It seems anyone can get a tryout with the ExposPosted: Monday February 25, 2002 12:41 PM
Throughout spring training, CNNSI.com will feature regular dispatches from Sports Illustrated staffers assigned to scout camps in the Grapefruit and Cactus leagues.
By Jeff Pearlman, Sports Illustrated
Team: Montreal Expos
Site: Jupiter, Fla.
Weather: Gray skies, sprinkles
Player I Saw Whom I Really Liked: Jose Canseco. What's not to like? The 37-year-old outfielder turned down all other suitors to join Montreal and go after that elusive World Series ti ... aw, who are we kidding? Big Jose is 38 homers away from 500, and an Instant Access Hall of Fame ID card. Is he a true Hall of Famer? Probably not. But the chase gives us reason to follow a sorry franchise in its final crawl.
Around the Horn: As ludicrous as this sounds: Montreal is -- hands down -- the most intriguing spring training operation. Why? Because you never know what has-been is gonna show up for a second chance. I wish Montreal GM Omar Minaya had been manning the door at the Stone Balloon (the University of Delaware's finest bar) in the early '90s, because everyone would've been allowed in. Lance Johnson arrived in Jupiter yesterday, joining Canseco, Felix Jose, Lyle Mouton, Ed Vosberg and Osvaldo Fernandez as oldies looking for a shot. Even former Reds pitcher Jack Armstrong stopped by looking for a tryout (he didn't get one). ... New manager Frank Robinson is thrilled to be back on the field again, and his chipper demeanor proves it. Baseball's former disciplinarian has been downright cuddly with the media, all but begging for questions. Stephanie Myles, a beat writer for the Montreal Gazette, said to the skipper, "You're in too good a mood. It can't last." Countered Robinson: "You're right. You better get it while you can." ... After Javier Vazquez, Tony Armas, Jr. and Carl Pavano, the battle for rotation spots is wide open. Tomo Ohka and ex-Met Masato Yoshii are the early favorites. ... If the Expos win, say, 15 straight and battle for a playoff bid, will people come? "Hard to say," says Pavano. "We'll either get 20,000 a game or 20." (Writer's note: Or two). ... Montreal's new pitching coach is Dick Pole.
Sports Illustrated senior writer Jeff Pearlman will check in periodically with reports from his tour of spring camps. Click here to send a question to his Spring Training Mailbag.