Tuesday, 12 August 2014

A Dark Day in Montreal's Sports History

     August 12th, 2014 marks the 20th anniversary that MLB decided to go on strike. The strike which lasted 232 days from August 12th, 1994 till April 2nd, 1995 led to the cancellation of approximately 948 games along with the 1994 World Series. Other great accomplishments failed to happen as well such as Tony Gywnn becoming the first player to hit .400 since Ted Williams did in 1941 along with Matt Williams trying to beat the single season home run record of 61 held by Roger Maris at the time. The biggest impact however happened to the Montreal Expos.
   This day will always be one of the most darker days for a sports team in Montreal. Before the strike happened, the Expos had the best record in baseball with a 74-40 and were six games ahead of the Atlanta Braves for first place in the NL East with players like Pedro Martinez, Larry Walker, Marquis Grissom, Moises Alou, John Wetteland and Ken Hill leading the way. When the strike ended, it all went downhill from there. Due to the fact that Montreal is a small market in baseball compared to the likes of the New York Yankees or the Boston Red Sox, they were not able to keep marquee players due to financial issues. During Spring Training in 1995, the Expos were forced to trade four key players (Grissom, Hill, Wetteland and Walker leaving as a free agent). As the rest of the 90's happened, the rest of the team like Alou, Martinez and Mel Rojas left through trade and free agency respectively. The consequences of this happening was simple. In 2004, ten years after the strike, they relocated and became the Washington Nationals to start the 2005 season.
   If the strike never happened, the Expos would have won the World Series and contrary to my father's belief they would finally have a new place to play since it would give the people responsible a good idea to build them a new stadium. Unfortunately it never happened. August 12th, 1994 will always be remembered as a dark day in the history of sports in Montreal and maybe one day Montrealers will see a baseball team play again.

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