I am going to do something I normally don’t do I am going to write a book review, the book is Jonah Keri’s Up, Up, & Away The Kid, The Hawk, Rock, Vladi, Pedro, Le Grand Orange, Youppi!, The Crazy Business of Baseball & the Ill-Fated but Unforgetabble Montreal Expos.
This book beautifully recounts the happy and sad history of the Expos, from beginning to end. It is probably one of the best English accounts of the Montreal Expos whole story. Reading Up, Up, & Away brought back my own memories, but it also helped me understand the team I loved even more. The book shares many historical moments, happy moments, heart breaking moments, and the business side of the Expos with many interviews with people who had been apart of the organization, with reporters, and with the fans who were there.
What I learned early on in reading this book is that Montreal Expos seemed to be doomed to fail, before they were even an official team. First off with then Montreal Mayor Jean Drapeau wanting to bring Major League Baseball to his city he made many promises that couldn’t be kept, including having a stadium ready in time for the 1969 season, add in early issues with ownership and you would think the team would have never existed. I think any future owners who want to bring Baseball back to Montreal should read this book and learn about what you shouldn’t do when trying to acquire a new team.
The book shares many of the sad stories that we have heard before, ownership issues in the 90’s, all the awful fire sales that had such a negative impact on the team, the fact Montreal helped bring baseball to Toronto only to be told that they could no longer broadcast in Ontario anymore and ultimately lost their exposure to Western Canada, the Big O and the many issues it had, the fact that the Jays turned their backs on the Expos and voted in favor of contraction, the 1994 strike, Blue Monday and many other sad moments.
But the Montreal Expos aren’t just 36 years of bad memories and bad luck, the book shares so many wonderful and quirky moments in the team’s history. Gary Carter’s final game, the years in the early 80’s where they were one of the best teams in the majors, Throwing Oh Henry bars on the field after a Henry Rodriguez homer, the chicken sounds the scoreboard made every time a pitcher tried to pickoff an Expo, EL Perfecto, the 1982 All-Star game, the late inning comebacks, Youppi! and many more memorable moments.
Let’s not forget about those great players Gary Carter, Andre Dawson, Tim Raines, Steve Rogers, Tim Wallach, Larry Walker, Moises Alou, Pedro Martinez, Orlando Cabrera, Warren Cromartie, Dennis Martinez, Jeff Reardon, Vladimir Guerrero, this is just to name a few, there are a lot more.
Up, Up, & Away is a wonderful book that I think all Montreal Expos fans should read. It brought some tears to my eyes and brought back fantastic memories of the team I love. I think Canadians, Americans, people who wonder what actually happen with the team, everyone who likes baseball should take the time and effort to read this book, because it is a great read, with a lot of info, that can help anyone understand about Montreal and its baseball history both good and bad.
If I had to rate this book I would give 5 stars, 10/10, it’s a homerun, or any other stereotypical remark you can think of, but what it comes down to is that it is one of the best books to read if you want to learn more about that team from Montreal with the funny looking logo, the lovable orange mascot, it’s a great account of a team we like to call Nos Amours.
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