- The Washington Times - Friday, January 25, 2002

They claim they speak two languages in Montreal, three if you count the F-word.

Aren't they special?

The depth of their discourse is as thin as their skin.

From Jean-Philippe Biebuyck comes this: "I hope the devil speaks only French when you go to hell."

That would be assuming the worst, no doubt, a French-speaking devil to go with the fire.

The Expos are dead in Montreal, both in English as well as in French. Washington has donated itself in lieu of flowers. The act of kindness is not appreciated. That goes for the messenger, too.

Ian Labelle puts it this way: "You're a guy without a brain. You are a very bad man and a [blankety blank]."

That is what they said of Napoleon at Waterloo.

The French-Canadians are merely negotiating the terms of another surrender, this one long overdue. Bad habits are hard to break, Jerry Lewis included. There is no blood, fortunately, just lots of red ink.

Their vitriol is either a cry for help or a sign of a massive inferiority complex. It confirms the original charge, made in this space earlier in the week. They are overly sensitive in Montreal, a fine place otherwise.

The charge has resulted in a number of countercharges, all unsubstantiated, except perhaps idiot. That one gets trotted out a lot on both sides of the border.

Martin Demers asks: "By the way, are you related to Don Knotts, the ill-handsomed actor?"

Funny you should notice the connection. Artists run in the family, except for the side that runs Knotts Berry Farm in California.

This is not to pick a fight with a language, French in particular. Here is proof of what two years of French in college can do for a person. It comes in handy along the wine aisle.

"I'm sure you don't know where Montreal is," Marc-Andre Lemieux says.

That is an easy one to refute. Montreal is a gas-and-go western suburb of Halifax, just north of Baltimore.

The Expos do not qualify as an international incident, only an embarrassment to baseball and the two or three fans who still follow the team in Montreal. Baseball could cut expenses this summer by holding the team's home games on a sandlot. A bench for each team and a set of miniature bleachers behind the backstop would suffice.

The e-shouters insist that baseball in Montreal has been victimized by poor ownership. Washington knows the feeling. Twice.

Viva bin Laden?

That is a low blow, worthy of Mike Tyson. At least he has a "constellation of neurological deficits." What's Montreal's excuse?

Daniel O'Hara, to name another guilty party from Montreal, objects to Washington's priorities.

"You should spend more time taking care of the planes overhead and your mail and leave alone our Expos," he writes.

That must be how they feel our pain in Montreal. They equate death and destruction to the loss of a baseball team. Their rabies shots must not be up to date.

Victimhood is an awful thing to waste on a baseball franchise. Washington could understand the reaction if we wanted to rescue Montreal's hockey franchise, too. The Caps even let Montreal's guys win Wednesday night. Be honest, Montreal. You have to admit that was a nice gesture on the part of the Caps.

There is just no getting through the grief. Montreal is down to a farewell season, and what a season that promises to be. It is over for the Expos before it even starts.

The lame-duck team qualifies as a source of defiant pride, according to Stephane Duperron.

"Forgive us if we're not suckers and we do not invest our money and emotions in a lousy product," he writes.

You are forgiven.

You see a principle. Washington sees an opportunity.

Washington is not called the flatulent capital for nothing.

Washington is overqualified, based on the demographics, to lift the Expos from their bargain-basement lifestyle.

That's not intended to be personal, much less a reflection on a particular language.

Money, after all, is the universal language.

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