Dear Washington Nationals Fans,
Let me start by congratulating you, and of course the Nationals, for a great season; I wish you the very best of luck in the postseason. I hope you understand that I, as a Montrealer, share a little bit of your pride and excitement.
I write that in all sincerity. As you know your team was once my team, the Montreal Expos. They say that from small acorns grow mighty oaks, and I hope the seeds that were sown in Montreal continue to bear fruit for many years to come, even if a new crop of players now makes up the team in a different city. Rest assured I harbor no animosity or bitterness toward you; Washington had the wherewithal and the team became available, it was a match. Mind you there is still hurt and anger aplenty in Montreal, almost a decade later, over the shoddy treatment of the franchise and its fans by certain owners. Much has been said and written about that debacle, however I choose to think of it as water under the bridge.
Your team has a brief postseason record with just two previous appearances: once as the Nationals having made it to the playoffs a couple of years ago, but coming up short, and once as the Expos in the split-season of 1981. The final game of that series with the Los Angeles Dodgers is still referred to by Montreal baseball fans, usually with a shudder, maybe even an occasional tear, as Blue Monday after a late-game homer by the Dodgers’ player of that name on that day shattered our hopes and ended our season.
In 1994 the Expos were the best team in baseball leading their division and showing no signs of slowing when play was stopped in mid-August and the season ultimately lost to a strike. Another page in the frustrating history of the team.
But that was then, and this is now. Montreal sports fans are focused more on the ever-increasing possibility of the return of Major League Baseball to the city than on the lies and raw deals of the past. And Washington is off to the playoffs! Good luck!
Of course I would be remiss as a Montreal Canadiens fan if I didn’t mention that all this warm and fuzzy goodwill does not extend to the Capitals!