Banner Days

A little perspective is a good thing. During their existence, the Montreal Expos occasionally bubbled to the middle of the pennant races. See a game from Olympic Stadium often made you wonder if there was anybody in the place. Before bad ownership and latent indifference chased the Expos out of existence and into Washington, they did have a number of stars. They just had the gross misfortune of sharing the town with the Montreal Canadiens, who have this pesky habit of regularly winning titles. It’s just been awhile. One of the Expos greats was Gary Carter who labored in Quebec for 11 seasons before leaving for New York in 1984.

While the Canadiens are having a year similar to the Sabres, they are managing to teach the Sabres a few things. With Carter’s passing this week, the  Canadiens aren’t showing blooper reels, they did this before today’s game with the Devils.

That’s one of Carter’s Montreal baseball card’s projected on the ice (Photo courtesy of Dave Stubb, Canadiens’ reporter). I didn’t see it but for warmups, the Canadiens players all wore number 8 jerseys with Carter’s name on the back. That is a classy tribute for somebody who hadn’t played in the city in 27 years for a franchise largely unacknowledged while it was there.  This is a verbose wakeup call to the local home town team and primary tenant of the building at One Jim Kelley Way. It seems a little odd that the same folks who thought up the welcome home to all the former Sabres at the end of last year still haven’t figured out a way to acknowledge the presence of the Buffalo Braves as Aud co-tenants all those years. When Marine Midland Arena opened, it was with a lot of pomp and reverence for everything the Aud held, except for the pro basketball team.  The fate of the free world certainly doesn’t hinge on this, but it would be a nice public relations thing to acknowledge the Buffalo Braves time here and especially native son Randy Smith. I’m sure given the economics, a city with the problems Buffalo deals with would have lost the team at some point, but they got taken from us. The Aud was the home to some playoff basketball and I think it would be a smooth move for TPegs and the gang to do something about that oversight.

I remember my son and I got to go to the 40th anniversary and it felt like a cable access show. The Sabres missed some good public relations bonanzas with Ryan Miller’s recent career mark, and the Expos show that even paying respect to the Bills’ Kent Hull wouldn’t have been out of the question.

I remember collecting some of the posters from the Saturday Buffalo Evening News, it would be a good, long overdue gesture, but fix the hockey mess first.


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