Whether you engage in a conversation with a longtime baseball fan or watch one of the MLB Network's historic yet great games, you're likely to be enlightened by or hear a story regarding what the game used to be. Memories in that aspect, baseball has an uncountable number of fantastic and unforgettable events, games, and even teams that no longer exist. Being a game in which those who love it dwell on their indispensable memories quite often, it's almost a baseball tradition to display discontinued or memorable occurrences around ballparks, advertisements, uniforms, or what have you.
A long and unforgettable chapter in the giant book of baseball was torn out following the 2004 season. And by that, I really mean torn out for good -- ripped, ripped again, and then ripped some more. However, many lovers of the game have played their part lately and have since tried to piece those pages back together. The Expos take up most of that forgotten chapter, and they shouldn't. To the point, there's almost nothing at Nationals Park that resembles one of bit off Expos history, which many would agree, wasn't negative history for the most part.
Ever since the strike shortened season that ate a major chunk of the 1994 and 1995 seasons, things have gone significantly downhill for the Expos. Aside from the obvious, moving to DC, Expos fans have witnessed some horrible managerial moves (for one, acquiring Bartolo Colon from the Indians for a package that consisted of Cliff Lee, Grady Sizemore, and Brandon Phillips), turmoil, lack of attendance at Olympic Stadium, and basically everything else that could go wrong with a franchise. Yet from the people I've spoken to they still had a loyal and faithful fan base, a fan base that will always have a place in their heart for the Expos despite picking a new team to root for. Yet arguably the worst nuance that's taken place through the fallout of the Expos has been the marginal recognition of the Expos at Nationals Park -- there's barely any.
There are four former Expos who have their number retired by the team: Rusty Staub, Tim Raines, Andre Dawson, and Gary Carter. All four are represented in the ring of honor at Nationals Park along with Homestead Grays and Washington Senators players with substantial importance. That my friends is all. That's it. There's absolutely no other way a young Nats fan can learn a bit about the NATIONALS history other than seeing the four names in the ring of honor above the grandstand, which still barely depicts the Expos fame. There are more Washington Senators paraphernalia in the ballpark than Expos, which is a legitimate problem.
Putting it in to perspective, the Oakland Athletics wear an elephant on their left triceps, the Orioles have a shrine (a museum) full of St. Louis Browns memories, the Dodgers and Giants each have their own consummate remembrances of the days in Ebbets Field and The Polo Grounds and they've celebrated certain events and honored specific people such as Roy Campanella over the years. To go along with that, throwback day, which takes place every so often with a majority of teams, is a fantastic way to take a look at the past. And yet the Nationals refuse to honor the Expos as much as they should, an organization with more history than most current teams.
The Nationals have made a few efforts of recent to remember the great players and honor those deserving from the Expos days. The Nationals are the Expos, and should be remembered that way. Sure, things didn't go smoothly at the end and there are lots of things one would want to forget dating back to the last seven or eight years that the Expos were a team. However, the good memories outweigh the bad.