When I was 10 years old, I played baseball with Russell Martin. Martin was a couple of years older than me, and one youth baseball level up. His dad, as the story has been told, used to play music in Montreal subway stations to make money.
He also ran a baseball camp in the summer. I went to it. There was no way you would know that Martin was going to end up a Major League baseball player, never mind an All-Star. But, as a kid who played on the travelling team one level older than me, he might as well have been a celebrity even then.
When, he hit that home run last night, it reminded a lot of Toronto baseball fans of Joe Carter's blast to left field. Stakes were a lot lower, to be sure, but it had that look. It had that feel.
I wasn't watching the game with sound at home. So when I saw this link of all the calls of Martin's home run, I quickly listened to it. I knew the calls that would be there, but nonetheless the last one (that starts at about 2:40) stood out. Here's the translated transcript so you could follow along.
JACQUES DOUCET: Two balls two strikes to Russell Martin. There's the sign from McCann. The ball is hit hard to left field. And... it's gone!
RODGER BRULOTTE: Russell! Russell! Russell! Russell! Quebec is dancing! Canada is dancing! And Russell! What a conductor! [French saying, no great literal translation]
DOUCET: Never a doubt. Three run blast. And now it's 4-0.
BRULOTTE: Scored the first run after a walk and now he brings in three! And they are waiting for him in the dugout with good reason. They are celebrating but the party's not over yet.
These two guys did tons of Expos games, although not always together. If you asked any Montrealer who these guys were, even if they were English, they would probably be able to tell you. Doucet is credited with most of the baseball lingo used in French as nothing existed in 1969
when he was the Expos first play-by-play man . Doucet wasn't the first play-by-play guy, He was initially a colour commentator during the 1969 season and didn't become the play-by-play guy until 1972. He still is credited with creating most of the French baseball lingo that is used to this day. His broadcast of the last out of the final Expos game is just heartbreaking.
And Brulotte, it's classic Brulotte.
A quick search of YouTube brings several more. The first one is a call he used at least once with Jose Vidro, but brought it with him when he started Blue Jays games.
The video above there's actually two. One at 11:45 that tied the game and the winner at 14:10. There's also one here, which is vintage Larry Walker.
So, on a day that started with buying tickets to the two Jays-Red Sox games next April, it was a pretty fitting end and one that brought me back to remember my past as I also enjoy the present.