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Hundreds rally outside Olympic Stadium

9/25/2004 - Montreal Expos

MONTREAL -- Hundreds of Montreal Expos fans held a rally
near Olympic Stadium on Saturday in the faint hope of dissuading
baseball from moving their hometown team.

Several speakers, including Jacques Doucet, the club's longtime
French broadcaster, and Michel Filteau, who organized the rally,
addressed a crowd of approximately 500 people in a parking lot
adjacent to the Pierre Charbonneau Centre.

Doucet told the crowd he was "proud and disappointed" to be
speaking to them.

"I said I was proud because of the support that these fans
showed about keeping the team here, and I was disappointed because
of the reasons that we were there," Doucet said Saturday night
just before the first pitch of Montreal's game against
Philadelphia.

Following the 30-minute rally, the group marched along the
grounds of the Olympic Park to gather again outside Olympic
Stadium.

"I think the fans could be the spark for the renewal or the
rebirth of the Expos," Filteau said. "It will pass by the fans
first. They have to take the leadership in that cause. Like with
Minnesota, when they decided to contract the Twins the whole
community got behind saving the team, so we have to do the same
thing."

One of the many signs displayed during the rally read: "Selig
is not my Bud."

The Expos have four home games remaining this season, and
Wednesday night's game against Florida could be the last big league
game at Olympic Stadium. After years of dwindling attendance in
Montreal, baseball is expected to relocate the team -- which has
been owned and operated by Major League Baseball for the last three
seasons -- for the 2005 season.

Washington D.C. is the leading candidate. Nearby northern
Virginia; Las Vegas; Monterrey, Mexico; Norfolk, Va.; and Portland,
Ore., have also been contenders.

Expos fan Robbie Hart, a documentary filmmaker who once made a
movie about the plight of the team's fans, believes that support
for the team is even greater than what was displayed at the rally.

"They're not all here now but there are a lot of people who
feel that this team still deserves to be in Montreal, that they
still love the Expos and that this city can support a baseball
team," Hart said.