"I'm on a personal mission to keep the Expos' history alive, would you go along with having an Expos Day where you guys broke out the uniforms and got wear to the Expos uniform finally?", I asked Nats' outfielder and one-time Montreal Expos' prospect, Roger Bernadina. "Yeah, definitely," Bernadina responded. -- "I got [Collin] Balester to go along, and I heard Ian Desmond would be interested, you guys are the ones with the ties to Montreal." -- "Yeah, exactly the three of us," Bernadina said, "I would do it one day, I wish, one day we could get the Expos uniforms." Earlier in the interview I'd conducted with the 26-year-old Willemstad, Curacao-born outfielder, who'd signed with Montreal as an 18-year-old amateur free agent in 2001 and remained with the organization through the move to Washington, Bernadina told me that though he was happy right now with the Nationals, he, "...always wanted to play for the Expos in the major leagues but that never happened." It could...
Collin Balester (@ballystar40), who's currently reinventing himself as a reliever at Syracuse in the Nationals' system was nice enough to conduct an email interview with me this Winter, and when I asked the 23-year-old right-hander about the possibility of having one day each season when the Nationals wore the old powder blue, red and white unis with the tri-colour pinwheel cap, the '04 Expos' 4th Round pick said he'd definitely be interested. Here's the exchange:
"Federal Baseball: Are you sentimental at all about the Expos since you were a member of their last draft class? I'd like to see the Montreal years represented in DC somehow...What do you think of an Expos Day, where you don the powder blues and the tri-color caps?
Collin Balester: "Yes. I always say that, I like being the last draft class in Expos' history. Makes me feel pretty cool haha, and that would be awesome If we had a couple days of throw back and kinda give some love to Montreal seeing that it is where we all started, I am a big fan of that idea."
And just this morning, I finally read the transcript of the Ian Desmonds Q&A with fans at the ESPNZONE on the 20th of May, in a post by the Nats News Network's Cheryl Nichols entitled, "Ian Desmond Answers Fan Questions at ESPN Zone", wherein Desmond's asked for his thoughts on his history with Les Expos and the possibility of honoring the franchise's past:
"'I don’t know about that. The Expos were The Expos. They became The Washington Nationals for a reason--people lost interest in The Expos. We’ve got a good thing going right now. The Curly 'W' is where it is at. And we need to stay focused on the 'W'. There might be a date or year we wear a throwback Expos jersey though. That would be kind of cool.'"
Sure, sure, focus on the "Curly-W", I get it, there's no tie to the Montreal-era of the franchise for most of the Nationals fans in the nation's capital, but there is some connection for fans of the Expos, who have stuck with this team after baseball arranged for their relocation, and more importantly, there are the players, whose history won't be honored and may well be forgotten since Washington has so far decided to ignore the Expos-era.
In the weeks after Andre Dawson was elected to the Hall of Fame, the Montreal Expos were once again a topic of conversation, when the Hall had to decided what cap "The Hawk" would be wearing on his Hall of Fame plaque, and fellow-Hall-of-Famer Gary Carter commented on the Nationals ignoring the Expos in an article by New York Times' writer Tyler Kepner entitled, "Montreal Expos, Forgotten by Many, Are Reuniting in Cooperstown"' in which Mr. Kepner noted that, "The Expos are now the Washington Nationals, but the Expos’ history is not acknowledged at Nationals Park," and Mr. Carter commented:
"'That’s really the sad part...At least recognize and embrace the fact that they were in Montreal for 36 years.'"
The Nationals count the Montreal-era stats as part of franchise history. That's the only way in which Expos live on right now, in the record books and on the two plaques that will hang on the Hall of Fame's walls honoring Mr.'s Carter and Dawson's contributions to the game. One day a year, honor the past, honor Gary Carter, Andre Dawson, Tim Raines, Le Grand Orange Rusty Staub, El Presidente Dennis Martinez, Tim Wallach, Vladimir Guerrero, Jose Vidro, all of the old Expos, and invite the French-Canadian fans of the franchise to visit the nation's capital that day...And if you need a financial incentive just think of all the Expos caps you can sell? How about every August 12th?
• The Montreal Expos are alive on Twitter, Check out (@Montreal_Expos) where the history of the team is kept alive on a daily basis. (And they have 2,966 followers).