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Saturday, March 26, 2011

On Alou and on Robinson

        When Felipe Alou came to Olympic Stadium with the Giants in 2003, the Expos fans gave him, the opposing coach, a standing ovation. After the game, Expos coach Frank Robinson asked the press why they cheer for “that guy” and not for him. To this day I’m not really sure why Frank Robinson, a hall of famer and all around good baseball guy was not popular with the Expos fans. We’ll look into it and hopefully find the answer.

First of all, where did Frank Robinson come from? The first time I heard his name come into the picture was actually way before he was announced as the Expos new coach in 2003. Now, it was strange at the time but this is the information I had received. A friend of a friend of mine who apparently was in contact with Andre Dawson (then assistant GM for the Florida Marlins) told me that Frank Robinson and Bill Cosby were interested in purchasing the Expos (then almost defunct) and moving them to Washington. Setting aside the ridiculousness of this statement, it did come from Andre Dawson which meant it couldn’t totally be untrue. Having forgot about it for sometime, I was totally shocked when the league named Frank Robinson as the Expos new head coach. I was shocked, amazed, but mostly horrified. Was it the end? Did Frank Robinson find a way of getting his friend Bill Cosby into the picture? Was the Cos waiting in the shadows with moving trucks ready to whisk the Expos away and make them the Washington Puddin’ Pops? For the record books it should be known that Frank Robinson did indeed appear on an episode of “The Cosby Show” playing Frank “Payday” Potter circa 1991. Maybe it’s just a coincidence, yeah right. That being said, I didn’t trust this guy coming into Montreal, that’s strike one for Frank Robinson. By the way, I’m a huge Cosby fan and all and love his faces and antics, but moving away the Expos is not nice Bill Cosby.
       Alright, moving on, my initial distrust for Frank Robinson was dashed actually after his first season here began. After the Expos won on opening day 2002, I saw Frank smile and wave to the fans, he looked happy and proud to be an Expo. From that day on I was in his corner as head coach. As the weeks went by and no sign of Bill Cosby and moving vans I started to relax and let Frank do his thing…like sleep or look old.

2002 Opening day come-from-behind victory:

            At the end of the 2003 season, the last home game (we’re jumping ahead here), Vladimir “The Best Hitter Alive” Guerrero was to play his last game in Montreal. He had two at-bats and then was pulled in place of Ron Calloway (who homered in his at bat mind you, so no blame to him). The fans were not happy and booed Robinson like crazy. At the end of the game on the scoreboard highlights of the season were being played and every time Robinson was on it the fans booed him like crazy. I was a bit embarrassed, I mean they were booing a hall of famer, and an all around good baseball guy. After the game Robinson told the press that the fans had 80 games to see Vlad why did they want to see him so bad now, or something like that. Even though I was embarrassed during the booing, the after game comments were a total strike two for Robinson. You don’t talk bad about the fans man.
      Mind you, I still don’t dislike Robinson at this point, everyone else does, but I’m still sorta in his corner. Yet, when I saw the Nationals getting their uniforms however for their inaugural season, and how happy Robinson was…that was it. He was never an Expo, even if he wore the uniform, he was a National this whole time.

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