10/04/2004 Add a comment

We haven't talked much about the other end of the Expos-to-DC story. Halfway down his column, ESPN's Jayson Stark has a wonderful snapshot of the weirdest moments in Expos history. In my own experience at Stade Olympique, for an early regular-season game between the Cardinals and Expos a few years ago, there was another moment that would have fit in with Stark's remembrance. During a snowy late-April weekend, snowflakes started falling from the roof during the game! The PA system began playing "Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire" and "Let it Snow."

Regardless of the weather, attending a game in Montreal was a unique experience, and I'm sad that it'll be gone, replaced by a glittering new stadium with all the usual retro-and-modern frills. For about $6 US, you could buy a ticket and sit anywhere in the stadium (with an entire row to yourself) except for the 15 or so rows closest to the field. Fans would show their appreciation by slapping the seats next to them up-and-down in a Thwack! Thwack! Thwack! that made the 4,000 fans sound closer to 34,000. There were the cheers in French that sounded strangely at home. There was the fuzzy orange Youppi who doesn't resemble anything. And then there were the minor-league games -- a too-old pitch-speed monitor, beanbag tosses -- and concessions --poutine! (fries, cheese curd and gravy) -- on offer in the stadium's bowels.

Yes, Stade Olympique, you will be missed. William