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Up, Up, and Away: The Kid, the Hawk, Rock, Vladi, Pedro, le Grand Orange, Youppi!, the Crazy Business of Baseball, and the Ill-fated but Unforgettable Montreal Expos Hardcover – March 25, 2014
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“A special book that gives an underappreciated time and place in baseball its due.”
“In Up, Up & Away, Jonah Keri has produced a book that is one part history, one part local legend, one part eulogy, and one part letter to a lost love. The Montreal Expos deserved a book, and they deserved this book.”
—Bruce Arthur, national sports columnist, National Post
“Long gone but it seems like only yesterday. A certain charm attaches to bygone ballparks and ball clubs: Ebbets Field, the St. Louis Browns, the Seattle Pilots—supply your own favorite ghost. But for me, the franchise with the most romance about it is the Montreal Expos. Jonah Keri pays tribute, tells tales, spills beans, and wakes the echoes in this glorious grand chelem of a book.”
—John Thorn, Official Historian, Major League Baseball
About the Author
JONAH KERI is a writer for Grantland.com and a contributor to ESPN's Baseball Tonight. He is the author of the New York Times bestseller The Extra 2%: How Wall Street Strategies Took a Major League Baseball Team from Worst to First and the co-author of Baseball Between the Numbers: Why Everything You Know About the Game Is Wrong. He has previously contributed to ESPN.com, SI.com, Baseball Prospectus, the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, and wrote the flagship stock market column for Investor's Business Daily.
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Top Customer Reviews
Starting with the scramble to obtain players and a suitable stadium for the inaugural 1969 season, Keri captures the adventures and misadventures of the franchise with humor, knowledge and the viewpoint that a devoted fan provides, which was surprisingly objective as well.
The objectivity comes mainly from describing the many business decisions that resulted in star players leaving. One example is when after the team compiled the best record in the 1994 season in which the World Series was not played due to a player’s strike, the ownership group ordered general manager Kevin Malone to dump four of the team’s highest paid players in one week. Keri’s account of that fire sale did not read like a disgruntled fan – while criticizing the move, he did note that it did achieve the short term goals, but that it was just that – “a short-sighted glimpse of the situation.”
His accounts of the eventual ownership by Major League Baseball and his criticism of an ownership group that would not contribute the required money to keep the operations going that resulted in one man (Jeffrey Loria) obtaining 93% of the team was also surprisingly objective for someone who was a fan of the team. Other business matters such as losing broadcasting rights to the southern Ontario market and only online broadcasting in the early 2000’s were covered in the same manner.
This doesn’t mean that Keri only wrote about the front office. His accounts of the 36 seasons of Expos baseball on the field was just as good, especially when writing about the stars and beloved players who wore the red, white and blue of the team. His prose about the sad story of Ellis Valentine, the heartbreak of “Blue Monday” when Rick Monday homered to propel the Dodgers to victory over the Expos in the 1981 National League Championship Series and the excitement of the surprise run in 1994. Those passages are great reading for any baseball fan, whether or not he or she was an Expos fan.
One question that many ask is when was the point where the Expos started to show signs that they were in trouble. Keri’s account offers several times both on and off the field, but the most interesting one was when he described the apex of success for the team on the field as the 1982 All-Star game which Montreal hosted. It was at that time when the Expos were having their longest stretch of sustained success and had five players represent them at that All-Star game. While questionable at first to me, he makes a good point why he felt that way. That is an example of what Keri does throughout the book – makes points of why he believed something happened and uses solid evidence to support that claim.
This is a very entertaining and informative book that any reader who is interested in the history of this colorful team, whether a fan or not, will enjoy.
I found the book especially interesting because I organized a bus tour to Montreal for Little Leaguers in 1975 and 1980 so we got to experience both the ambiance of Jarry Parc and the sterility of Olympic Stadium.
The author amply covers both the good and bad years effectively along with the difficulties involving ownership and lack of revenue sharing and big television contracts that team have now which enable them to survive which the Expos did not have the advantage of. The Expos never lacked for stars and super stars with names such as Gary Carter, Rusty Staub, Andre Dawson, Vladiimir Guerrero, Pedro Martinez, and others which the author sprinkles with anecdotes.
The author laments the loss of the Expos in Montreal which have now become the Washington Nationals.but holds out a slim hope that Montreal may once again become a major league team. Milwaukee lost the Braves following the 1965 season and regained a team in 1970 when the Seattle Pilots transferred to Milwaukee in 1970 so perhaps some day Montreal may some day become big league once more. The Montreal Expos had a brief run at the major league level and this book does a good job in covering their history.