Wait Till Next Year? They Don't Have One

Abandoned by baseball, a team and its bicultural fans search for a raison d'etre

Every team is in first place on opening day, goes an old baseball maxim. Hope and possibility abound. Unless you are a member of the impossibly hopeless Montreal Expos. Then opening day is just the first chord of a season-long funeral march. "I like to use the analogy of someone who has been told he has a terminal illness," says Expos president Tony Tavares, who prays fans will buy tickets, if only to pay their last respects.

The Expos, sickly for years, are now Team Tumor. After a decade of cheapskate owners and lousy attendance--last year they averaged a pitiful 7,935...

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