Maybe it was the red, white, and blue color scheme. Maybe it was the cool logo that I liked as a youngster. Maybe it was the cool name…Expos. Youppi? Whatever it was, the Montreal Expos were my second favorite Major League Baseball team growing up.
Of course, the Chicago Cubs are my number one and only favorite baseball team. But I think any other baseball fan reading this can relate to having “the other team.” It’s a team you quietly root for, read their box scores, and maybe even have a side collection of baseball cards.
It’s a Plan B baseball team. The “what if” back up plan. The Montreal Expos in the 1980’s and early 1990’s were my baseball backup plan.
My baseball fandom came after the Expos success with the likes of Gary Carter and Andre Dawson in the early 1980’s. Maybe that’s how I started liking the Expos. Andre Dawson. “The Hawk” joined with the Cubs in 1987 in the famous blank check signing. That was around the time I began to notice the game of baseball and the Chicago Cubs.
It was probably just the colors. Red, White, and blue. America’s colors and also the color scheme of my favorite team. The Chicago Cubs. That’s gotta be it.
With the Washington Nationals sweeping the St. Louis Cardinals in the National League Championship Series to advance to the World Series I felt compelled to share my story. It’s baseball. It’s brotherhood. It’s part Jerry Springer show. This is my story.
It was either late February or early March 10 years ago. Much like hoarding baseball cards, I have a tendency to save every email, chat, text, etc. The earliest exchange I have on this topic is March 3, 2009, so this is roughly the time period.
While I don’t remember the exact date or day of the week, I recall it was a week night, and it was around 10:00 p.m. My house in 2009 was a tiny house. Not like the new in vogue tiny houses of today, just a small, crappy house. For some reason, my living room doubled as my office with a computer desk in the corner. This was likely because it was basketball season, and I wanted to watch games while on the computer. I digress.
With a tab on Facebook, I received a friend request from a woman named Lindsay. I didn’t know her, and we had zero mutual friends. Looking at her profile, she was not a bot. During this time I worked in radio, and constantly received friend requests from strangers, so I thought nothing of it.
Then I was hit with one of those dreaded novel-like messages. You know the type. Back in the old days of cell phone text messaging when each text had a character limit. You got pinged with message 1/4, and thought…FOUR?! Those typically contained bad news that somewhere included, “it’s not you…it’s me.”
I began reading this paragraphs long message on Facebook. All of the emotions ran through my head during the one to two minutes it took to read the message. And then read it again because the story it told seemed fabricated. Like…this doesn’t happen in real life. This stuff only occurs in the movies and on the Jerry Springer Show.
What I’m getting at here is at the age of 27 I had instantly gained an older brother. On Facebook. From a message sent to me by my new sister-in-law.
The message was probably read another two or three times, and once I picked my jaw up from the floor, I instantly dialed home. It was late for my parents, and surprised they were still awake at 10 p.m. Mom answered, and this was our conversation…verbatim…you can’t forget these things.
Me (no time for pleasantries): “Do I have a brother?”
Mom (in an obvious, “duh” tone): “Yeah…Cory (my brother…who, yes, I have known my entire life).”
Me (in an obvious “duh” tone): “No….ANOTHER brother?”
Mom: “You’re gonna have to talk to your dad about that (hands phone to dad).”
That’s when my dad and I spoke, and he revealed that it was likely true. I had a (half) brother out there. He was three years older than me.
After digesting this news, my sister-in-law and I sent a couple messages back and forth. My brother sent me a friend request, and we both just froze for a bit before reaching out. Eventually after a couple weeks we did begin a line of communication.
My parents visited me shortly after this news was unearthed and details were shared. One topic of conversation was the interest of a meeting. My dad, and mom, were open to it. My new brother was interested as well.
It was a few months before we had the meeting. I was working in Monmouth, Illinois, which was also basically the halfway point from where I was living, and my brother was living. We planned to meet at a local bar in the city’s downtown.
Thanks to Facebook, it wasn’t a complete mystery. We had months to “investigate” each other, or as the kids these days call it…Facebook stalk.
We met over beers and talked for several hours. I could definitely notice a slight family resemblance in my brother.
As a die-hard Chicago Cubs fan, I always pick up on the baseball side of people. My brother was wearing a Washington Nationals hat.
“Are you really a Nationals fan???” I asked early in the night. “Yeah, I was an Expos fan growing up. I think I just liked their colors, and then I kept following them when they moved to Washington.”
I was floored.
He rooted for the Expos because of their colors? It’s like this guy I am meeting for the first time is my brother. Oh yeah….he is.
My brother and I still keep in contact, but not as much as most brothers do, I suppose. He has five kids now, so I am sure that keeps him somewhat busy. His family also just moved to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina in the past couple years. That should give me an excuse to get down to visit and take in a Pelicans game.
We talked trash during the Cubs/Nationals playoff series a couple years ago, and had to send him this picture after the Cubs win.
It was nice to see the Nationals win the NLCS because I do like their team, especially behind young hitters Juan Soto and Victor Robles and stud pitchers Stephen Strasburg and Max Scherzer. I’m also happy for all those long-suffering Montreal Expos fans who finally (kind of) get to root for their team in a World Series.
I’m also happy for my brother. Even though we didn’t get to root for the Montreal Expos together growing up in the 1980’s and 1990’s, we can root on the Washington Nationals together in 2019.