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I'm homeless.

This isn't due to any drastic incidents with flammables or acts of God (or Dog), or to a sudden downturn in my financial situation.

It has to do with a silent dome on Montreal's east side, a page in the history books that will never again be rewritten, and a hole in my heart that will never heal.

It has to do with the death, which I am now beginning to come to grips with, of the Montreal Expos.

When it became obvious, sometime in the 2002 season, that any attempts to revive the Expos for the long term were doomed, I began to cut myself off from a love and obsession that I'd had since I before was ten years old. I knew that the pain of losing the team that was first in my baseball heart would be almost unbearable, if I didn't take action early to ease the departure.

By and large, it worked. My love for the Blue Jays, which has flowered in the mid-to-late 80s (but had been mostly killed off after the 1989 season*) came back much stronger than ever, so that instead of being my second-favourite team (my "AL team") they now supplanted the Expos, as best I could manage, in my estimations. The Expos became "my NL team" and remained there until last September. By the time the death knell came, the pain was much less than it could have been.

The problem is, you never forget your first love, do you?

But unless you're pathological, you don't just go on holding a candle to her, either, for the rest of your life, after she becomes a recycling clerk, has *four* kids, marries a grocery store manager and winds up living one subdivision over from where you grew up.** You move on, and you find another woman.

Or, in the case of "NL Team", I guess it's more of a new mistress.

See, baseball once had (still does, to some degree) an advantage for fans that no other major professional sport possesses. The two-league system means that half of the teams almost never faced each other; hence, without the need for schizophrenia, it was possible to have <i>two</i> favourite teams, an "AL team" and an "NL team". Or, as I sometimes think of them, a wife and a mistress.*** Your wife is the team you are outwardly identified with, the team you intend to have a long and productive future with for decades to come, the team that's the repository for your hopes and dreams. Your mistress, which always has to be in the other league so the teams cannot meet regularly (forcing you to choose), is the team that lets you get a little rooting action in on the side.

Where once I was married to the Expos, I now consider myself married to my former mistress. And now that my ex-wife is dead, I need a new NL team, and to discard this crappy, depressing metaphor.

I need a new NL team!

Oddly enough, I can't think of any Bauxites that are primarily NL fans; even among the non-Jays fans on our Roster, they're all to my knowledge either recovering Expos fans, or fans of AL teams. But I know that many of you have NL teams. I'm asking you now - share that passion with me, here. Tell me which NL team I should root for, and why. My only stipulation is that I will *not* root for the Dodgers, not ever, but any of the 15 other NL teams is up for grabs, even the Nationals if it comes to that. I have my little inclinations, but I am honestly curious to see what people come up with, and I promise to take everyone's arguments seriously as I prepare to pick an NL team - if not Team Forever, then at least Team For Right Now.

So who's your "NL team"?



** True story.

*** This just goes to show how pathetic I am, and probably hammer home the fact that I'm not a mistress kind of guy. It's funny - when I was in my 20s, juggling two women at once was no problem. Now some days I wonder where I get the energy for one.
Pick A Team For Craig | 36 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
Mick Doherty - Wednesday, April 13 2005 @ 07:10 PM EDT (#111288) #
Craig, the football fans in Ann Arbor have bumper stickers that say "My two favorite teams are Michigan and Whoever's Playing Ohio State." I imagine the reverse is true in Columbus.

The point being, you could always pick an anti-team; root, say, for "anyone playing the Mets." I suggest you not pick "anyone playing the Nats" because that could be perceived as simple bitterness.
Mike Forbes - Wednesday, April 13 2005 @ 07:13 PM EDT (#111289) #
My NL team has been Flordia now for a few years. Great pitching, great defense, some exciting young hitters mixed in with some proven vets. Already have a closer but don't know it yet (Tim Spooneybarger!) and some interesting prospects in the minors.

The Marlins would be a great team for Toronto to model themselves after. Not Oakland.
jsoh - Wednesday, April 13 2005 @ 07:14 PM EDT (#111290) #
For NL teams, I'm kinda partial to the Padres, the 'Stros and the Giants. Why? I dunno. Just am. So there :)
VBF - Wednesday, April 13 2005 @ 07:25 PM EDT (#111291) #
Milwaukee has always been a team I've liked. Whether it dates back to the Molitor years or my favouratism for the little guy, they've always been an NL team I've rooted for.

Honourable mention goes to Colorado from the Larry Walker years.
Terran - Wednesday, April 13 2005 @ 07:31 PM EDT (#111292) #
I guess the closest thing I have to an NL team is the Cardinals. They always seem to have an exciting offensive minded team and I like Pujols, I'm hoping that one day he might grab some of the home run records without being accused of roids use.
CeeBee - Wednesday, April 13 2005 @ 07:43 PM EDT (#111293) #
Craig, I feel your pain. I was an Expo fan long before the Jays existed. When the Jays came along they supplanted the Minnesota Twins as my AL team and the 2 Canadian teams have been "my" teams ever since. Now there is a big NL hole for me as well, though I still have a soft spot for the Spo's( Nats). However I'm sure this will have to change as the reality of life sets in and the lack of Nats games on TV slowly erodes my interest in them. Before the Expo's I was a Giants fan so I may have to swallow my pride and cheer for them again, but Barry Bonds makes that oh so difficult. Maybe I'll choose the Braves or the Cubbies as I can watch a lot of their games, but life without the Expo's will never be the same.
Cristian - Wednesday, April 13 2005 @ 07:50 PM EDT (#111294) #

"What do you say we take a relaxed attitude towards work and watch the baseball game? The nye Mets are my favorite squadron."

Big market though they are, the nye Mets are my favorite NL squadron. I first became a baseball fan during the Jays 1985 run. Though that experience ended horribly I was a diehard baseball fan who paid close attention to the 86 Mets team. Sure they've made some horrible mistakes since 86 but the ship seems righted with Pedro and Beltran on board. As a Jays fan, it's also easy to relate to the Mets inferiority complex when it comes to the Yankees.
Magpie - Wednesday, April 13 2005 @ 07:54 PM EDT (#111295) #
I can't really help you, Craig. For some reason, I'm a one-team kind of a guy when it comes to baseball. The great seismic shift for me was abandoning the Yankees (whom I followed faithfully through the Horace Clarke years, being too young for the glory preceding) for the Jays - partially because of Steinbrenner, but mostly because I moved to Toronto, in the late 1970s.

Never have had a favourite NL team - what I have always had are favourite players, who I always cheer for and hope to see do well. Wherever they go. Never cared much about Houston, until Jim Clancy went there. Stopped caring about them when he left.

So this year, for example, I find I care about the Marlins. Because of Delgado and because I always liked Al Leiter (I even liked him when he was a Yankee, for God's sake.)

And the Cubs? Yuk. But the first time I saw Mark Prior, I almost fell in love - I forgot about Christy Turlington, for oh, maybe 2.7 seconds. And Greg Maddux remains my favourite player, period. Cubs! Oh well.

Curiously, I do better at maintaining dual-team allegiance in hockey. For the most part, my post-1980 Leafs fandom co-exists well enough with my lifelong devotion to the Red Wings. Except when they play each other, and the old Gordie Howe sweater comes out...

TorontoDan - Wednesday, April 13 2005 @ 08:15 PM EDT (#111297) #
I'm a one team guy. I don't have the energy to sweat blood and tears over another team besides the Jays, and I can't be a fan of another team without making a commitment to them, funny as that might sound. However, there are a couple teams I'm hoping do well this year in the NL......

-The Marlins (because of Delgado, Pierre and their pitching staff. I'm a big fan of those players

-The Padres (because of Peavy and Loretta)
Dave Till - Wednesday, April 13 2005 @ 08:19 PM EDT (#111299) #
I have been part of a National League Rotisserie baseball pool for over 20 years now, so I don't really have an NL team. I have NL players. Usually bad ones.

(Horrible but true confession: if the Jays were to be contracted out of existence, I'd probably stop watching baseball.)
Willy - Wednesday, April 13 2005 @ 08:44 PM EDT (#111305) #
Tough one, Craig. I don't see how any old Expo's fan could support Loria's team--so there goes the Marlins. Despite Magpie's wierd aversion to the Cubs (they were my first love, ages ago), they do have a long and interesting history and would fully satisfy your frustration needs. I agree with Terran about the Cards--always interesting, a long and storied history; so many good teams and great players. You could have a good time with the Cards (if she'd have you.)
Pepper Moffatt - Wednesday, April 13 2005 @ 08:50 PM EDT (#111306) #
It's really tough, because I have too many memories of the Expos competing with each of these teams for 3rd place or whatever over the last 20 years.

No former Expo fan can cheer for the Marlins. Ever. Well, maybe if they're playing the Yankees in the World Series. MAYBE.

The other difficulty is switching allegiances to someone like the Cardinals is that is reeks of boorish frontrunnery.

Cheer for the Cubs? With their fans? Why don't I just go cheer for the Yankees?

I haven't really taken to any time, though I find myself cheering for the Pirates from time to time. They're inept and they've got a couple good young players and a bunch of other ones who won't amount to much. Feels like the Expos somehow, even if they play in a far better stadium than the 'Spos ever did.
nicton - Wednesday, April 13 2005 @ 08:51 PM EDT (#111307) #
I'll give you advice I wished my parents gave me: Do Not become a Cubs fan. It really is heart wrenching. They'll tease you and break your heart.

Be different. Be a Rockies fan...
Leigh - Wednesday, April 13 2005 @ 08:52 PM EDT (#111308) #
Let's see, Craig.

First, let's eliminate the Nationals. You do not want to have a constant reminder of your former love, do you? Next, we eliminate the "Red" states. So long Marlins, Padres, Braves, Reds, Cardinals, Rockies, Diamondbacks, Astros, Giants and Dodgers. Next, we eliminate any of the remaining teams in the upper half of the Major League payroll list. Bye, bye Phillies, Mets and Cubs. Next, we eliminate any team that was over owned by Bud Selig.

And there you have it, Craig. There is but one team remaining. Introducing Burley's new favourite team: the Pittsburgh Pirates.


1. Jason Bay is the new Larry Walker.

2. Aptly named left-fielder *Craig* Wilson.

3. Burley kind of looks like a Pirate.

4. Oliver Perez is finely rounding into form.

5. We Are Fam-a-lee.

6. The obvious steel industry connection between Hamilton and Pittsburgh.

7. Geographic proximity - it's a five hour drive from Southern Ontario.

8. If you ever moved there, you'd become a Pittsburgher.

9. Willie "Pops" Stargell.

10. Class A affiliate named the Hickory Crawdads.
Leigh - Wednesday, April 13 2005 @ 09:03 PM EDT (#111309) #
Oops. California is a blue state. Sorry Gitz.

No matter. Had I not made the mistake in my post, I would have simply instituted more arbitrary and convoluted filters that would have eventually yielded the Pirates as the only choice anyway.
Nolan - Wednesday, April 13 2005 @ 09:03 PM EDT (#111310) #
Although I consider myself a "one team" fan only, I do cheer for the Braves over any NL team.

I have always loved great pitching staffs and so Glavine, Maddux, Smoltz and Avery grabbed my attention. I like cheering for players in the Nl more than teams...guys like Griffey (yeah, I know....), Walker, Jeff Bagwell, Mark Prior, etc.

If I had to choose a new favourite NL team, I'd probably go with the Brewers: they have some good history and a potentially good future. Plus, it's early enough to get on their bandwagon and feel like you "were with them from the start" when they win their division. I know that I could cheer for a team of players like Prince Fielder, Branyan, Weeks, Sheets and Hardy.
Pepper Moffatt - Wednesday, April 13 2005 @ 09:04 PM EDT (#111312) #
Next, we eliminate the "Red" states. So long Marlins, Padres, Braves, Reds, Cardinals, Rockies, Diamondbacks, Astros, Giants and Dodgers.

You mean Burley shouldn't cheer for the Giants because San Francisco is too conservative? Whaaaaaa?

California hasn't been a red state since Bush the Elder. :)

Leigh - Wednesday, April 13 2005 @ 09:06 PM EDT (#111313) #
My subsequent correction was made precisely because I knew you would point that out, Moffatt.
Pepper Moffatt - Wednesday, April 13 2005 @ 09:08 PM EDT (#111314) #
Yeah.. we were writing at the same time. I just wrote more so it took me longer.

I just find the idea of San Francisco being too conservative really funny. :)
Mike Green - Wednesday, April 13 2005 @ 09:12 PM EDT (#111315) #
Craig likes beer, therefore Craig roots for the Brewers. Simple, eh?

If you want to go sophisto, root for the Dodgers. They're smart. They won't break your heart. And they had a farm team in Montreal way back when.
Thomas - Wednesday, April 13 2005 @ 09:14 PM EDT (#111316) #
Although in the NL I cheer more for individual players, I also do have favourite teams. I like the Cards and Astros to some degree, and perhaps now the Marlins for the Delgado factor, but it's always been the Padres, for me.

10. San Diego: It's a beautiful city. I'd want to visit San Diego on vacation. Who wants to go to Atlanta or Pittsburgh?

9. Their Old Managers: If you want to go through some of the most colourful managers of the last thirty years, just turn to the Padres. From Don Zimmer to Jack McKeon to Larry Bowa to Dick Williams, it's an impressive cast.

8. The Expansion Padres: They were an expansion team in 1969 and their first closer was Billy McCool. You're a lame duck if you don't cheer for them. And, quite possibly, unsatisfied sexually.

7. Never the Bride: They've never won the World Series. They are underdogs, and it's always satisfying to cheer for the underdogs.

6. Bruce Bochy and Kevin Towers: Both are good at their respective positions and generally underrated. Plus, Bruce Bochy's cap size is 8. That's a hell of a cranium.

5. The San Diego Chicken: He's a great mascot and can give the Philly Fanatic and Youppi a run for their money.

4. Randy Jones and Barry Zito: There are few pitches better in baseball to watch than Barry Zito's curveball. Who taught it to him? Former Padre and current San Diego resident Randy Jones. Without him Zito would probably have never harnessed that fabulous pitch. And, if Zito never becomes Zito, maybe the A's never make it to the playoffs. And if the A's never become successful, maybe JP is never hired as GM. And if JP is never hired as GM, maybe we still have Esteban Loaiza in our rotation, Alex Gonzalez in our infield and Raul Mondesi in our outfield.

3. The Padres themselves: Mark Loretta, Woody Williams, Ryan Klesko, Khalil Green, Akinori Otsuka, Trevor Hoffman, Brian Giles, Ramon Hernandez, Chris Hammond, Rudy Seanez and Adam Eaton. It's a really good supporting cast with a lot of players who are a pleasure to watch. How can you not cheer for Mark Loretta? Or Ramon Hernandez, after his bases-loaded bunt in the playoffs two years ago? Or Trevor Hoffman and his change-up? Or Akinori Otsuka? It's incredibly easy to cheer for these guys.

2. Tony Gwynn: He was a great batter to watch. In terms of pure hitters, there have been few better than him.

1. Jake Peavy: He's a great pitcher and is a ton of fun to watch. And being on the Jake Peavy bandwagon before it existed is one claim I can legitmately make. I wanted Peavy so badly that I traded Juan Cruz (after 2001) for him and a couple of minor league draft picks.
Evair Montenegro - Wednesday, April 13 2005 @ 09:17 PM EDT (#111317) #
The pirates. For the reasons looks at Leigh post.
Thomas - Wednesday, April 13 2005 @ 09:21 PM EDT (#111319) #
Apologies for leaving the "e" off Khalil's surname.
Jordan - Wednesday, April 13 2005 @ 09:25 PM EDT (#111320) #
The problem with looking for a new NL team to replace the Expos is that a true Expos fan already has a serious hate-on for numerous NL teams and former Expo rivals.

The Dodgers? Rick Monday. Nuff said.
The Phillies? The Expos' most reliable NL East rival in the '80s.
The Pirates? Willie Stargell used to just embarrass the 'Spos.
The Marlins? The anti-Expos, to be spurned like a rabid dog.
The Braves? They kept the Expos out of numerous World Series in the early '90s.
The Mets? They took Rusty Staub. Nuff said.

And so on. What you need is a team that was never really a threat to Montreal in its various heydays, a team that's well-run, employs likeable players, and has half a clue about building a contending club. Having a storied history would be icing on the cake.

That, my friend, is the St. Louis Cardinals. They're not perfect: they employ Tony LaRussa, they have no farm system, and they most intently looked the other way during McGwire's run. But Walt Jocketty is one of the game's better GMs, Albert Pujols is a player you can root for for a generation, and the uniform rocks. The history -- from Hornsby to Slaughter to Musial to Gibson to Ozzie to Whitey to McGwire -- can't be topped in the NL. And to top it all off, they're Kent's favourite NL team too, so you already have a compadre to talk Cardinals baseball with.

Show Me a better NL team than the Missouri nine. Your answer is in the Cards.
sweat - Wednesday, April 13 2005 @ 09:44 PM EDT (#111325) #
Go with the Padres, if for no other reason than Khalil Greene.
Best first name ever.
Willy - Wednesday, April 13 2005 @ 10:08 PM EDT (#111333) #
"And the Cubs? Yuk. But the first time I saw Mark Prior, I almost fell in love - I forgot about Christy Turlington, for oh, maybe 2.7 seconds. "

Hey look, Magpie, could you just butt out with Christy? She prefers the older man. You don't yet qualify. I do, emphatically. Besides, she has exquisite taste.
BallGuy - Wednesday, April 13 2005 @ 10:49 PM EDT (#111350) #
Perhaps I can offer some advice. For many, many reasons a few years ago I decided to switch my NHL allegiance from the Leafs so I had to decide on what my new team would be. Now this is not a rational decision; it must be made with the heart not the intellect. Much of the discussion above in regards to choosing a new team is based on history, hatred and logic. This will not work.

Craig, let me tell you, you can't let your head rule this decision. Go with what your heart tells you. Take a look at all the NL teams, do some research (kinda like going on dates) and narrow the field. Watch a few games, see the players and slowly it will come to you. Nothing anybody else says will make a difference, only you can know the answer (yes, I studied some philosophy and religion in university so this applies). You've got a nice long season ahead of you. Let it unfold and the team will present itself. It worked out that way for me with the NHL. Only one team could truly get me excited about watching it. The Habs; one of the teams I loved as a kid but the only team I could still truly love again as an adult. But, it took me a few months to figure it out (this stuff is hard man and is not to be taken lightly) Good luck my brother.

Oh yeah, and one other thing. They gotta have a cool uniform and you gotta look cool wearing their cap. That's important too. Chicks dig that. It always boils down to chicks ;)
Craig B - Wednesday, April 13 2005 @ 11:02 PM EDT (#111359) #
These are great. Keep 'em coming. Padres and Pirates are the favorites so far; I have to admit the Phillies were leading before I started this.
Thomas - Wednesday, April 13 2005 @ 11:37 PM EDT (#111398) #
This actually had me thinking about it more, and I realised that the Astros are solely a function of the Killer B's. I'd like them to achieve some success, but I'm impartial on the team as a whole and I cetainly don't like Clemens. In fact, he has really made me like the team less.

I like Berkman and Lidge is a lot of fun to watch, but I don't cheer for them like I do the Padres, or even the Cards or Marlins at this point. Once Bagwell and Biggio go, so will the team in my books.
Mick Doherty - Thursday, April 14 2005 @ 12:34 AM EDT (#111441) #
Craig, ignore my silly little "anti-team" suggestion earlier. Of course, my fovourite NL team should be yours, too ... jump on the bandwagon before too many -- er, actually, ANY -- other people are on it ... your 2005 NL Champion Cincinnati Reds.
NickOfTime - Thursday, April 14 2005 @ 03:35 AM EDT (#111466) #
My NL teams are the Dodgers and the Marlins. I've always liked the Dodgers, but I decided to make them "NL Team 1a" last year because they hired DePo to be their GM and I'm a fan of his. Then this season I decided to hope for the team that signed the guy who's been one of my favourite players since I was nine years old. In 1994, about a month and a half before my tenth birthday, my dad took me down to see the Blue Jays play in Spring Training (we were in Disney World at the time, which was awesome too) and I met Carlos, Pat Hentgen, and a few others. I remember I got knocked down by a pushy man looking to get an autograph and Carlos stopped the guy and asked him to be more careful next time and then he helped me to my feet and talked to me for a while. I didn't ask for an autograph, I got a hug from my new hero.
Magpie - Thursday, April 14 2005 @ 07:39 AM EDT (#111468) #
Besides, she has exquisite taste.

You're saying I've got no shot whatsoever, aren't you.

Jim - Thursday, April 14 2005 @ 09:33 AM EDT (#111470) #
The Brew Crew.

Fun set of prospects, plus they were in the AL for most of the time that the Expos existed.

Plus I never get tired of saying Brew Crew.
Coach - Thursday, April 14 2005 @ 09:53 AM EDT (#111473) #
A 45-year "relationship" with the Cardinals doesn't mean I love them unconditionally. Sometimes we get exasperated with those nearest and dearest to us; such is monogamy. For example, between Gillick's departure and Ricciardi's arrival, I was a frustrated, often angry Blue Jays fan. If Joey Hamilton and Raul Mondesi were answers, some people were asking the wrong questions.

Craig, if you'd been a free agent during the Herzog era, your choice would have been obvious. Those were the days. Now, I can't really recommend "my" NL team as particularly satisfying to root for. Nothing against the players, of course -- Pujols is sensational and Walker's one of my heroes. It's more dislike of the manager's arrogance and disagreement with the GM's philosophy. While Jocketty's ability to attract and keep superstar hitters is admirable, his neglect of the farm system is a huge concern, and the Mulder trade could take a few years to recover from.

Leigh's clever "reasoning" notwithstanding, the Pirates are a complete mess, devoid of hope. The Padres have a sharp GM, an underrated skipper, plenty of young talent and leadership from veterans who play the right way. If my allegiance was more fickle, that's the club I'd adopt.
Willy - Thursday, April 14 2005 @ 12:25 PM EDT (#111495) #
Well, ...yeah. Sort of. But in the nicest possible way, of course.
Willy - Thursday, April 14 2005 @ 12:28 PM EDT (#111496) #
Besides, she has exquisite taste.

"You're saying I've got no shot whatsoever, aren't you."

Well, ...yeah. Sort of. But in the nicest possible way, of course.

[Dang new-fangled gadgets. That's what I meant to say before.]
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