By Fred Wallace
Don't let me kid you and give you the impression that my Las Vegas junkets with Puppy White Tours are non-stop events filled with sports betting and rolling the dice at the Craps Table.
Truthfully, the majority of my time at the Flamingo is spent at the pool swimming, snoozing and reading.
Among the books I took to Vegas this year was " Blue Monday " by Danny Gallagher.
" Blue Monday " documents the rise of the Montreal Expos and climaxes on October 19, 1981; the 5th & deciding game of the National League Championship Series against the LA Dodgers.
If you're my age, you remember " Blue Monday " and you remember exactly where you were ( The Filling Station at Ryerson Polytechnical Institute in Toronto ) when Rick Monday of the Dodgers cranked a heartbreaking home run at Olympic Stadium off Expos " reliever " Steve Rogers in the 9th inning to give the Dodgers the lead and eventually the win, allowing LA to advance to the 1981 World Series where they defeated the Yankees.
The fact that Steve Rogers, a superb starter, was pitching in relief late in this pivotal game has been the focal point of the game almost 40 years later.
In " Blue Monday ", Danny Gallagher interviewed dozens of participants on both sides of the field, getting their perspective on the decision by Montreal Manager Jim Fanning to use Rogers, rather than a typical reliever, in that situation.
The quotes, the observations and the analysis are interesting, covering the full spectrum of what was, what should have been & what if, had " Blue Monday " never happened when it did.
Would the Expos have won Game 5 of the NLCS in 1981 if there wasn't a rain out the day before ?
Would the Dodgers have won the World Series over the Yankees that year ?
Would there still be Major League Baseball in Montreal had the Expos, and not the Dodgers won Game 5 ?
" Blue Monday " by Danny Gallagher is a very good retrospective on an unforgettable moment in Montreal and Canadian baseball history.
I'm Fred Wallace