Discouraged and accepting of the fact I would not be attending the All – Star game, I fell asleep the night before saddened.I awoke the next morning refreshed albeit a little sad …
I joined my Mom at the breakfast table to the happy kisses of Barney and a plate of bacon and eggs. My Mom, was happier than usual. A continuous grin echoing the bright yellow yolks that lay before me.She was behaving like she knew a secret …
“Check under your plate !” She said with enthusiasm.My dog Barney seemingly understanding as he nudged my half – asleep hand as it rested upon my knee.
I lifted the ceramic vessel and before me was an envelope conspicuous with the absence of ink. I opened it to expose two tickets. A pair of invitations to a soirée of stars.
” Al dropped them off late last night!” My Mom declared as she made us some coffee. ” He said he was sorry he could not get better seats …!”
” Better seats? ” I thought. ” Geez- I would be happy on the roof of the stadium…?!”
I asked my Mom if she wanted to go and she passed. My Mom did not like crowds, preferring instead to watch television or play cards with her
Along with a friend – Mike, we watched the game from the third base side.The Stadium was
alive as had been the norm in the past few seasons as the Expos climbed the ladder as on of the élite clubs in the league. 59,057 people from all walks of life jammed the place to make it the 10th largest crowd in baseball history for an All- Star match.
Kid Mercury was there – blowing his trumpet, cape blowing behind him as this unlikely ‘ super hero’ ran around the stadium, pumping the crowd into a frenzy. Mercury arrived in 1979 as the team’s biggest cheerleader. Self crowned with a cap adorned with lightning bolts on either side, the other ‘kid’ brought laughter and energy when the home team slumped.
The introductions of the players got under way.The orange roof of the house that Jean
Drapeau built a stark contrast to the white uniforms of some of the players below.
The Expos’ Andre Dawson, Tim Raines,Steve Rogers and Al Oliver were greeted with thunderous applause as the home crowd accepted their heroes as if a son was returning from war.Ovations that lasted a few minutes for each player.Ovations filled with warmth and gratitude. Ovations that seemed like minor clapping when compared to the reception of the most popular player in the Expos modern-day.
An ovation for Gary ‘ the Kid’ Carter.
Thunderous applause greeted the Expos catcher. It was so loud – the concrete in the stadium shook as if an earthquake would take it down. In the past few seasons, ovations as such were common and it is a wonder the stadium was still standing at all.
Raines started in left – Dawson in centerfield. Carter was behind the plate and his teammate Steve Rogers was on the mound. Al Oliver was the only Expos player to start the game on the bench. Strange because the man whose number was zero – was having the best season in his gold glove winning career.
In an ironic twist of fate,Rickey Henderson led off the game for the American League All – Stars with a single to his counter- part.The ball was fielded by fellow base stealer and lead- off man for the National League – Expos’ Tim Raines.The crowd favorite fielded the crisp single and tossed it to Manny Trillo of the Philadelphia Phillies at second base.The first All Star game outside of the United States was underway amid a circus – like atmosphere in Montreal’s Olympic Stadium …
To be continued …
Souvenir photos courtesy of Kid Mercury – Montreal’s Most Dynamic entertainer !