"This is the first year we've been able to recapture the picniclike ambience of Jarry Park," says McHale. In addition to the beer garden, the team has created a mascot named "Youppi"—approximately the French equivalent of " Yahoo." "The fans here are a little different," says Rogers, the senior Expo. "They are used to hockey games, in which something is happening about every 15 seconds—a check or a shot or something. In baseball, cheering should be anticipatory: stomping your feet with men on base, things like that. We used to have to climb on the dugouts and scream a little just to see if they were still breathing back there. But Youppi has helped a lot."
Indeed, Montreal fans recently gave Rogers a standing ovation of his own all the way through a time at bat (the count went to 3-2, too), not in anticipation but in appreciation of a no-hitter he had going against the Phillies. It was broken up in the eighth inning. (On Saturday night against the Dodgers, Rogers had another no-hitter in the eighth. Again it was broken up, but he won 2-1.) In the Phillie game the noise reverberated down off the stadium's overhanging roof, making a terrific racket.
And there's plenty of noise to come. "In the 10 years the Expos have been around," says Montreal Gazette writer Ian MacDonald, "the Canadiens have won seven Stanley Cups and the Alouettes three Grey Cups. This town had a six-year love affair with the Expos, but now they want a winner. The people are used to winners."
Now that they have a new one, don't expect them to wait around till fall to celebrate it. Ein Prosit, mes oompahs!