Take one well-roasted ball club, place it in a small park, season with French fans, sprinkle with tourists, add a touch of the Mets' madness and perhaps a smidgen of Woodstock and voil√†—the craziest dish in all baseball, the Montreal Expos. They are National Leaguers who seldom win, but they have played to more than a million elated fans this year, and if there is a novelty about a new ball club, there is also something special about Montreal. Take one night in early June. A chill wind was roaring at 35 mph and the Expos had already lost 16 straight in what became a 20-game slump. But 20,000 cheering followers packed into Jarry Park as though the team were in the Series. "I just shake my head in astonishment," said General Manager Jim Fanning. "When we lose, people encourage me to keep plugging. They actually feel for us." A Canadian business paper reported, "Baseball Montreal-style appears to be more of a festival than a sport," and Emile Constantine, head of Montreal parks, said, "The Expos are affecting almost every facet of our lives." So many youngsters showed up at city parks this summer to play baseball that Constantine remarked, "It's becoming a new religion, a new way of life for young Montrealers." Religion or festival, the chairman of the Expos, Charles Bronfman, ordered a study on the sociological significance of the team, confessing happily, "Something's going on but I don't know what it is."
A well-turned usherette, typical of the eye-catching girls who also serve concession stands, guides two happy male fans to their seats.
With an Expo hat on his head and a future happening on his mind, a Montreal expectant lines up before the team's advance sale window.
Kenny Brand, son of reserve Montreal catcher, plays a guessing game with clubhouse cop. He and a slew of other kids often play catch outside park.
Ready to be marveled at by visiting reporters, French nameplates are affixed to press-box seats.
Enthusiast fiddles on dugout roof as Montreal fails to burn. No one knows who he is or what he plays because organist drowns him out.
WALTER IOOSS JR.