Congrats Tim Raines!

Montreal Expos superstar outfielder and base stealing machine Tim Raines was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame today.

With his induction, the Hall will feature three Expos now - Andre Dawson, Gary Carter and Tim Raines. That number will increase to four when Vladimir Guerrero gets the call probably next year; he came close this year in his first year of eligibility.

Watching these Expos get in is bittersweet. It just reminds me of a time when the Expos were simply a part of this city's sports summer landscape. From the therapeutic voice of Dave Van Horne, Duke Snider, Ken Singleton and Jacques Doucet to playing midnight baseball while listening to the Expos on radio during a West coast swing.

And of course, that Tim Raines stance. In fact, Dawson, Carter, and Guerrero all had memorable batting stances. They even had the best nicknames. The Kid, Hawk, Cool Breeze and Tim 'Rock' Raines.

But nothing meets the drive down from a northern suburb of Montreal with my neighbour - who was a season ticket holder  - down Pie-IX boulevard to the Olympic Stadium on a lazy summer afternoon.  I distinctly still remember the smell of the Stadium on game day and walking into our seats. It wasn't Wrigley or Fenway or Chavez Ravine but it was our Polo Grounds; our Ebbets Field.

The Expos were Montrealais and those memories simply don't disappear.

But the team did. In many ways, the Expos are an unfulfilled promise just like this city. Montreal has lost much of its edge and muster in the last 25 years or so. As Toronto continues to reach astronomical heights making it a true international metropolis, Montreal is stagnant or even a laggard.

The Expos were a symbol of city looking for that one great world championship to validate its place among the great North American (sports) cities.

Alas, it was not to be. By the early 1990s, the Blue Jays had won two World Series. The best chance the Expos had was gutted by an obscene strikes in 1994 still too irritating to think about.

Bah. That's all the past now.

Like watching Raines in those powder blue Expos uniforms playing against any of those evil teams in the NL east. A memory worth remembering.

#30 is in!

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