While the Washington Nationals are celebrating their tenth year anniversary as a baseball team, there is another city looking sadly back at a decade without their beloved club. Back in 2005, the Montreal Expos moved to the Capitol city of the United States, thereby extracting the American pastime from its northern neighbors.
Canadiens still have the Toronto Blue Jays to root for, a team that is contending at this moment. There is hope that at some point in the near future Major League Baseball will return to Montreal.
Two big league teams did indeed play a game there this season, right before the regular Opening Day. The obvious choice as home team was Toronto, but their opponents may not be as randomly chosen as most people believe.
The Cincinnati Reds, who were chosen to play the Blue Jays in the Spring Training finale, are establishing a strong Canadian connection beyond just that exhibition game. The Reds may be the team for Canadiens to root for in the National League, at least until that glorious day when they get their own franchise.
A few years ago, Cincinnati gave first baseman Joey Votto a ten year contract worth over $200 million, the most lucrative deal ever awarded to a native of Canada. Based on that contract alone, the Reds certainly increased their number of fans to the north of Ohio.
This year’s draft recently offered more reasons for Canadiens to adopt the Reds as their N.L. team. Cincinnati drafted five players from Canada, almost half of the total number drafted overall. Here are the five prospects who could be wearing Cincinnati uniforms in a few years.
Cincinnati’s fourth overall pick was outfielder Miles Gordon of St. Ignatius of Loyola Catholic in Oakville, Ontario. The organization then selected in round 17 second baseman J.D. Salmon-Williams, who went to Suzuki Secondary School in Brampton, Ontario.
One round later the Reds nabbed left handed pitcher Isaac Anesty out of Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic High School in Guelph, Ontario. Then in round 22 they opted for
Right handed pitcher Darren Shred out of St. Roche Catholic Secondary School in Brampton, Ontario.
Finally, in round 32, Cincinnati drafted Will McAffer, a right handed pitcher from Sentinel Secondary School in West Vancouver, British Columbia. With that choice, Cincinnati became the first team to ever draft as many as five Canadiens in the same year, a sure sign that the team’s following might stretch to across the Great Lakes.