By Bob Elliott
Your Toronto Blue Jays return to Olympic Stadium.
And memories will come flooding back for some … back to 2014 when the New York Mets and the Jays drew 96,000 for a two-game series.
Van Horne was the soothing voice who could calm the stormy waters.
Tevan was the raspy, fiery talk show host who could turn Lake of Two Mountains from a Lake Placid-like state into choppy seas. When someone disagreed with his opinion he’d fire up the tape of a machine gun and yell “you’re gone.”
As a youngster I had listened to Ted and marvelled at his entertainment value and his opening day parades down Ste. Catharine Street. Sometimes after big September wins there were parades too.
Of course they were imaginary … all to get ready for the World Series clinching parade which never came. Being at Shea Stadium when the Expos won the second half in 1981 and then in Philadelphia when Rogers beat Steve Carlton to win the National League Division Series, I didn’t hear those parades.
It was Tevan who hung the monicker “City of Champions” on Montreal when the Canadiens were winning Stanley Cups and the Als were winning Grey Cups.
Friends from Kingston and Ottawa ask “did you finish your story in time to make it down town to the parade?”
The first time I ever met Ted was on the second floor of the Diplomat Hotel in Hollywood, Fla. in 1981 during the winter meetings. He was hosting his talk show from outside the press room and had the legendary Serge Touchette of Le Journal de Montreal as a guest.
Caller: “Is it true Chris Speier has been traded?”
Ted: “Hold on a sec, you are calling me — me Ted Tevan, who is where the action is telling me that the Expos have traded Speier. I’ll tell you when the shortstop has been traded.”
Caller dispatched, Ted went to commercial, turned and asked Touchette: “Speier hasn’t been traded … has he?”
Four year later Richard Griffin, the Expos P.R. director took the media to an old monastery for diner in San Diego. I recall broadcaster Jacques Doucet sending back a couple of bottles of wine and a harpist playing in an alcove.
What I remember most is sitting next to Ted and finding out he was from Kingston and a good friend of a pal of my father’s Julius “Mo” Sugarman. Ted grew up on Traymoor Street a few short blocks from the corner of College and Johnson, where I grew up.
I asked Ted if he was into sports growing up in Kingston.
“Naw, I was into chicks and playing cards,” he replied.
One night Ted signed off with “who’s out there, who’s listening … let me know,” before playing Shirley Temple’s “Good Night My Love.” The next day Ted’s phone rang at home. Former Prime Minister Bryan Mulrooney called Ted to say “I’m listening.”
Often he had me as a guest when his ratings were good and wanted them lowered. He was a tough man to say no to, he was tough on air, but a kind, gentle, pussy cat in person.
One youngster listening to Ted as a 14-year-old in the Town of Mount Royal in 1992, also listened to Mitch Melnick and waited for Michael Whalen’s TSN reports from West Palm Beach or interviewing a player while riding around Old Montreal in a horse-drawn cart.
He grew up, went to McMaster, got a job with the Expos and then later became the general manager of the Blue Jays.
His name is Alex Anthopoulos.
For all those Expos fans who ever heard Ted, who listened to an Expo parade we give you an updated version for baseball’s return to Montreal, just the way he used to conduct/broadcast a parade after a Montreal Canadiens win Earl Zuckerman for spent four hours going through his Ted library in search of an Expos parade).
Ted’s distinctive voice was rich in detail, so a tribute to Tevan, who died in 2011.
“WE CAN HEAR THE MARCHING BAND COMING …
“NOW WE CAN SEE THEM FROM OUR VANTAGE POINT AS THEY COME DOWN STE. CATHARINE … LET’S LISTEN TO THE HORN SECTION TO GET US IN THE MOOD …
“THERE’S RUSTY STAUB, OR AS WE KNOW HIM LE GRAND ORANGE, THIS YEAR’S GRAND MARSHALL SITTING IN THE CHERRY RED MUSTANG CONVERTIBLE, SPONSORED BY CHENOY’S with locations in Chomedey-Laval, in Brossard on Taschereau and Dollard-des-Ormeaux …
“THERE’S THE FORMER SKIPPER, GENTLEMEN JIM FANNING ON A FLOAT WITH SOME OF YOUR FAVORITE EXPOS … TIM … RAINES! MACK … JONES! … ELLIS … VALENTINE! … … COCOOO … LAAAA BOY … JOHN … BOCH-a-BELL-AH … John took a cab in from the airport last night … When I call for a ride I CALL UNI-TAXI … Man talk about a smooth, comfortable ride.
“WHAT A DAY WE HAS SHOWERS EARLIER … THE SUN IS SHINING ON THE CITY OF CHAMPIONS NOW … and LISTEN TO THE CROWD NOW … IT’S Mr. ANDRE … THE HAWK … DAWSON … THE HALL OF FAMER … AND Mr. STEVE … ROGERS. Those guys in the press box who know everything said Rogers could win the big game. HOW BOUT A COMPLETE GAME SHUT OUT OVER STEVE CARLTON IN THE DECIDING GAME IN 1981 … IN PHILLY.
“WILLIE … DAVIS … BOB … BAILEY … KEN … SINGLETON … TONY… PEREZ … CLAUDE … RAYMOND … WARREN … CROMARTIE … DAVE CASH ... ROB FAIRLY.
“AND now in the final car … the commissioner ROB … MANFRED … the man who will help bring back baseball to the city we all love.”