Montréal native Vladimir Guerrero Jr. got 2 standing ovations Monday night and the final standing ovation Tuesday night with a walkoff home run. The Toronto Blue Jays split the 2018 series at Olympic Stadium with the St. Louis Cardinals. St. Louis posted a 5-3 win Monday night.
Guerrero Jr. got a surprise when he was given his father's #27 to wear in the 2-game series in La Belle Province. Despite a hot spring, Guerrero Jr. will not start with the Blue Jays, likely to start in AA.
Hometown guy Russell Martin, the Blue Jays starting catcher, also received a warm reception during the series.
Teoscar Hernandez went 2-for-2 with a RBI triple and scored in the 7th and a RBI single in the 8th inning Monday night. The Blue Jays had 3 hits on Tuesday, including the Guerrero Jr. walkoff home run.
Marcus Stroman had a solid start Monday night though he gave up 2 runs toward the end of his start. Joe Biagini threw 5 scoreless innings in the combined shutout.
"If the Montréal experiment ever suffers a setback, 2018 may be that year."
Attendance was off but expected with games on Monday and Tuesday. The attendance figures were still impressive with a less-than-ideal opponent. If a new Montréal Expos team could draw 25,000 on a weeknight for a regular season game in a new downtown stadium, everyone would be impressed.
The 2018 combined attendance was 51,151. The Saturday attendance in 2017 was 52,202.
There was some harsh coverage from Toronto reporters that focused on the lower attendance as well as the transition in Montréal city power from exuberant baseball fan Denis Coderre to new mayor Valerie Plante last November. Plante hasn't been nearly as warm to the idea of a downtown stadium, a necessity in returning MLB to Montréal.
Vladimir Guerrero Sr., fresh off his induction notice into the Baseball Hall of Fame, was not there, but 8 former Montréal Expos were honoured: Larry Parrish, Ellis Valentine, Chris Speier, Darren Fletcher, John Wetteland, Ken Hill, Jose Vidro, and Warren Cromartie. Le Grand Orange aka Rusty Staub was scheduled, but Staub is battling a critical illness at home in Florida.
Hall of Famer Tim Raines threw out the first pitch Tuesday night.
Montréal Canadiens defenseman Jeff Petry was shown taking batting practice on Tuesday. Shea Weber was also out there though definitely not taking batting practice.
The lack of enthusiasm extended to the TV coverage of the games. The MLB Network tape-delayed coverage from Monday night was miserable. The channel worked hard to scrub any visible presence of fans wearing Montréal Expos clothing in the crowd. The MLB Network even cut out of the bottom of the 4th inning to fit the game in a 3-hour window.
As the U.S. audience saw Tuesday night, the Rogers Sportsnet crew was less than enthused about being in Montréal. Buck Martinez and Pat Tabler interviewed John Wetteland Monday night but otherwise barely mentioned the Expos or Montréal.
Toronto Blue Jays at Olympic Stadium in Montréal
|March 27, 2018||St. Louis||Toronto 1-0||25,816|
|March 26, 2018||St. Louis||St. Louis 5-3||25,335|
|April 1, 2017||Pittsburgh||Toronto 6-4||52,202|
|March 31, 2017||Pittsburgh||Tie 1-1||43,180|
|April 2, 2016||Boston||Boston 7-4||53,420|
|April 1, 2016||Boston||Boston 4-2 (10)||52,682|
|April 4, 2015||Cincinnati||Toronto 9-1||50,231|
|April 3, 2015||Cincinnati||Cincinnati 2-0||46,314|
|March 29, 2014||NY Mets||Toronto 2-0||50,229|
|March 28, 2014||NY Mets||Toronto 5-4||46,121|
Twitter captures: @BlueJays
photo credit: MLB Network/Rogers Sportsnet/MLB