It's a baseball baby step, but a step nonetheless, said former Montreal Expos star Warren Cromartie.
Known for his iconic waving of the Canadian Flag during the 1981 postseason - Montreal's only baseball playoff appearance - Cromartie, announced on Wednesday the formation of the Montreal Baseball Project (MBP2012.com) , an organization dedicated to returning professional baseball to the city of Montreal.
The Expos left for Washington, D.C., following the 2004 season. While other groups have publicly talked about returning some form of professional baseball to Montreal, the metropolis is still currently without any team.
Cromartie, joined by former French language broadcaster Rodger Brulotte and Dorval mayor Edgar Rouleau, unveiled a 1981 Montreal Expos tribute weekend planned for June 15 and 16. As many as 18 members of the '81 Expos are expected to take part in the weekend's festivities, including hall-of-famer Andre Dawson, Tim Raines, Jeff Reardon, Bill Gullickson, Rodney Scott and Larry Parrish.
Montreal's only other Hall-of-Fame member, Gary Carter, who also played for the 1981 club, passed away in February from cancer. The city of Montreal will announce a public tribute to Carter later this year.
The 1981 Expos tribute weekend will consist of a day of golf for the players and fans who sign up, a gala benefit and a fanfare event.
"We have to go grassroots and with a new attitude, letting people know what we're trying to do," said Cromartie, who spoke to approximately 45 members of the media from both English and French outlets.
Proceeds from the Expos tribute weekend will go to the Cedars Cancer Institute at the McGill University Health Centre in Montreal. Dr. Edward Tabah, one of the founders of the charity, was also on hand at the press conference.
Cromartie said that this is but phase one of a plan to return baseball back to the city where he starred in the 70's and 80's, before becoming a hit with Japanese baseball fans while playing for the Yomiuri Giants.
"We have to rekindle the interest for baseball in Montreal and this June weekend event is a nice start. Several big name sponsors are on board already, and my phone's been ringing off the hook."
Matthew Ross is a host on TSN 990 Radio. Follow him @TSNmatthew.