Thursday, January 28, 2010

HAWK'S HAT (OR DAWSON'S DILEMMA)

How many more kicks in the teeth do Montreal baseball fans have to endure?
The Expos are long gone, stolen from the city six years ago by an unscrupulous commissioner who let a pair of New York carpetbaggers do his dirty work. The genesis of their demise can be traced to the 1970s, when separarist politics chased a substantial portion of the Expos' fan base out of town, followed by an era of cheapskate ownership drafting and developing talented players and then unloading them to save on salaries when they came of age. A perennial also-ran playing their games well-removed from the city center in a de facto mausoleum with a fixed roof that might or might not partially collapse at any given moment didn't help matters, either.
But the myriad reasons behind the Expos' demise are not the insult that was added to injury yesterday. The latest indignity came courtesy of one of the franchise's greatest players, Andre Dawson, who expressed his disappointment that he'll be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame as an Expo. The Hawk wanted to go in as a Chicago Cub, but the Hall has the final say on such matters, and the keepers of the shrine decided that the impact of Dawson's 10-plus seasons in Montreal outweighed his six seasons in Chicago, where he won the National League MVP Award in 1987.
Dawson has a right to his preference and he certainly had a stronger case to be inducted as a Cub than Gary Carter did to be enshrined as a Met - a request the Hall denied on the basis of Carter's decade-long run in Montreal versus a little more than four seasons in New York. But for Dawson to say publicly that he would have taken greater pride in going in as a Cub is nothing short of insulting to the fans who embraced and supported him while he developed the superstar credentials that he carried into Chicago. It was probably meant more as a compliment to Chicago than it was an intended slight to Montreal, but at this end, it stings.
Andre Dawson is the closest thing the Expos ever had to Jean Beliveau - ability, class and elegance embodied in a professional athlete who knew how to carry himself with equal parts confidence and humility. He's got six months to work on his induction speech and use those character strengths to deliver a message that makes it right with Expos fans. Failing that, the Dawson Hall of Fame saga is just further proof that major league baseball deserved Montreal a lot less than Montreal deserved major league baseball.

18 comments:

  1. "It was probably meant more as a compliment to Chicago than it was an intended slight to Montreal, but at this end, it stings. "

    I'm glad you put this in because I truly believe this was the case. As good as we think Expo fans were, he probably felt that his best years were played in Chicago and he probably made stronger bonds there than he did in Montreal.

    Sure it stings a little, but I don't take it as an insult.

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  2. Aww Really? My brother in NYC announced on FB that Dawson would be inducted as an Expo..I have to break this to him gently..

    My son wasn't even around in the Expos' heyday but he never takes his Expos hat off.

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  3. As a sports fan here in Montreal my hands remain dirty from all the times I was left holding the shitty end of the stick. We got screwed so many times that I am starting to think that we, sports fans, like being treated like horny sex fiends. As far as I am concerned the behaviour of Dawson and the likes is proof enough that many players (not all) no longer play for the love of the game and the fans but rather for the glamour and the love of money. The Hawk is talking through his hat and hopefully will remember that the game is not about him but about the fans. Thanks Ted for bringing these dilemnas to the forefront. We need more than just the government officials to be pissed at. Yvan

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  4. There is probably more at stake revenue wise for Dawson to have gone in as a Cub. The team still exists today which would have meant more money in Dawson's pockets. Endorsements, signing engagements etc.
    Unfortunately with the Expos extinct other than the hats that can still be found, there is none of the above left for any of the veteran players of that time period.
    And Dawson (and the majority of his team mates from that time period) played for a fraction of what players are making today.

    Sad what today's sports world has become, the almighty dollar.

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  5. This gravy train is over. I really don't see the insult here. Which team would you rather be associated with in the Hall of Fame? The Expos, who most MLB fans have already forgotten or, the legendary Cubs?

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  6. @ Ted..I understand Mr Dawson is going in as an Expo, but not with the pride shown by his fans. Thats what the 'Aww' is for.

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  7. Big Deal...

    most of those players care about being noticed
    like someone else said..

    for me i dont care.. Montreal will never have another Expos,,,and its sad..too much politics.. they only thing we have is the Habs.
    and well theres talk every year of the team being sold..

    once again..there is too much crap going on in
    pro sports..

    so really andre dawson..whope de do..
    as far as his carrear..well we all remember
    it so the fact of the hall of fame..big deal..

    just like when they retired Patrick Roys jersey, who left because of the Thick headad
    who embaressed him into quitting and we all
    saw the video..

    Brian.

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  8. Look...he is just another "hero" from my youth pissing on my memories. Bad enough we have people shoving microphones in front of Guy Lafleur's face all of the time, but now Dawson has to add insult to injury.Every time one of these guys opens his mouth, I lose a part of my innocence. Dramatic enough for ya?
    Look, I agree that going in as a Cub may have more longevity, but how many Expos will there be in the hall?
    I truly hope that the Hawk will get it right in his induction speech. I truly hope that the Cubs find a way to honor him as well.
    But geeze Hawk, think about how small the world and media is before trying to make the Cubs fans feel good. There's another side to that coin.
    And for the love of god man, get it right in July. Please.

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  9. Sorry but I only liked Chez Pare about my Montreal days.

    Andre

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  10. It's "Paree" with two "e"s, Hawk. Pare is the bowling alley. You're just making things worse.

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  11. By the way Ted....You really screwed up my mornings!
    You were as much a part of them as the S,S &S.
    I wish you luck in wherever (and whatever) the road takes you. Good luck

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  12. Wow, Jamie, that's pretty illustrious company I was keeping in your morning routine.

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  13. Hi Ted,

    Agree with you 100%, the Expos organisation doesn't seem to get any respect. Unfortunate because for the first 20 years it was run with class by the Bronfmans.

    I expect that a class guy like Andre Dawson will no doubt pass along some warm, funny reminiscences about his time in Montreal when he's at the podium.

    I would expect him to be bitter about the baseball establishment that, under the guise of collusion, paid him half what he was worth after declaring free-agency and forced to sign with the Cubs, the only bidder BTW. To re-sign with Montreal meant he would miss a whole first chunk of the season under the rules. His MVP season followed.

    The Expos got support vis-a-vis Dawson yesterday from the strangest place yesterday. Dan Patrick on his radio show and podcast at SI.com was very happy Dawson was being told he'd wear an Expos hat at Cooperstown. He also went on to reminisce about what would have been an Expo all-star team from their entire era and was very complimentary.

    Keep it up, Ted. Very much enjoying it.

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  14. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  15. What's in it for MLB when they decided to force him to go in as an Expo? Does Bud have a leftover box of old Expos caps and he figures that this is the only way that he's gonna be able to get rid of them.

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  16. Sue me. Been forever since I was in town, and don't count on me showing up just 'cause I have to wear a tacky hat in Cooperstwon forever.

    Andre

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  17. Andre probably still has the bitter taste in his mouth from the racism that he faced in Montreal, albeit subtle (the incident at Eaton's in the late 70's comes to mind)

    Andre was never the most articulate in terms of interviews and I am sure he will be a lot more politically correct during his induction speech. At least one can hope that he will be. That last shot at the fans of Montreal via a Chicago radio station interview was certainly not one to forget.

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