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Up, Up, and Away: The Kid, the Hawk, Rock, Vladi, Pedro, le Grand Orange, Youppi!, the Crazy Business of Baseball, and the Ill-fated but Unforgettable Montreal Expos
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Past book reviews & discussions > Discussion of "Up Up and Away"

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Lance (sportsbookguy) | 13598 comments Mod
Share your thoughts on this month's book on the gone but never forgotten Montreal Expos


Lance (sportsbookguy) | 13598 comments Mod
Even though it's been two years since I read it, I still remember that it was a very good book. Here is my review and as we continue through the month, I will take my copy off the cloud and occasionally share a new thought on the book and the Expos.

Review:



The Montreal Expos provided many interesting stories during their 36 years of existence, both on and off the field. Sportswriter Jonah Keri, who was also a fan of the team, covers their history in this fun-to-read account of the franchise.

Starting with the scramble to obtain players and a suitable stadium for the inaugural 1969 season, Keri captures the adventures and misadventures of the franchise with humor, knowledge and the viewpoint that a devoted fan provides, which was surprisingly objective as well.

The objectivity comes mainly from describing the many business decisions that resulted in star players leaving. One example is when after the team compiled the best record in the 1994 season in which the World Series was not played due to a player’s strike, the ownership group ordered general manager Kevin Malone to dump four of the team’s highest paid players in one week. Keri’s account of that fire sale did not read like a disgruntled fan – while criticizing the move, he did note that it did achieve the short term goals, but that it was just that – “a short-sighted glimpse of the situation.”

His accounts of the eventual ownership by Major League Baseball and his criticism of an ownership group that would not contribute the required money to keep the operations going that resulted in one man (Jeffrey Loria) obtaining 93% of the team was also surprisingly objective for someone who was a fan of the team. Other business matters such as losing broadcasting rights to the southern Ontario market and only online broadcasting in the early 2000’s were covered in the same manner.

This doesn’t mean that Keri only wrote about the front office. His accounts of the 36 seasons of Expos baseball on the field was just as good, especially when writing about the stars and beloved players who wore the red, white and blue of the team. His prose about the sad story of Ellis Valentine, the heartbreak of “Blue Monday” when Rick Monday homered to propel the Dodgers to victory over the Expos in the 1981 National League Championship Series and the excitement of the surprise run in 1994. Those passages are great reading for any baseball fan, whether or not he or she was an Expos fan.

One question that many ask is when was the point where the Expos started to show signs that they were in trouble. Keri’s account offers several times both on and off the field, but the most interesting one was when he described the apex of success for the team on the field as the 1982 All-Star game which Montreal hosted. It was at that time when the Expos were having their longest stretch of sustained success and had five players represent them at that All-Star game. While questionable at first to me, he makes a good point why he felt that way. That is an example of what Keri does throughout the book – makes points of why he believed something happened and uses solid evidence to support that claim.

This is a very entertaining and informative book that any reader who is interested in the history of this colorful team, whether a fan or not, will enjoy.


Brina | 8656 comments Mod
I enjoyed this book. It was entertaining, not the best written, but it gave me a snapshot and more of the history of the Expos. I was visiting New York when the strike hit and its a shame that it did because that was the last great Expo team that had a chance before things went down the tubes. I hope that others get a chance to read this.


message 4: by Ed (new)

Ed Quigley Recently joined the group. Was looking to read this book. Too late? I haven’t seen the August book selection. Thanks


Lance (sportsbookguy) | 13598 comments Mod
Welcome, Ed. Not too late for this one. August was for a book on baseball broadcasting by Curt Smith. But have to go back through old posts to get the tittle.


message 6: by Dave (new)

Dave Jordan | 119 comments Lance's review is spot-on. I found it to be an enjoyable read.


message 7: by Michael Linn (new)

Michael Linn | 11236 comments Lance wrote: "Welcome, Ed. Not too late for this one. August was for a book on baseball broadcasting by Curt Smith. But have to go back through old posts to get the tittle."

The Storytellers
Mike Linn


Lance (sportsbookguy) | 13598 comments Mod
While not about this book, there is another Expos book coming out November - Blue Monday: The Expos, the Dodgers, and the Home Run That Changed Everything. Definitely requesting an ARC for this.


C. John Kerry (cjkerry) | 8289 comments I was attending McGill University (my second attempt at a theological degree) that year. I recall watching that game on the tube.


message 10: by Asa (new) - rated it 3 stars

Asa McMahon | 16 comments I miss baseball in Montreal. I’m about halfway through this book wondering if Montreal could ever host a MLB team again. The Expos barely caught on to begin with. Is there any hope for another go-round?


C. John Kerry (cjkerry) | 8289 comments The Expos were popular for awhile. The decline didn't happen until after the new owners took over. They were not willing to spend more money and thus the team declined and people lost interest.


message 12: by Lance (last edited Aug 28, 2018 02:50AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lance (sportsbookguy) | 13598 comments Mod
I also thought that the lack of support for a new stadium also played a factor.


message 13: by Craig (new)

Craig McGraw | 49 comments Jeffrey Loria killed the Expos by gaining control from his tight wad partners. He refused to pay his players and not invest in his team. The scary thing is before he bought the Expos he was the losing bidder for the Baltimore Orioles. Alternately the Orioles might have become the Nationals


message 14: by Asa (new) - rated it 3 stars

Asa McMahon | 16 comments Pages 213-215 are very telling in what led to the demise of the Expos. The owners were having a difficult time paying player salaries in American funds while bringing in Canadian revenue. I remember going to Expos games when I had very little money in college simply because it was the cheapest way to see a MLB game. The beginning of that chapter also details how MLB and the Blue Jays took away the lucrative southern Ontario TV market from the Expos. In essence one could say the Blue Jays killed the Expos. Such a shame!


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