The Montreal Expos Hurricane Experience

With Hurricane Irene blowing through the northeastern part of the United States this weekend, a lot has been made about how sporting and enterntainment events have been postponed or moved.  Numerous baseball games were cancelled and the Red Sox played through the rain for 11 hours in a sweep of the Oakland Athletics.  Even Kenny Chesny moved his concert in Massachusetts scheduled for today to a a different day earlier in the week (And I thought country singers were tough).  Several years ago, even the Montreal Expos had their plans changed because of a hurricane hitting the East Coast.

Back in 2004, the year before the Expos departed Montreal for Washington D.C., the Marlins and the Expos were to play a series in South Florida.  Earlier in the year, the Marlins had a series with the Chicago Cubs postponed because of a different hurrican and traveled to Chicago to play those make up games.  As they were preparing to leave Chicago for Miami to play a series against the Expos, Hurrican Ike forced a change in plans as it made no sense to have the two teams fly to Miami into a Hurricane.  The solution was to fly the expos into Chicago to play the Marlins at U.S. Cellular Field, the home of the Chicago White Sox.  So Montreal and Florida were playing each other in Chicago (and it wasn’t even Wrigley Field!).

In Game 1, Josh Beckett pitched a strong game for the Marlins, but were still trailing into the bottom of 8th, 2-0.  Affected by three errors in the inning, the Marlins went on to score five unearned runs to eventually win Game 1 over the Expos 6-3.  The Expos’ loss catapulted then to 25 games under .500

In Game 2, led by home runs from Jeff Conine, Miguel Cabrera and Alex Gonzalez, the Marlins again beat the Expos, this time 8-6.  And similar to Game 1, the Expos gave up five unearned runs.

Neither game drew spectacularly well, averaging about 5,000 in attendance for the truncated two game series – of course, they were playing an unexpected game in a neutral field.

It proved to be the last games that the Montreal Expos played in Chicago as the team moved to Washington the following year.

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