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Throwback Expos day at D.C. baseball game divides Montrealers — and Americans

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MONTREAL — An Expos throwback day at the Washington Nationals’ ballpark has divided Montrealers, with some cheering the vintage uniforms donned by players Saturday afternoon as an overdue homage and others chastising the move as an “insult” to their baseball forebears.

The Nationals — created after the Expos moved to Washington in 2005 — announced this week they would tout the powder blue away jerseys and pants along with the vintage caps sported by Montreal players in their inaugural season 50 years ago.

The gimmick fits into a night of retro theatrics at Nationals Stadium that includes 1960s pop tunes, a stylized “M” on the scoreboard, a ceremonial first pitch thrown by newly inducted Expos Hall-of-Famer Vladimir Guerrero Sr. — and, of course, some poutine and smoked meat among the concessions.

While the stadium features a “ring of honour” that includes Expos legends like Gary Carter and Tim Raines, the Nationals’ northern roots go largely unacknowledged in D.C., according to observers.

“It’s very pick-and-choosy and it’s super weird,” said Montreal-based journalist and talk radio host Dave Kaufman.

Tributes to all-stars such as Tim Wallach remain virtually absent from the park, he said. “They left it so that Montrealers, at least in my opinion, still have no love for this team.”

But Kaufman isn’t among the disgruntled.

“I think it’s a nod to the history of the franchise,” he said. “I look at this as an advertisement for the city of Montreal that’s being done in the capital of the United States.”

The debate comes amid rising emotions and renewed hopes for an Expos reincarnation in Quebec’s biggest city. “It’s these kind of side glances and small smiles,” Kaufman said.

Stephen Bronfman — son of former Expos owner Charles Bronfman — has long pushed for a hometown revival. Late last month he praised a “groundbreaking” plan for the Tampa Bay Rays to split games between Montreal and Florida.

Sylvain Tremblay, who co-leads the Encore Baseball Montreal social media group, said he’s “looking forward instead of thinking about past problems” — but he can’t speak for his city.

“Basically they stole our team, and so on. That’s the way some people think in Montreal,” said Tremblay, whose group has more than 6,200 followers on Facebook and Twitter. “For them, it’s an insult.”

“The Washington Nationals wearing my Montreal Expos old uniform feels like a slap to the face,” complained one Twitter user who says he lives in an off-island suburb.

Quebeckers aren’t the only ones turned off by the marketing stunt.

Washington Times columnist Thom Loverro called it a “cheap, lazy, thoughtless promotion,” indicating that any claim to a connection between the two teams seems as distasteful as American poutine.

To have Guerrero tossing the opening pitch is to “celebrate a corpse,” he suggested, and posited that D.C. should look to its own past, which includes the Washington Senators who took off for Texas in the early 1970s.

Commenters tended to agree, with one asking rhetorically: “why do we give a rats arse about Montreal?” Another local tweeted that the throwback jersey “manages to disrespect both Expos fans and fans of both Senators teams” (there were two iterations).

Nonetheless, fans cheered late Saturday afternoon as Canada’s deputy ambassador to the U.S., Kirsten Hillman, introduced the Nationals after the loudspeakers blared out, “Mesdames et messieurs, ladies and gentlemen, your Expos.” Between plays the scoreboard piped out scenes of Expos lore, like Gary Carter celebrating a postseason victory in 1981, the only year the team reached the playoffs.

The shared bond of grief may offer a bridge between the two cities — the last two in Major League Baseball to see teams decamp for other climes.

“They know what kind of pain we have, because they had it in ’71,” Tremblay said. “What can you do? You don’t take care of your girlfriend — now she’s gone.”

But hope is back in the air in Montreal, mingling with the heady musk of nostalgia.

“The Expos were my youth. They were one of the great joys of my life,” Kaufman said. “I have not held that same passion about a sports team since they left.

“It didn’t matter that they never won a World Series. It didn’t matter that they were overall under .500 for my baseball-watching career,” he said.

“They were my team and I loved them and I miss them so much.”

The Canadian Press

Local Sports

RDC Athletes of the Week.. plus a busy weekend upcoming for RDC Athletics

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RDC Athletics Update From RDC Athletics

Red Deer College Athletics is proud to announce the Bedford Food Company Athletes of the Week:

1. Shayla Sklaruk– Queens Cross Country Running Hometown – Stony Plain, AB
Bachelor of Education Elementary (2nd year)

Shayla Sklaruk (26:50.53) had a strong race at the Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) Cross Country Running National Championships in Grande Prairie on November 9. In snowy and cold weather conditions, the Bachelor of Education Elementary student led the RDC Queens to a fourth place team finish, narrowly missing bronze. Individually, Sklaruk completed the 6 km race in 11th spot in a deep and talented field of the top collegiate female runners across Canada.

2. Devin Saunders – Kings Cross Country Running Hometown – Red Deer, AB
Business Administration General Management (2nd year)

Devin Saunders (29:33.32) ran incredibly well at the CCAA Cross Country Running National Championships this past Saturday. In challenging weather conditions, the Business Administration General Management student rose to the occasion. Saunders led the Kings to bronze, which was the first national medal for the RDC men. The second-year competitor from Red Deer placed tenth over 8 km and earned a spot on the CCAA Men’s Cross Country Running All-Canadian team.

This Week in Red Deer College Athletics is sponsored by the RDC Students’ Association

This week the RDC Basketball teams will play two games at home. The Hockey Queens will face the Olds College Broncos in a home-and-home series. The Red Deer College Kings Hockey team will challenge the Portage College Voyageurs twice in Lac La Biche. Both RDC Volleyball squads will compete against the Medicine Hat College Rattlers in two road matches.

Here is a summary of what is happening this week:

Queens Basketball | Friday, Nov. 15 | 6:00 p.m. | Gary W. Harris Canada Games Centre

The Red Deer College Queens (3-1) will host the Ambrose University Lions (0-5). The Queens have some momentum after defeating the 2019 CCAA National Champions, the Olds College Broncos, this past Friday. Over four games, the RDC Queens have averaged 69 points, 50.5 rebounds and ten steals. Stauffer, Alberta’s Amy Szymanek has had a great start to the season and shares sixth spot in league scoring with 16.3 points per game.

Queens Basketball | Saturday, Nov. 16 | 6:00 p.m. | Gary W. Harris Canada Games Centre

The Queens will entertain the Lethbridge College Kodiaks (3-2).

Kings Basketball | Friday, Nov.15 | 8:00 p.m. | Gary W. Harris Canada Games Centre

The third place Red Deer College Kings (3-1) will compete against the Ambrose University Lions (2-3). Red Deer’s Spencer Klassen sits second in Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference (ACAC) Men’s Basketball with an average of 25 points per game.

Kings Basketball | Saturday, Nov.16 | 8:00 p.m. | Gary W. Harris Canada Games Centre

The RDC Kings will host the undefeated Lethbridge College Kodiaks (5-0). The Kodiaks and Trojans are tied for top spot in the south.

Queens Hockey | Thursday, Nov. 14 | 7:00 p.m. | Olds College

The second place RDC Queens (6-1-1-0) will play the Broncos (1-6-1-0) in Olds. Goaltender Karlee Fetch has been very good in net and sports the second best goals against average (2.16) and save percentage (0.916) in ACAC Women’s Hockey.

Queens Hockey | Saturday, Nov. 16 | 7:00 p.m. | Gary W. Harris Canada Games Centre

The Queens will entertain the Broncos in a rematch.

Kings Hockey | Friday, Nov. 15 | 7:00 p.m. | Portage College

The second place Hockey Kings (6-1-1-0) will face-off against the Portage College Voyageurs (0-7-1-0). Chase Thudium leads the Kings with 12 points. The Kings continue to boast the top power play in the league, with a 95.7 per cent success rate.

Kings Hockey | Saturday, Nov. 16 | 1:00 p.m. | Portage College

In an afternoon game, the RDC Kings will play the Voyageurs.

Queens Volleyball | Friday, Nov. 15 | 6:00 p.m. | Medicine Hat College

The third place Queens (4-2) will compete against the Rattlers (4-4) in Medicine Hat. The RDC Queens are on a four match winning streak. Red Deer’s Emma Holmes has a hitting percentage of 0.505, which leads ACAC Women’s Volleyball.

Queens Volleyball | Saturday, Nov. 16 | 1:00 p.m. | Medicine Hat College

The Red Deer College Queens will face the Medicine Hat College Rattlers in an afternoon tilt.

Kings Volleyball | Friday, Nov. 15 | 8:00 p.m. | Medicine Hat College

The RDC Kings (5-1) will play the Rattlers (1-7) on the road. Across the league, setter Thomas Wass has averaged the most assists per set (8.95).

Kings Volleyball | Saturday, Nov. 16 | 3:00 p.m. | Medicine Hat College

The Rattlers will host the Kings.

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RDC Runners are National Bronze Medalists!

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From RDC Athletics

RDC Athletics Recap

This past week the Kings Soccer team finished sixth at the Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) Men’s Soccer National Championship in Ontario. The RDC Cross Country Running Kings earned bronze and the Queens placed fourth at the CCAA Cross Country National Championships in Grande Prairie.

The Hockey Queens earned three of a possible four points against the NAIT Ooks. Both RDC Volleyball teams defeated the Olds College Broncos twice. The basketball teams downed the Broncos, including an impressive Queens’ win over the defending national champions.

Here is a summary of what happened this week in RDC Athletics:

Kings Soccer | CCAA Championship | Vaso’s Field | Oshawa

Even though injuries accumulated, the Red Deer College Kings gave it their all at nationals, finishing sixth.

In the quarter-final, the Kings defeated the Holland Hurricanes 2-1 on penalty kicks. Nathan Swartz scored in regulation time. Gabriel Martins Fonseca scored the winning penalty kick.

The Durham Lords downed the RDC Kings 2-0 in the semi-final. In the bronze semi-final, Champlain St-Lambert Cavaliers picked up a 3-0 decision over the Kings. Then in the placement match, the Humber Hawks won 5-0 over RDC.

RDC Cross Country | Sat., Nov. 9 | CCAA Championships | Grande Prairie

In challenging weather, the RDC Kings earned CCAA bronze and the Queens finished fourth, narrowly missing the podium.  Red Deer’s Devin Saunders (29:33.32) placed tenth nationally over 8 km, earning a spot on the CCAA All-Canadian team.

“It was a great day and huge victory for the men,” says RDC Cross Country Head Coach Kari Elliot. “To have three of the men finish in the top 20 is incredible and it’s the first time the Kings have podiumed at nationals.

Shayla Sklaruk (26:50.53) paced the Queens over 6 km, crossing the finish line in 11th spot.

 

Queens Volleyball | Thursday, Nov. 7 | Olds College

The Queens defeated the Broncos in three sets (25-16, 25-13 and 25-18). Emma Holmes and Tess Pearman had nine kills each.

Queens Volleyball | Friday, Nov. 8 | Gary W. Harris Canada Games Centre

The Red Deer College Queens (4-2) swept the Broncos at home (25-17, 25-15 and 25-18). Emma Holmes had eight kills. Jade Van Dyke, Erin Neufeldt and Alexandria Greenshields recorded seven each. Prior to the opening serve, representatives from the Royal Canadian Legion were present, promoting and leading Remembrance.

 

Kings Volleyball | Thursday, Nov. 7 | Olds College

The RDC Kings defeated the Olds College Broncos in three sets (25-21, 25-19 and 25-16). Ben Holmes led the Kings with ten kills.

Kings Volleyball | Friday, Nov. 8 | Gary W. Harris Canada Games Centre

In a rematch, the Kings (5-1) swept the Broncos (25-14, 25-19 and 25-17). Setter Thomas Wass finished with 22 assists.

 

Queens Hockey | Friday, Nov. 8 | NAIT

The NAIT Ooks edged the RDC Queens 4-3 in a shootout. Carissa Hogan scored a pair of goals and Jenessa Fournier added a single. The Queens picked up a point in the standings.

Queens Hockey | Saturday, Nov. 9 | Gary W. Harris Canada Games Centre

The Queens (6-2-0-0) earned a 4-2 victory over the Ooks. Avery Lajeunnesse, Brooklyn Rowley, Camryn Wallan and Jenessa Fournier scored for RDC. Karlee Fetch made 19 saves for the win.

 

Queens Basketball | Friday, Nov. 8 | Olds College

The Red Deer College Queens (3-1) played hard and defeated the 2019 CCAA National Champions, the Olds College Broncos, 69-65. Stockholm’s Sophie Melin led the Queens with 17 points.

Kings Basketball | Friday, Nov. 8 | Olds College

The Red Deer College Kings (3-1) dropped the Olds College Broncos 104-73. Former Bronco, Jouvon Edison, scored 21 points.

 

For more information on RDC Athletics, the student-athletes and teams, please visit: rdcathletics.ca RDC Athletics photos are available on Flickr.

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november, 2019

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thu21nov6:00 pm11:00 pmFestival of Trees - Preview Dinner6:00 pm - 11:00 pm MST Westerner Park, 4847A-19 Street

fri22nov8:00 pm11:00 pmFestival of Wines8:00 pm - 11:00 pm MST Westerner Park, 4847A-19 Street

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