* Howard Starkman, right, and Simon Arsenault of evenko who brought the New York Mets and Blue Jays to Montreal. Starkman, a Blue Jays employee on day one, deserved a lot of credit for this weekend's successful exhibition series at Olympic Stadium. .... 2014 Canadians in College Letters of Intent 2014 Canadian draft list 2013 Canadians in the Minors 2015 Canadian draft list
By Bob Elliott
MONTREAL -- The evenko-promoted exhibition games at Olympic Stadium were a success.
A lot of the credit goes to day one Blue Jays employee Howard Starkman, who was in on meetings with the entertainment arm of the Montreal Canadiens from the start, and was at his makeshift office each day from 8 AM in the bowels of Olympic Stadium for almost a week.
“Howard was the main contact with the Blue Jays,” said evenko’s Simon Arsenault. “He supervised the field, dugouts, bullpen setup, mound measurements, and pre-game program, minute by minute. He double checked and triple checked our time sheets.”
On the evenko end of the proceedings, Patrick Tortaich, Eric Fortin-Lambert, Sebastien Chagnon and Melanie Lariviere put in long hours to make sure everything from outfield signage to the reworked NeXXfield turf was in game condition.
"Howie made it all happen, he was back in harness running things with an iron fist, like when it all began in 1977," said Blue Jays president Paul Beeston Friday night. "This weekend was not possible without Howie Starkman."
A fan fell from the outfield bleachers near the Jays bullpen when he toppled over the railing injuring his neck Friday.
Some fans complained about not being able to get to their seats until long after first pitch due to a lack or parking and long ticket lineups.
SKIPPER ENDORSES: “This is a big-league city which will support a big-league team,” said former manager Felipe Alou, who now works for the San Francisco Giants. “I will believe that until the day I die. I see French Canadian fans when I am in Arizona. They know. But people in California, they see that we lost the team and think no one cares.
“That is wrong. People here don’t know how much we love baseball.”
If Alou sounds as if he speaks as a passionate Montrealer, it's because he is. He married a woman from Laval and is often in Montreal.
Alou said there was a chain reaction of setbacks which led to a downtown stadium not being built, Jeffrey Loria selling the Expos to Major League Baseball and buying the Floria Marlins and then baseball moving the Expos to Washington, D.C.