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I Knew Him Before He Was Interviewing the Prime Minister!

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Longtime friend of LGM Jonah Keri has a pretty nice get for his podcast. I did. not. now. that Pierre was a baseball fan, and that his father had an ownership stake in the Royals (Jackie Robinson’s last minor league team):

PM JUSTIN TRUDEAU: It was, you know … It’s funny because my father was never a big sports fan. There’s famous stories about how my father would bring us to the Grey Cup and Premier Bill Davis was the one who had to explain to us what football was as 5-year-olds because my father was not a big sports fan, with the exception of baseball. For him, baseball was his sport and it was really important for him to bring us to games because as a kid it was one of those things that he had bonded with his dad over. He was affected all his life because his dad actually died when he was only 15 years old and it left a huge gap in my father’s life, for his entire life. But baseball was really important to my grandfather because he was one of the part-owners of the Montreal Royals, where Jackie Robinson got his start. And it was all sort of part of family lore for us. So for my father, it was really important. We’d go out to the Big O and watch games there. And Andre Dawson, Gary Carter, Tim Raines were my sports heroes at that point because we didn’t have a lot of sports heroes but those were the three that really popped for me.

One thing I think a lot of baseball fans don’t understand, given how long the team was left to twist in the wind, is that the Expos were bigly popular in the late 70s and early 80s, drawing more than 26,000 fans a game when the major league average was around 20,000. They had a core with multiple Hall of Famers and a lot of other top-quality candidate. But they replaced Dick Williams with Jim Fanning (an affable baseball man but not a competent manager) and Bill Virdon (who had Billy Martin’s ability to burn out pitchers with none of his ability to evaluate or motivate talent), they surrounded that core with grit and leadership instead of talent, and the rest is history. But this market can support a team and might well get the chance again.

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