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Original Issue

Gone and Nearly Forgotten


Other than a feeble "Let's go Expos!" chant that lasted no more than a couple of pitches last Friday in Toronto, there was little evidence during the Nationals' three-game series with the Blue Jays--the club's first trip to Canada since moving to Washington in the off-season--that the team had spent the last 36 years in Montreal. A smattering of fans wore hats and jerseys bearing the old Expos logo, but overall it was an uneventful return. The series drew sparse crowds that averaged 23,464; in 1997 a three-game set between Montreal and Toronto drew an average of 40,681. Nationals officials said that there were no group-ticket requests from old Expos fans; only one former club employee, media relations coordinator Elias Makos, asked to attend; and a single member of the Montreal media requested a credential.

Though the Blue Jays won the first two games of the series, the Nationals bounced back on Sunday to win 9-2 and improved to 24-20, further evidence of how far they have distanced themselves from the past; at the same point last year the Expos were 14-30. Relying on a rotation that ranked fifth in the league in ERA (4.02) at week's end, Washington was two games out of first place in the competitive National League East.

When asked if his team's return to Canada was cause for nostalgia, Nationals manager Frank Robinson, the Expos' skipper for three seasons, replied, "No reminiscing. None."