2004-04-23 / Sports

From The Stands

By Brendan Brosh

From The Stands


New York Yankees’ starting pitcher Javier Vazquez was traded from the Expos for Nick Johnson and Juan Rivera (AP Photo/Brian Kersey).New York Yankees’ starting pitcher Javier Vazquez was traded from the Expos for Nick Johnson and Juan Rivera (AP Photo/Brian Kersey).

By Brendan Brosh

It’s hard to have sympathy for the Major League Baseball Player’s Association. More often than not, the MLBPA supports initiatives that are ultimately bad for the game of baseball. With obscenely high player salaries, protecting athletes who may be using steroids, and a host of other issues, it’s a shame the union never protects something that is legitimately important: the players of the Montreal Expos.

Playing in what is the worst professional facility in all of North America, the Expos regularly draw less than 8,000 fans. Now, with twenty-two games a year in Puerto Rico, the Expos players are management essentially homeless and living in their suitcases.

With 29 Major League Baseball teams collectively owning the Montreal franchise, the team is incapable of competing at the highest level. Unable to call up some minor leaguers last September due to MLB imposed salary restrictions, General Manager Omar Minaya is very limited in his options when it comes to fielding a quality team. Without the funds to sign Vladimir Guerrero, the last two recognizable names on the Montreal roster are Jose Vidro and Livan Hernandez.


Anaheim Angels’ Vladimir Guerrero, a former Expos, hits a two-run home run off the Oakland Athletics’ Mark Mulder. (AP Photo/Francis Specker)Anaheim Angels’ Vladimir Guerrero, a former Expos, hits a two-run home run off the Oakland Athletics’ Mark Mulder. (AP Photo/Francis Specker)

While Major League Baseball entertains the idea of moving the franchise to Northern Virginia, Portland, Las Vegas, Puerto Rico or Mexico City, the Expos continue to flounder and will become the whipping boys of the National League. Rumors of contraction continue as well, where the team would be dissolved and the players dispersed.

With so much uncertainty surrounding the Expos, it’s remarkable that the MLBPA has not done anything to protect the players – or for that matters the few loyal Expos fans.

For a team that has had Gary Carter, Pedro Martinez, Randy Johnson, Larry Walker, Vlad Guerrero, Moises Alou, Marquis Grissom and many others, it’s sad to see the Expos so neglected nowadays.

Ultimately, the MLBPA must shoulder some of the blame, and begin to stick their necks out on real issues, like protecting Montreal’s players.


Montreal Expos catcher Brian Schneider (23) tags out New York Mets’ Karim Garcia at home plate in the eight inning of the Mets 2-1 loss to the Expos. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)Montreal Expos catcher Brian Schneider (23) tags out New York Mets’ Karim Garcia at home plate in the eight inning of the Mets 2-1 loss to the Expos. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

Can the Mets lineup get any more impotent this year?

Losing three 2-1 games and a 1-0 game is almost unacceptable. While pitching has been suspect in some games, it’s truly a pity to see quality starts wasted due to the Mets inability to score runs.

With Cliff Floyd set to return in a week’s time, hopefully the Mets will get back to playing baseball and not dropping easy games against the Pirates and Expos.

•••••••••••••••••••••••••••••

With all the talk about Freddy Adu, local soccer fans are beginning to see another young player shine. Twenty-three year old MetrosStars striker Fabian Taylor is looking very impressive this season. Coming on as a substitute in the second half of last week’s DC United game, Taylor struck two goals within his first twenty minutes on the pitch.

•••••••••••••••••••••••••••••Apparently the NBA playoffs aren’t interesting this year. Does anyone care? Has anyone paid attention to the Nets/Knicks series?


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