Barberie.
And if you think that name sounds familiar, it should. Quasi-annoying FOX pre-game vixen and hawker of many goods Jillian Barberie (nee Reynolds) is Bret’s ex-wife. Yes, that’s right — she got her name from a baseball player who was too scrubby to start for the Expos.
–The game being called in French, period. MLB lost a quirky, fantastic bit of culture when the Expos moved away. No more “circuit” (home run), “voltigeur de centre” (center fielder), or in the case of this clip, “piste d’avertissement” (warning track).
–The cavalcade of Expos players in on the celebration is truly remarkable. You’ve got legends like Gary Carter and Dennis Martinez, up-and-coming stars like Larry Walker and Marquis Grissom, and unforgettable randoms like Greg Colbrunn and (current Tampa Bay Rays coach) Tom Foley. Picking out the faces in the home plate scrum was my favorite part of this clip.
–The crowd at the stadium is as typical as you’ll ever see for an Expos game. The fans that are there generate a tremendous amount of noise when the big play occurs. But we know the stadium’s half-empty, because the camera pans to the bleachers in left-center as the ball takes flight — and there’s not one living soul sitting there.
–Finally, the clip itself is clearly someone’s shoddy VHS recording, and it too perfectly illustrates the plight of the Expos. The first minute and a half shows a stirring walk-off win in front of a delirious home crowd. The tape then suddenly cuts to the closing credits of a Radio-Canada broadcast, a ho-hum 6-4 loss to the Cardinals. The cheesy music and awful graphics playing over the sight of Tim Wallach missing a Todd Worrell fastball by a foot serve as a painful reminder of a wasted youth.
I mean…Go Spos!