In place of on-field baseball action postponed by the COVID-19 pandemic, The Globe and Mail brings you a computer-simulated tournament involving four of the greatest Canadian teams, using the statistics-based software of the sports-game company Strat-O-Matic. Two first-round series eliminated the 1981 Montreal Expos and the 1985 Toronto Blue Jays, leaving the 1993 Jays and the ’94 Expos to compete for the mythical Macdonald-Cartier Cup. This matchup is Game No. 2 of the final series.
Singer Anne Murray threw out the game’s ceremonial first pitch. It was, charitably, a strike. Maybe the Expos should have asked her to stick around to pitch a few innings. The visiting 1993 Toronto Blue Jays turned Olympic Stadium into a racquetball court, pinging balls here and smashing them there. The Snowbird-singing Nova Scotian couldn’t have been much worse than young Expos starter Pedro Martinez, who gave up seven runs (two unearned) in eight innings.
The Jays beat the ’94 Expos so bad – 11 to 4 – one has to believe they left marks. Pierre Trudeau, who brought his eldest son Justin to the game, didn’t stick around for the final out. Someone asked the former prime minister if he was leaving early. “Just watch me," he said.
(A bit of trivia: Pierre Trudeau’s father Charles Trudeau was a shareholder and member of the board of directors for the defunct Montreal Royals minor-league franchise.)
The walloping evened the Macdonald-Cartier Cup final at one game each.
Jays starter Dave Stewart didn’t have his good stuff, but stuck around the requisite five innings to pick up the win. He walked four, gave up four hits and allowed four runs, all earned.
Paul Molitor, playing at third base because the designated-hitter position is not being used in the National League park, hit two home runs, giving him three for the series. Molitor, John Olerud and Tony Fernandez each had three hits in the 14-hit attack.
Not much managing was required of Toronto manager Cito Gaston, which is the way he likes it. His critics complain about his hands-off approach. For all we know, Gaston thinks the “double-switch” is just an electrical appliance, not a batting-order manipulation. Today his passive approach worked fine: He’s got the offence, so let them offend.
“You can only play this game so many kinds of ways,” Gaston said after the game. “But a lot of things I see from coaches and managers are just busy.”
At Olympic Stadium, only the scoreboard operator and Toronto base coaches Bob Bailor and Nick Leyva were busy.
The best-of-seven series moves to Toronto’s SkyDome for three games. Scheduled starting pitchers for Game No. 3 are Pat Hentgen (19-9, with a 3.87 earned-run average for the ’93 Jays) and lefty Jeff Fassero (8-6, with a 2.99 ERA for the ’94 Expos).
Friday, The Globe will run a game report and box score of Game No. 3 of the final round of our computer-simulated tournament. Scheduled starters are Pat Hentgen for the 1993 Toronto Blue Jays and Jeff Fassero for the 1994 Montreal Expos.