MONTREAL (Ticker) -- The
were not nearly as good as their fans in the possible finale for major league baseball in the "City of Saints."
Hours after Commissioner Bud Selig announced the team was targeted for relocation to Washington D.C. in time for the 2005 season, the Expos put forth a listless effort in a 9-1 loss to the
In what very well could be the final game ever at Olympic Stadium, a season-best crowd of 31,395 was - for the most part - enthusiastic and well behaved. While players from both sides expressed concern for their safety, there was only one significant incident - involving golf balls being thrown on the field in the third inning.
With Montreal choosing to honor its 1994 team - a squad that had the best record in baseball when a work stoppage forced the cancellation of the postseason - before the game, the fans were into the atmosphere from the start and spent most of the game on their feet. There were plenty of farewell banners in a stadium that was infamous for its lack of ambience.
"It was very nice to see the fans standing up and cheering for the guys," Montreal's
said. "It was a good way to go out."
"It is a sad situation," said Montreal outfielder
, who was visibly caught up in the emotion. "I feel for the people of Montreal. It is a great city and a great place to play. I have enjoyed it."
Wilkerson was one of the players who expressed concern over the situation surrounding the game.
"Give credit to the fans for being smart about things, coming out watch a ballgame and cheering and not doing anything too serious. ... I'm really impressed with the fans tonight and how they respected everyone."
Between the lines, the Expos were no match for Florida's
(18-8), who allowed a run and seven hits in seven innings. Pavano, who spent five years with Montreal, set a single-season club record for wins.
"I don't think I had my best stuff but I went out there and battled," said Pavano of what likely will be his final outing of a breakout campaign. "They got me some runs and I was able to work my stuff and get outs when I needed too."
But even Pavano got a bit caught up in the emotion.
"I feel bad for the fans and the people that really worked hard to hold all of this together for so long," Pavano said. "People are going to lose their jobs that have worked here for 30 years. That is unfortunate."
"It sort of (stinks)," Montreal reliever
said. "I have a lot of friends that aren't going to be working. I know a lot of people that aren't going to have jobs."
had two hits and two RBI apiece for the defending world champion Marlins (82-76), who have posted consecutive winning seasons for the first time in franchise history.
Sun-woo Kim (4-6) was tagged for five runs and five hits in two-plus innings.
Following the game, Montreal players and coaches came onto the field, spoke publicly to the fans and threw souvenirs into the stands. Many of the players were emotional and the crowd responded with repeated standing ovations.
"It was very nice," Montreal manager
said. "After the game I looked up and I'm not sure why, but there were fans in the upper deck. It was unbelievable. It was nice applause, it took a little sadness off of the occasion."
"The people in this city, in this uncertainty, have been great to me," Montreal outfielder
said. "I definitely wanted to have the opportunity to show some appreciation for how I feel."
was one of the last to address the fans and drew prolonged applause.
"It is tough but it has been a long time coming," Raines said. "I kind of thought it would never happen. A lot of the guys here wish it would never happen but we don't control those type of things."