And what demise was he talking about?
The Expos, of course. Though its official title was "Montreal: Major League City?", today's talk became more of an in memoriam of the former baseball team. Todd, as well as RueFrontenac.com's Serge Touchette, "the voice of the Expos" Dave Van Horne, former Expo Micheal Barrett and Team 990's Elliott Price were speakers for this event.
The talk became a great occasion for old friends to catch up and remember good memories.
"I'm just so happy to see these guys again!" explained Barrett when the "Expos: Five Years Later" panel started its discussion. He admitted to being very emotional about his time with the Montreal team. "We had such a great team," he said of the 2002-03 team, "Imagine what we could have done if we'd held out a couple more years." Instead of developing, the players started waiting for their time to be "cherry picked" out of the team. "It's only a matter of time before I'm the next guy," became the mentality.
So why did the Expos fail?
For many reasons, according to the panelists. The MLB gave all the broadcasting rights to the Blue Jays, said Elliott Price. The fans never had the chance to sit in a real ball park, thinks Serge Touchette. Players should have been locked into long term contracts, to form a sense of pride, and there should have been more revenue sharing, said Barrett. The team failed to market the players, he added. "The organization couldn't afford to market the players, but at the same time, they didn't want to market them because they wanted to keep them." "The Expos spent more time marketing Youppi than the players!" added Dave Van Horne, only half jokingly.
And the panelists came down hard on Montreal sports fans. "Fans have to take their responsability [for the Expos demise]," explained Price. For Todd, fans might be asking for a little bit too much. "[They] would only be happy with 82 11-0 wins..." he said, about Habs fans.
And with all of the recent injuries, "the Canadiens have become minor league...."
So, is Montreal a major league city? If you have to ask the question, probably not. I'll end this post the same way Jack Todd ended his talk... "But Toronto has a major league team, do you consider [it] to be major league?"