Having just returned from New York City where I had a chance to see the Yankees host the Blue Jays from the vantage point of the press box, thoughts of the return of the Expos are indeed dancing in my head. So who better for me to get in touch with than long time Chomedey resident Serge Touchette? He covered the team brilliantly for Le Journal de Montreal from 1975 to 2004.
Touchette just released a new book called La Fesse d’Ellis Valentine et 75 autres bonnes histoires des Expos: mes souvenirs de nos Z’amours 1969-2004. “It is about the great moments and the great players of the franchise and also about funny stuff that happened over the years involving players, managers and writers,” said Touchette, noting that it is available a Renaud-Bray, Archambault, Indigo and Costco.
The latest talk about pro baseball returning to Montreal involves the Tampa Bay Rays potentially splitting their home season games between Florida and here in four years. “I want to see major league baseball back in Montreal, but not at any cost,” says Touchette. “Sharing a team with Tampa is not a bad idea for a year or two, but not for five or 10 years. No way! Montreal fans won’t go for that. They want a team, period, not a business concept which will serve mainly the interest of two ownership groups.”
In 2015 Touchette was named the winner of the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame’s 2015 Jack Graney Award. The St. Marys, Ont. based shrine presents this award annually to a member of the media who has made significant contributions to baseball in Canada through their life’s work.
Born in Montreal on August 1, 1952, Touchette fell in love with baseball the first time he saw Giants superstar Willie Mays play on TV in the 1960’s. During his tenure covering the Expos, he was on hand to document the club’s sole playoff appearance in 1981, Dennis Martinez’s perfect game on July 28, 1991, Gary Carter’s last season in 1992 and Vladimir Guerrero’s entire record-breaking tenure with the club.