Top 10 Montreal Expos Memories: No. 1 – Tim Raines (2001)


William Perlman/The Star-Ledger via USA TODAY Sports

I never saw Tim Raines in his prime. That doesn’t mean he can’t top this list.

A lot of people still think that Montreal is not a baseball town. That they don’t have baseball fans in the city. Yes, they lost a team but so did Milwaukee, Washington and Seattle. This city loves baseball. And they loved the Expos. They just hated the circumstances around the team.

Look at the almost 80,000 tickets sold for two Spring Training games. Look at how Montreal fans treated its star players when they returned to the Expos. Rusty Staub and Gary Carter famously got huge ovations in their Montreal returns but I wasn’t there for those. I was there in 2001 when Tim Raines had what he called the biggest ovation of his career.

You can see it here.

I was too young to remember Raines glory days as an Expo. But I knew what it meant when he came back. So I cheered like the rest of the crowd. And you could actually feel momentum shift. The pitcher at the time, Glendon Rusch was obviously rattled. If you want to see what a crowd could do to a pitcher at Olympic Stadium, watch that clip.

The Expos went on to win the game and not much else the rest of the year but I never experienced a loud crowd having fun at a baseball game. I didn’t have any pennant races or playoff games. For me, memories of a loud Olympic Stadium in my adult life are few and far between. But THIS. This was special. I was old enough to remember it and it is by far my favourite moment of the baseball team I grew up with.

I love baseball. I played it. I watched it. Taking you through the 10 top memories I had was a lot of fun. And, like I said yesterday, you can expect a whole lot more baseball around here this week as well as the other stuff we talk about here.

In case you missed one or any of the installments, here’s the rest of the list:
10. Zach Day
9. 1994 All-Star Game
8. Dennis Martinez and Mark Gardner
7. My First Game
6. Vladimir Guerrero and the 40/40
5. Bartolo Colon/Cliff Floyd Trades
4. Believer Fever 2003
3. 1994
2. 2002 Home Opener comeback