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  1. Montreal hosts global programming event By: Rafael Ruffolo ComputerWorld Canada (17 Sep 2007) OOPSLA 2007, an international conference on Object-Oriented Programming, Systems, Languages and Applications bringing together a wide variety of computing professionals, is coming to Montreal next month. The conference offers demonstration sessions, panel discussions and keynote speeches geared towards industry practitioners, managers and researchers. Speakers will address subjects such as improving programming languages and software development, as well as exploring new programming methods. The event will also host doctoral students who will get the opportunity to interact and present their work to industry researchers. "We have a fair number of managers from various IT organizations coming to the conference," Richard Gabriel, OOPSLA 2007 conference chair, said. "This year's event in particular has a real superstar lineup as we have some keynote speakers that people in the field would try over a ten-year period to see. But, we've got them all." One such keynote speaker is Gregor Kiczales, a professor of computer science at the University of British Columbia. Kiczales is known for his work on Aspect-oriented programming (AOP) and helped lead the Xerox PARC team that developed the AspectJ programming language. He intends to talk about how people work together toward building and using complicated systems. "We have these very scientific and technical theories that account for how people work together versus the social factors that account for how people work together, and everybody knows that the middle is where the action is," Kiczales said. "The thing I want to claim our field should work on over the next 10 years is that theory in the middle of how people work and how technology works and I think that could have a dramatic impact on what we do." Kiczales said that AOP, which is what he's most known for, touches on these same issues. He said it's about how different people see the same thing in different ways. "I've been working with AOP a little over 10 years now and what I'm trying to do now is go back to this set of intuitions that produced AOP and fish out the next idea," Kiczales said. Because the OOPSLA conference is so diverse, he said, both technologists and methodologists will have the opportunity to hear these ideas together; something the specialized nature of most conferences fail to address. "OOPSLA is really about this mix of people from our field trying to see the ideas that are going to be breaking in about five or 10 years from now," Kiczales said. "The thing that truly makes OOPSLA unique is the mix it brings together with practitioners, managers, consultants and researchers. You have people who believe that technology is the answer, people who believe that methods are the answer, and people who believe that management is the answer. And when you mix these sorts of people together you tend to produce insight." Another notable speaker is John McCarthy, an Association for Computer Machinery (ACM) Turing Award winner, whose credits include coining the term "Artificial Intelligence" as well as inventing the Lisp programming language. McCarthy also did work in computer time-sharing technology and suggested it might lead to a future in which computing power and programs could be sold as a utility. "This is going to be a talk from one of the most famous computer scientists ever at the tail-end of his career," Gabriel said, adding that McCarthy is expected to discuss his work on a programming language called Elephant 2000. "He's been working on it for about 15 years now, but he doesn't talk about it much and has not released many papers on it, so it should be an interesting discussion," Gabriel said. Gabriel said what he knows thus far about McCarthy's proposed programming language is that it's designed for writing and verifying programs that facilitate commercial transactions such as online airline bookings. Frederick Brooke, another ACM Turing Award winner, is also speaking at the event and will discuss how companies can collaborate and "telecollaborate" to achieve conceptual integrity. "He's going to deal with the issue of groups of people who are designing systems together, but aren't situated in the same place," Gabriel said. "A lot of his current research deals around the issue of virtual reality." And speaking of virtual reality, two other notable speakers include Jim Purbrick and Mark Lentczner, who are software engineers behind the virtual world of Second Life. The two will deliver keynotes on the event's Onward, which is about trying to look to the future, Gabriel said. "Large companies like IBM and Sun Microsystems have presences in Second Life, so we're hoping some of the higher level, business-type people who attend will be the target of this keynote." OOPSLA organizers expect roughly 1,200 IT and computing professionals to attend the conference, now in its twenty-second year. The event runs from October 21 to 25, at the Palais des congrès de Montréal.
  2. Obviously this issue has yet to be released, but has anyone seen this yet? This seems like a Montreal bashing field day. http://www2.macleans.ca/2009/07/08/macleans-covers-gallery/mac_cover_091109/ Calling Montreal a disgrace is a very strong statement, as while they sit in their Toronto office buildings, their city is suffering from many more homicides as well as a massive polarization of wealth, as the middle class drains itself to the far reaches of the GTA. I'm not saying that Montreal doesn't have its problems, but this seems to be utterly gratuitous, on the part of those who seem to love to see us fail.
  3. Dans le journal de montreal sous la signature de Martin Smith, on pouvait lire le 22 avril: Le stade Saputo prefere au BMO field pour le match retour entre le Canada et Saint-vincent-et-les-Grenadines. Le stade Saputo n'a pas encore ete inaugure qu'il se permet deja un joli pied de nez au BMO field de Toronto pompeusement surnomme " stade national du soccer au Canada " En effet l'Association canadienne de soccer annoncera aujourd'hui....... Et l'article se termine ainsi " le grand patron Joe Saputo a donc pu decider d'eriger un stade concu specifiquement pour le soccer avec un terrain de gazon naturel, surface preferee par la tres vaste majorite des joueurs. Pour une fois le comite executif de l'Association canadienne a pris une decision en tenant doublement compte des souhaits exprimes par les joueurs plutot que sur le niveau des revenus escomptes. Le choix de Montreal et du stade Saputo devant Edmonton et son immense stade du Commonwealth, par exemple, s'explique par un autre souhait des joueurs, majoritairement bases en Europe, ils tiennent a jouer autant que possible dans l'est du Canada afin d'eviter d'avoir a combattre les effets d'un trop grand decalage horaire. Le choix du stade Saputo pour la rencontre du 20 juin fournira une occasion supplementaire aux Montrealais de faire rager leurs ennemis jures de Toronto. En effet, si les Quebecois assurent un succes populaire au match contre Saint-vincent-et-les-Grenadines ainsi qu'aux eventuelles rencontres contre le Honduras et le Mexique, il ne faudrait pas s'etonner que le stade Saputo devienne le veritable stade de predilection de l'equipe du Canada ". En effet la nouvelle devait se confirmer plus tard .
  4. http://journalmetro.com/local/lachine-dorval/actualites/1088994/des-autobus-sur-les-pistes-de-montreal-trudeau/ This article suggests YULis considering a new mid field terminal for future expansion. Discussion has started on airliners.net.*
  5. Mauer, Twins open Target Field, top Red Sox 5-2 By: DAVE CAMPBELL, Associated Press MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — The Minnesota Twins have finally moved into their own place. They held the housewarming party outdoors. After 28 seasons inside the dingy Metrodome, the Twins broke in Target Field by beating the Boston Red Sox 5-2 Monday behind hometown star Joe Mauer in the first regular-season game at their new ballpark. The Minnesota Twins have finally moved into their own place. They held the housewarming party outdoors. After 28 seasons inside the dingy Metrodome, the Twins broke in Target Field by beating the Boston Red Sox 5-2 Monday behind hometown star Joe Mauer in the first regular-season game at their new ballpark. Jason Kubel hit the first home run — "I'll remember for the rest of my life," he said — and Carl Pavano earned the first victory. "I've been waiting a long time," said Mauer, who grew up less than 10 miles away in St. Paul. "It's definitely a special place, and I'm glad it's here." Red-white-and-blue bunting hung from the ledges and commissioner Bud Selig was in attendance for the celebration, which started hourse before the crowd of 39,715 snapped cell-phone pictures of the first pitch by Pavano. The unpredictable spring weather played right along, too, with a blue, breezy 65-degree afternoon. "It was colder in spring training than here today," said center fielder Denard Span, a Florida native who acknowledged concern about the early-season conditions here. "All around, a perfect day for everybody." On the Twins side, at least. Pavano (2-0) gave up four hits and one run in six innings and the Twins bullpen backed him up, with Jon Rauch recording his fifth save in as many attempts. Jon Lester (0-1) struggled for the second straight start and labored through five innings for the Red Sox, throwing only 59 of his 107 pitches for strikes while giving up four runs on nine hits and three walks. He struck out five. "I just stunk," Lester said. "Didn't make pitches, and I really don't know what else to say." Kubel hit his home run into the right-field seats in the seventh inning to finish with three hits and two RBIs. Mauer did the same. "It's only fitting, a Minnesota boy playing in his home ballpark," Span said. "You can't write a better script than that. He's probably going to be doing that about 80 more times here. You guys might want to go ahead and get used to that." Twins baseball started in suburbia in 1961 at Metropolitan Stadium and moved downtown to the Metrodome in 1982, the year before Mauer was born, sharing both facilities with the Vikings football team. Now, in their 50th season, they've merged fresh air with city energy in this cozy ballpark of their own with rail tracks, parking ramps and bike racks, warehouses and skyscrapers, and bars and restaurants all around. "It's beautiful," said Red Sox manager Terry Francona, who frequently compared the Metrodome to an office building. The Twins wore 1961 throwback jerseys and brought back Harmon Killebrew, Kent Hrbek and dozens of former players who graced the Met and the Dome to tribute their history. The weather was ideal. At least on this day, the fans wouldn't have minded even a monsoon. "We're from Minnesota. We've got plenty of rain gear. We fish. We hunt," said Tony Carlson, who struck poses next to the Puckett statue on the plaza outside before the game with his friend, Bryan Spratt. Marco Scutaro, batting leadoff for Boston in place of Jacoby Ellsbury, who sat out with sore ribs, got the ballpark's first official hit, a single to center. He was picked off by Pavano. The Red Sox were, unusually, a sideshow and not the main attraction. The Twins got their offense going right away, with Michael Cuddyer driving in Span for the first run and Kubel coming next with his own RBI single. Even Mauer was more of a background character, with the $545 million, limestone-encased ballpark the star of the day. Not to be totally outdone, though, AL MVP hit an RBI double down the left-field line in the second. Mauer hit a grounder up the middle that skipped off second base for an RBI single in the fourth when Scutaro couldn't handle it. Sputtering designated hitter David Ortiz, who went 2 for 18 with nine strikeouts during the season's first week, helped his confidence with an RBI double that left fielder Delmon Young nearly caught over his shoulder — but dropped in an awkward collision with the wall in the fourth inning to give the Red Sox their first run. "I thought I hit it better than that," Ortiz said, hoping for a homer. Mike Cameron hit a long drive to center with two out and one on in the seventh, too, that was caught by Span with the Twins leading 4-1. So far, it doesn't look like the ballpark will be a bandbox. "That's all I got," Cameron said. "I don't know what else to say." NOTES: This is the fifth time the Red Sox have been the visiting team for the first official game at a new ballpark, though the first since 1923. Boston also helped open Oriole Park (Baltimore, 1901), Shibe Park (Philadelphia, 1909), Griffith Stadium (Washington, 1911) and Yankee Stadium (New York, 1923). The Red Sox lost all five. ... Selig said Target Field is a high-priority site for a future All-Star game, possibly as early as 2014. ... Pavano stopped a line drive in the sixth by Victor Martinez with his hand, grabbing the ball, getting the second out and slapping his thigh in reaction to the pain. Pavano finished the inning and said afterward he was all right. "I was glad to get the out and get out of there," he said. Photo :: http://www.flickr.com/groups/targetfield/pool/
  6. The Movement presented by AT&T, hosted by former MLS forward Calen Carr, is a new series from MLS Digital that explores the growing soccer movement and soccer culture in North America In Episode 1, Carr visits Montreal to learn about the city’s unique culture and history — on and off the field. Music: ROWJAY “KUNG FUN MARGIELA" A TRAPPIN APE SOUNDCLOUD.COM/ROWJAYCOB Special Thanks Impact Media Pat Vallee Jordano Aguzzi Yvan Delia-Lavictoire
  7. Le projet de luminothératpie de cette année à la Place des festivals via The Gazette Luminothérapie's field of swaying stems Place des festivals will be filled with glinting lights and moving melodies for this year’s Luminothérapie installation BY SUSAN SEMENAK, THE GAZETTE NOVEMBER 22, 2013 The designers of Entre les rangs, led by the Montreal architecture firm KANVA, were inspired by the long narrow parcels of land set out in New France. The installation at Luminothérapie features music to give the impression of wind in a wheat field. MONTREAL - For all its summertime verve, Place des festivals can be downright desolate come winter. Without late sunsets, lingering festival crowds or lineups for food trucks, the concrete quadrangle adjacent to Place des Arts is cold and windswept. In a few weeks, though, it will become a twinkling, swaying wheat field. On Dec. 11, the interactive multimedia show called Entre les rangs, which means “between the rows,” opens as part of the fourth annual Luminothérapie design competition organized by the people who run the Quartier des spectacles as an antidote to Montreal’s long grey winters and a way to showcase the creativity of Montreal designers. It was an idea that came to Montreal architect Rami Bebawi and his team at Kanva Architecture one frigid end-of-winter day last March when they bundled up and headed over to take stock of the site. To find the “soul” of the place, he says, they listened to the wind. And then they enlisted designers in a host of other fields, among them the indie musician Patrick Watson and the local landscape design firm Côté Jardin, to help create magic using light and sound. “The space is just so big. It’s like an open lot surrounded by buildings in the middle of a dense urban environment,” Bebawi said, pouring espresso in the firm’s sunny St-Laurent Blvd. loft while taking a break from the preparations for the show’s opening. “Stand back, though, or look at it from above, and what you see is a long narrow parcel of land with Mount Royal to the north and the St. Lawrence River to the south, a site that rises and then dips, with many levels in between.” Its rectangular shape, the designers noticed, is reminiscent of the long, narrow tracts of farmland that have characterized rural Quebec ever since the seigneurial system of New France. “We started to play around with this shape, and with the idea of history and weather and the natural cycle of the seasons,” Bebawi said, doodling his vision on a notepad as he spoke. Before they knew it, the team had conjured a large-scale urban metaphor for a wheat field in rural Quebec, one made of more than 28,000 plastic rods topped with simple white bicycle reflectors. In the winter wind, bathed in reflected light, the stylized stems will sway as they would in a blustery wheat field. The stems vary in height from 3½- to 5-feet-tall, set tightly together and anchored in recycled plastic posts. Each of them is topped with a simple old-fashioned bicycle reflector that will catch the light emitted from overhead coloured lamps, the colours moving with the wind as music plays. With the sound emanating from speakers hidden at street level all around the site that is louder when the wind picks up, it gives the impression of a moving melody. The most successful public art installations, Bebawi says, create a collective experience. The Entre les rangs field is laid out in a series of slightly curved lines with breaks every now and then for people to cross through. Entre les rangs’ 6-foot-wide aisles are perfect for strolling side by side or for walking through alone. The Entre les rangs exhibition is one of two installations chosen from among 44 submissions for this year’s Luminothérapie competition, which promotes new ways of using public spaces as open-air galleries. The competition runs from Dec. 11 to Feb. 2, 2014. The other exhibit is a playful series of projections called Trouve Bob, a kind of high-tech version of Where’s Waldo that will be projected on the façades of the buildings surrounding Place des Festivals. It invites visitors to play a game in which the character Bob hides in a psychedelic world of unusual characters, all of them hiding out in the architecture of the projection surfaces. It was designed by a Montreal multimedia collective called Champlagne Club Sandwich. For more information: http://www.quartierdesspectacles.com [email protected] © Copyright © The Montreal Gazette
  8. Stinger Dome planned for Loyola campus Concordia University Vice President Services Michael Di Grappa is pleased to announce the Department of Recreation and Athletics plans to build a $4.4 million state-of-the-art dome at its Loyola campus in N.D.G. The Stinger Dome will be an air-supported structure allowing the university to run athletics and recreational activities year round on its south field. A seasonal facility, it will be in operation from November through April, beginning in 2009. “This is an exciting time for Concordia University,” said Di Grappa. “This dynamic project – only the second facility of its kind on the island of Montreal and a first for the Quebec university network– is another example of our commitment to innovation and excellence.” The dome will measure 450 by 240 feet, covering the university’s artificial field located behind Concordia stadium. It can host up to four separate activities at a time. “This project creates many exciting opportunities to engage Concordians and our friends in the community in physical activities, contributing to a healthier lifestyle,” said Katie Sheahan, Director of Recreation and Athletics. “I can’t tell you how happy I am to be in this position. I’m looking forward to the grand opening.” The university looks to Yeadon, a Guelph, Ont. company specializing in state-of-the-art, energy-efficient sports domes that incorporate the latest innovations in design, anchoring, mechanical, electrical and proprietary controls, as the supplier.
  9. this is kinda old, but it's well written and pretty interesting from an 'historical' point of view, of sorts ... it's a 1999 washington post tourism piece, set in the context of a d.c. man visiting montreal, and going to a ball game "to see the team washington will probably inherit". it nicely highlights the city's unique attractions, all the while quite accurately summing up the general mood that surrounded baseball in montreal at the time. oh, and for extra sentimentality, read with in the background ... ----------------------------------- Montreal, Expos'd Visiting the City Whose Team Might Call D.C. Home By Mike Tidwell The Washington Post Sunday, July 11, 1999 Hundreds of crazed fans in this crowd of 5,000 foreigners begin standing and savagely slamming the backs of their chairs up and down, up and down to register their intense approval of what's going on on the playing field. The act creates sharp explosions of sound not unlike small-arms fire. The only people not banging chairs, it seems, are the sticky-fingered children eating deep-fried dough or forking strange mounds of fried potatoes laced with cheese and gravy. Suddenly, down on the field halfway through this "match," something bad happens for the home team. The French-speaking fans begin yelling at the mostly Spanish-speaking players: "Pourri! Pourri!" Rotten! Rotten! People whistle and blow long, booming plastic horns. I am, of course, taking in a major league baseball game in Montreal. I'm watching the pinstriped Expos on their home turf, a nine-inning experience that's perhaps the best multicultural adventure available to Washingtonians within easy flying distance of Reagan National Airport. It's a spectacle, a combination of God's two greatest inventions: baseball and international travel. As a junkie for both, I'm borderline apoplectic, immersed in fastballs and home runs, foreign billboards and surnames I can't pronounce. But a worrisome question nags as I sip my Molson: Do we really want these guys? Unless you're tone deaf to sports news, you probably know there's rampant speculation that the financially troubled Expos may move to the D.C. area. So I've come here as more than a sports tourist. I'm on a scouting mission, crossing the border for a sneak preview. I've already told my 2-year-old son, an emerging fan back in Takoma Park, that this is his team. He wears a tiny Expos hat when we play Whiffle ball in the back yard. But seeing this team firsthand reveals the naked truth: They're awful. Just now, an Expos batter strikes out on four pitches against the Philadelphia Phillies, triggering grumbles from the sparse crowd at Olympic Stadium. The team mascot--an orange and hairy something called "Youppi" (French for "hooray")--leads the fans in more chair-slamming fun, trying to keep a rally alive. The next batter runs the count full, teasing the fans, before popping out to the pitcher. More grumbles. The Expos have the lowest team payroll in baseball and some of the youngest players--and they are off to one of their worst starts in the team's 30-year history. Two nights ago, the players committed six errors in a single game. Again: Do we really want these guys? The answer, of course: Oui! Si! Yes! Please! Pretty please! Pretty please with whipped cream and a new, stylishly retro downtown stadium within easy walking distance of the Metro on top! Expos second baseman Wilton Guerrero steps to the plate as Youppi waves his hirsute arms wildly and the fans begin yelling things in French I can't understand. Guerrero, like the rest of the team, is in a terrible slump, and he falls behind in the count just as I come to a realization: Whatever happens in this game, I'll leave without regrets. If the Expos decamp for Washington, this will be the last summer to see French Canadian big-league baseball, a phenomenon worth catching before it goes, if for no other reason than it provides something found nowhere else in North America: minor league baseball with major league players. For anyone fashionably tired of big pro salaries, high ticket prices, arrogant players and the hassle of big crowds, the Expos offer the best of all worlds. I took a cheap Air Canada flight here, spent two days touring one of the world's great cities, and now I'm getting the farm league treatment: a tiny crowd, players barely old enough to shave, a crazy marriage proposal in the stands brokered by the mascot, and a wooden outfield scoreboard with numbers updated manually by teenagers. All this for the ridiculously low ticket price of less than $5 U.S. and a seat so close to the action that I can almost smell the pine tar. Guerrero bounces to second for an out, ending the inning. I do the only sensible thing. I order another Molson. My innkeeper in downtown Montreal, Madeline, says in accented English, "So what if the Expos leave town? There are many things fantastique and unique in Montreal besides just the Expos." She's right, of course, and during my two-day stay I'm determined see some "things fantastique" before hitting the ballpark. I begin by renting a mountain bike and pedaling straight to the top of Mont Royal, the dramatic, forested mountain (okay, a big hill) in the dead center of town that gives the city its name. A winding gravel road takes me through stands of Canadian maples to a beautiful summit park designed by Frederick Law Olmsted. It's odd to stand at the grassy pinnacle and be eyeball to eyeball with the tops of skyscrapers just 10 blocks away. On the way down, pausing for great views of the lovely St. Lawrence River, I pass a pair of oddly segregated cemeteries--one for French speakers, one for English speakers--a site that mutely summarizes the long-festering cultural divisions within Quebec. I pedal to the cobblestone streets of Old Montreal, a 40-square-block delight of colonial structures and alleyways filled with horse-drawn caleches and itinerant artists. A warm spring sun has unloosed crowds of diners on the city's Euro-gamut of outdoor cafes, bistros and restaurants. The legendary French Canadian reputation for highly developed leisure skills is on full display this Sunday afternoon amid a sea of white tablecloths and red wines so good that even the vin de maison is a pretty sure bet. I eat grilled salmon served rare with escargots on a bed of scallions and garlic, and nearly swoon. The next day is game day. I visit the Old Fort on St. Helen's Island, in the middle of the St. Lawrence River, before heading to Olympic Stadium. After the War of 1812, the British prepared for a possible American invasion of Montreal by building this moated fortress with eight-foot-long cannons and two-meter-thick stone walls. As something of an invader myself, I grow slightly self-conscious inside those walls. Maybe I'm paranoid, but the eyes of those period-dress sentries make me think they're onto me, pegging me as the expeditionary fingertip of Washington's long arm reaching up to snatch the Expos. I make a discreet but hasty exit. I arrive three hours before the game, leaving plenty of time to tour the flag-festooned Olympic Park. I buy a ticket for the highly touted gondola ride rising from the spine of Olympic Stadium. Photos of the 1976 Games ornament the waiting area: Nadia Comaneci, Kornelia Ender, Sugar Ray Leonard. But I soon learn something unexpected about myself: Facing backward in a gondola rapidly moving upward at a 45-degree angle makes me afraid. At the top, pale and sweating, I take in a dramatic aerial view of the famous Olympic Village, the Montreal Botanical Garden and the city's 1967 international Expo site. Back on terra firma, there's time for one more stop: Moe's Deli and Bar, where Expos fans gather. It's a friendly place with exposed-brick walls, barbecued ribs and desserts kept in an old phone booth by the bar. It's happy hour--two-for-one Labatt beers--till well past game time, perhaps to anesthetize the fans for the poor play sure to follow. I sit at the bar next to Daniel, a baseball-hatted Expos loyalist, who has a message for D.C. fans. "Don't accept our Expos," he tells me. "You've lost two teams of your own before, so you know what it feels like. Please don't do this to us." I grimace and finish my second Labatt and push back my stool while Daniel, like all Montrealers I meet, remains a friendly sport to the end. "When you reach the stadium," he says, "buy the cheapest ticket in the house. It's only $7 Canadian [$4.80 U.S.]. Then, after the first pitch, sit wherever you want." "A $7 seat, please," I tell the stadium ticket seller moments later, handing over my money. I walk through the turnstile, past the popcorn and pennant venders, toward Section 139, right field. Virtually alone in my area, I take in batting practice amid thoroughly modern trappings: artificial turf, a space-age stadium roof, a gargantuan replay screen in center field. But already it doesn't quite feel like major league baseball. First, of course, there's the ticket price, about a quarter of what you'd pay at Camden Yards. Then there's the action on the field. An Expos coach is pitching batting practice using a wobbly shopping cart full of baseballs, and he's throwing to the beat of French rock music blasting over the P.A. Thirty feet below me, two teenage boys are standing on a crude scaffold, diligently updating a sprawling pre-World War II-type wooden scoreboard that gives results from around the league. This old-fashioned work, utterly exposed to those of us in the cheap seats, involves taking scores from a press-box official, then reaching into several wooden troughs for wooden slabs hand-painted with numbers and sliding them into the appropriate slot. One of them wears a felt Gatsby hat. I exit the stands for a quick pregame bite. "One order of poutine," I tell the uniformed attendant at a concession stand. Poutine, a uniquely Quebecois concoction combining french fries, cheddar cheese and beef-stock gravy, is so popular that it's served at McDonald's restaurants throughout the province. I watch the cook in back combine the fries and cheese in a tall paper cup, then slop on a ladleful of thick gravy from a stainless-steel vat. He pauses and then, momentarily indecisive, adds a second, heaping ladleful. I'm back at my seat in time for the national anthem, spearing dripping mouthfuls of poutine with a fork. For extreme junk food, it's not so bad, though halfway through the serving my stomach begins making odd noises that compete with the junior high school band playing "O Canada" with tubas and French horns on the field. The Expos take the field next, and the crowd, sprinkled more or less evenly across the stadium, begins banging empty seats up and down in preparation for the opening pitch. Twenty-five-year-old Expos pitcher Mike Thurman is on the mound, and as he warms up you can almost sense the whole place cringe. With an 0-2 record and an ERA of 8.05, he's the worst pitcher on the second-worst pitching staff in the National League. Just two nights ago, Expos pitchers gave up 17 runs in a game. But the first pitch from Thurman is a strike on the outside corner, and cheers go up just as the strange migration begins. True to Daniel's prediction, everyone in the stands not already seated behind home plate makes a beeline for amazingly choice (and empty) lower-level seats just 20 rows from the field (above a narrow VIP section) in an arc from dugout to dugout. I grab the rest of my poutine and join the exodus. By the end of the first inning, we fans are huddled cozily around home plate. In the third inning, the Expos stage a mini rally. Third baseman Mike Mordecai lines a clean single to left, and the juices start flowing in the stands. I get caught up in the excitement--this is my team, too--so I stand and begin slamming the back of my chair and cheer madly like those around me. The noise coming from these fans is, no exaggeration, as much as I've heard from crowds four times as big in other parks. Despite the high-decibel support, the rally sputters when Thurman strikes out trying to lay down a bunt. Next to me, a serious fan named Jean Yves Leduc is studiously scoring the game. He says he's attended at least 40 Expos home games every year for the past two decades. He puts down his scoring pencil and reminisces about highlights, including the 22-inning game against Los Angeles in 1987 and the time he shook hands with third baseman Tim Wallach in the parking lot before a game. "I could feel all the calluses on Wallach's hand from taking extra batting practice every day," Yves says. "I'll never forget those calluses. He was so dedicated to this team and to the game." And what will Yves do if the Expos leave town? "I had a talk with my girlfriend," he says, "and I decided that, with all my new free time, I would just go ahead and get married and have a life." It's the top of the fourth when Thurman makes a mistake pitch and Phillies right-fielder Bobby Abreu lifts a second two-run homer into left field. Four-zip, Philadelphia. "One more Phillies run," mutters the old farmer next to me after removing his teeth, whistling and putting them back in, "and I'm going home to watch hockey." Halfway through the fifth inning, Yves gets into an animated conversation with a hot dog vendor. It's all in French, and they both laugh a great deal, and I ask Yves what's so funny. "The crowd's so small tonight that the stadium is telling all the vendors--when they go back for more hot dogs--to go home. They're getting paid for only half a game. But this vendor's decided to avoid the order by not going back to resupply. That way, he can at least get his base pay for the rest of the game." Sure enough, the vendor walks away with a smile, barking to the crowd, "No hot dogs here! No hot dogs! Pas de chiens chauds!" Unexpectedly, the Expos make a heroic comeback with three runs in the seventh, while a young relief pitcher called up from Double-A somehow keeps the Phillies scoreless. By the bottom of the ninth, the drama escalates. The Expos are down 4-3 with two outs and a man on second. First baseman Ryan McGuire, who has power, steps to the plate. We may be few, but we fans do our best. Youppi claps his hairy orange hands and directs our cheers to the field. Chairs are banging. The vendor has stopped not selling hot dogs and is rooting like everyone else. The scoreboard guys are smoking nervously, peeping through a hole in the outfield scoreboard. The guy with the false teeth, true to his word, has stayed to the end. On a 2-1 pitch, McGuire lifts a towering blast to left field. We jump for joy and cheer louder and louder. But the Phillies's left fielder refuses to give up on the ball. He drifts back, back, back and, incredibly, makes the catch standing against the outfield fence. Five thousand people collapse in their seats in anguish and disbelief. It was a good game, and the young Expos have no reason to drop their chins. But there is something very sad about the way these previously boisterous fans shuffle slowly out of the stadium. An unusually large number stop and linger at souvenir stands by the exit gates. Souvenir. A French word meaning "to remember." For many of these fans, this may very well be the last time they see their Expos. They buy hats, T-shirts, pennants. To remember. I take the Montreal Metro back to downtown thinking two things. First, I sincerely hope Montreal figures out a way to keep its team, and prosper, even if it means we in D.C. don't get one. Second, if the Expos do come to us, I can't wait for the day when I can take the Washington Metro to a baseball game with my son. I'll really show him how to make a stadium chair hum. ----------------------------------- :rolleyes:
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