You have heard the “Curse of the Bambino,” and the “Curse of the Goat,” but nothing can compare to the “Curse of What if,” which I also like to call “The Curse of the Youppi.”
While I am an avid New York Mets baseball fan, I am like many in the North Country who adopted the Montreal Expos as the unofficial home team. I always enjoyed heading to the Great White North to watch the Expos play, rooting for them when it was against anyone but the Metropolitans.
I remember well the summer of 1994. I can almost name the whole team. Todd Fletcher, Andres Gallaraga, Delino DeShields, Tim Wallach, Wil Cordero, Moises Alou, Marquis Grissom and Larry Walker in the field to go with Jeff Fassero, Ken Hill, Kirk Rueter, Pedro Martinez and John Wettland.
The team was absolutely dominant. The best record in baseball and career years for several of the members of that team.
Then there was union dis-harmony, followed by revolt and the unthinkable, a lockout of the game in mid-August, the first time that a World Series would not be played for a reason other than World War. Heck, it was even played during some years of World War.
The fan base was devastated that they would not get a chance to prove themselves in the postseason, something that had not happened for the franchise since 1981. It was setting up to be the first all-international World Series in baseball, on paper, as the French-speaking, secession-seeking, Quebec’s own Expos would try and unseat the two-time defending English-speaking Toronto Blue Jays. Just think, tuning in for the National Pastime’s greatest games only to hear “Oh, Canada” before each first pitch?
The Expos would never get that chance. The 1994 roster was melted down into pieces after the strike, the fans never came back to the Big O, and the Expos became the Washington Nationals.
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