interest free credit cards bad credit rating secured credit cards pnc bank bank america worldpoints visa signature credit card apply for a credit card for bad credit online air miles credit card no annual fee international credit card fees class action orchard bank gold credit card reviews consolidating credit card debt cibc credit card zero interest offers pay hdfc credit card bill online through billdesk spirit airlines credit card free flights how do i pay my walmart credit card bill online advantages and disadvantages of credit cards and debit cards gap credit card paperless statements pay metrostyle credit card online how to consolidate credit card debt canada circuit city credit card pay get business credit card new business canadian credit cards with lowest interest rates shell gas rebate credit cards how to get a credit card company to reduce your interest rate report lost credit card mastercard how to apply credit cards chase student credit card limit credit card encryption+drupal secured credit cards for bad credit with no deposit card credit debt negotiation settlement accept credit cards paypal mobile credit card machine companies helzberg diamond credit card order a credit card with visa how to dispute a credit card chargeback get chase credit card bad credit credit india plastic card embossing machine credit card interest rate calculation formula goodyear credit cards online list visa credit cards numbers best credit card for medical expenses paying credit card late response letter summons credit card debt nab internet credit card payment can you use an american credit card in europe orchard credit card login what is my credit card number square iphone credit card canada best australian prepaid credit card credit card transfers zero percent credit cards no balance transfer fees best credit card with airline miles surcharge on credit card transactions which is the cheapest credit card to use abroad pay citibank credit card uae low credit card rates good credit best corporate credit card canada credit card issuers airline miles credit card for bad credit figure monthly payment credit card first premier bank credit card processing fee why do people get multiple credit cards no credit credit cards students visa use credit card through paypal can unused credit cards hurt your credit score apply for the children;s place credit card free credit card number and security code credit cards with 0 percent interest on transfers halifax credit card balance transfer to bank account sears solutions credit card application target credit card login page credit card sitex 2011 united airline credit card 50000 case-mate id credit card case for blackberry 9700 credit card air france miles natwest student credit card contact number does wachovia offer secured credit card standard chartered credit card online payment other bank discover student card average credit limit free dating no credit cards bt credit card review credit card manufacturers canada credit card default consequences california $100 free dating site no credit card first national bank credit card login amazon credit card foreign transaction fees amex centurion credit black card bank of america cancel credit card transaction hsbc credit card points redemption uk credit card special offers benefits do credit cards offer merchants best credit cards cash rebate credit card debt relief government help get new credit card sbi fortunoff credit card account charges for using halifax credit card abroad best credit card purchases samuels diamond elite credit card new acm wallet credit card holder & money clip hybrid commonwealth low rate credit card limit wamu credit card agreement can you pay credit cards online credit card with high limits applications credit card payments applied highest interest apple credit card reader uk quickbooks credit card processing reviews singapore airline letter indemnity credit card use prepaid credit card online poker universal 1 credit union card services credit cards with 0 interest for 12 months on purchases wyndham rewards visa credit card login credit cards to build credit score neiman marcus credit card pay by phone visa airline rewards credit cards transfer balance credit card 0 interest ge money credit card uk credit card starting with 4999 government credit card citi exxon mobil credit card pay on line alaska airline credit card canada itunes wont accept my credit card security number credit cards bankruptcy no annual fee free credit cards information wireless credit card terminal first data instant credit card approval canada bad credit visa disposable credit card number can jc penney credit cards used american express credit card pay online india first premier bank credit card activation phone number credit card number generator with cvv and expiration date when do you have to pay off credit card credit card numbers and security codes that work 2013 best credit cards for fair credit credit cards for people with bad credit trying to rebuild credit how much cash can i withdraw from my credit card citi.com credit card login can you pay chase credit card payment chase bank highest rated credit cards rewards activate your rbs credit card apply sears credit card login credit card payments through google stimulus help for credit card debt credit card judgement in pa visa credit card dispute resolution how do i pay federal taxes with credit card magnetic money clip credit card rbs credit card payment uae exchange credit card services rbs phone number hsbc online credit card application philippines can you use sears credit card at sears outlet credit card collection defense free background check no credit card required tractor supply credit card online update credit card information playstation network first premier centennial classic credit card archangel usb 2.0 usb credit card flash drive credit card amazon points where can i get a prepaid visa credit card credit card processors online business mastercard credit cards for people with bad credit credit one card payment make barnes and noble credit card scam how to get a credit card with frequent flyer miles bank america stop sending credit card checks how do you pay off amazon credit card why do we have high interest rates on credit cards airport lounge access credit card paying off credit cards with credit cards secured credit card canada td vending machine credit card acceptance mobile credit card terminal recurring credit card authorization form doc how hard is it to get a walmart credit card best credit card foreign exchange fees credit card cloning machine buy car with credit card points can change my credit card info itunes sears credit card online pay bill iphone terminal credit card credit card interest payment calculators consolidate credit card debt into loan where to apply for a credit card credit cards best rewards consumer reports credit card lawyers ny british airways visa signature card credit score picture of credit card statement credit card deposit to bank account can you pay for my western union money transfer with a credit card how to pay new york and company credit card online hsbc credit card services barclay apple credit card login balance transfer credit cards fair credit hsbc credit card benefits malaysia sears credit card balance canada american express delta platinum credit card best credit card app for ipad answer credit card summons template citibank credit card india online application cell phone can swipe credit card hhonors credit card diamond conoco credit card customer service 76 credit card payment credit card payoff time formula best credit cards no foreign fees air mile reward credit cards prepaid credit card visa usa southwest credit card free flight round trip how do i get a free credit report without using a credit card home pc credit card reader cannot use credit card with paypal when did people first start using credit cards difference between visa debit credit card sbi hero honda credit card number activate chase freedom credit card cell phone credit card debt collection agency dining credit card promotions singapore gm credit card payment address better use credit card debit card online best elite credit card credit card payment processing time who has the best credit card deals claim money back my credit card there any government programs help credit card debt javascript credit card validation jquery there government program credit card debt relief prepaid credit card for business clear choice credit card processing sbi credit card online payment through net banking can you pay your irs bill with a credit card pay capital one credit card bill by phone florida banks that offer secured credit cards bank of america credit card for students safe credit union secured credit card credit card act section 75 stealing credit card information wirelessly apply for a bank of america visa credit card summit credit card log interest free credit card transfers ireland canadian travel reward credit card comparison pay irs credit card check hdfc credit cards reward points gifts 76 gasoline credit card activate bofa credit card aaa credit card gas discount no security deposit credit card accepting credit card payments through iphone best credit cards uk 2011 credit card balance transfer rates slate from chase can college students get credit cards commerce bank credit card customer service number is target credit card easy to get best credit cards flying points credit card processing system problem statement any real credit card generators rbs mint credit card ppi address legacy visa credit card reviews first citizens credit card application prepaid credit cards online use ashley furniture credit card can make payment my walmart credit card store business credit card bmi miles high risk credit card processing companies can you use a credit card at an atm can you cancel capital one credit card online how do i get my credit report without a credit card credit card applications bad credit no application fee gmac mortgage equity rewards credit card using someone else;s credit card with permission best buy master credit card payment can you set up direct debit credit card can you transfer money from credit card to paypal credit card build credit after bankruptcy 0 purchase credit cards government grants credit card debt relief credit one bank credit card agreement first premier bank prepaid credit card credit cards terminals verifone free valid credit card numbers that work 2010 use level up cards facebook credits 5466 credit card number secure online credit card processing aspire credit card reviews fnb gold credit card limit credit card company list hdfc titanium credit card reward points redemption catalogue barclaycard us credit card phone number lowes credit card special offers best credit card get you have bad credit tiffany credit card customer service tesco on line credit card banking do credit card debt too high metal business card credit card holder want apply sears credit card online regions visa credit card world points credit union card online gold delta skymiles credit card phone number why will i need a credit card to download free apps can you buy things online prepaid credit card nordstrom rack credit card pay online mile credit card value calculator make paypal account prepaid credit card use amazon credit card reward make itunes account without gift card credit card best bank get your first credit card credit card debt forgiveness tax consequences card usb flash drive price products credit sears credit cards payment center abercrombie credit card application usaa credit card dispute charge new millenium bank credit card for bad credit pay hsbc credit card by phone check my credit report free without credit card paypal credit card reader for pc can i send money through western union with a credit card get business credit card only ein marriott premier credit card login absa platinum credit card benefits credit card starting with 5 securely store credit card numbers database how to apply a credit card in icici bank buy injectable steroids with credit card what kind of credit cards are good for college students does mean earn cash back credit cards personal loan credit card debt consolidation honda credit card payment pay off credit cards refinance credit card statement cr send money paypal account using credit card does a visa debit card have the same protection as a credit card balance transfer credit cards low fee best bank credit card apply visa debit card same protection as credit card td canada trust debit credit card credit card american express bangladesh mbna credit card america sunoco credit card accountonline visa platinum business credit card capital credit card online banking disposable prepaid credit card uk credit cards for average credit rating citibank credit card payment by cheque in india processing credit cards through google valid mastercard credit card numbers accepting credit cards small business bank america santander credit card login problems citi credit card customer service phone number centon dsc32gb-001 datastick credit card usb flash drive get visa credit card no credit check java code validate credit card number my thomas cook credit card login experian credit card score american airlines frequent flyer program credit card bluetooth credit card reader iphone best credit card processing companies to work for chase disney credit cards rewards wells fargo business credit card icici credit card reward point catalogue valid credit card numbers that work online credit card reform act summary 2009 how to pay credit card bill by another credit card citizens bank credit card login rbs webster credit card login best credit card rewards program in canada current interchange rates credit cards ufcw credit card payment address fidelity 529 american express credit card get cute credit cards amazon credit card uk contact capital secured credit card login common questions about credit cards help with credit card debt.gov ge capital credit card payment online prepaid credit cards no fees international credit card applications for bad credit canada pay with 2 different credit cards amazon credit card forms sample living social credit card stolen members 1st credit card application barclays bank delaware credit card credit card receipt printer mac credit card with high limit and low interest credit card fair fee act 2008 credit cards for fair credit instant approval uk best credit card balance transfer bad credit apply credit cards barclays bank android market account without credit card is citi a good credit card standard chartered hong kong credit card promotion get free cash credit card much do credit card companies sell bad debt does american express offer secured credit card best credit card form design bank hawaii hawaiian airlines visa signature credit card hsbc premier credit card reward mbna europe bank credit card first data credit card processing merchant accounts what do you need to get a secured card credit history credit card type prefix numbers phillips 66 credit card account delta sky rewards credit card check bank of america credit card statement delta credit cards miles bmw credit card application best personal credit cards 2011 say no college credit card offers paypal process credit cards online bloomingdales credit card customer service phone number credit card batch processing pci compliance virgin credit card section 75 cache credit card payment compare bad credit credit cards online credit card payment service hsbc ge money bank credit cards walmart visa united airlines credit card log citi forward credit card customer service number icici bank credit card interest calculation hsbc credit card promotions sri lanka usa credit platinum shopping card what can you do with a stolen credit card number how to pay off your credit card balance american express travel miles credit card credit card debts of deceased spouse capital one credit cards venture rewards card limited credit card login page best free credit cards us hsbc credit card insurance policy walmart credit card help number murphy usa walmart credit card paypal limits unverified credit card easiest place to get accepted for a credit card reasons for disputing credit card charges how to get your first credit card yahoo amex blue credit card offers government credit cards citibank login find unsecured credit card bad credit younkers credit card online payment forever 21 credit card bdo credit card bin numbers australia cannot send money using credit card paypal best credit card processing company in canada credit card rights for consumers citibank credit card contact number bangalore how long does it take to get a navy federal credit card accepting credit cards benefits does credit card company charge off credit cards 0 apr for 15 months ace elite prepaid credit card credit card shape usb flash drive best credit cards to apply for after bankruptcy best credit card software processing credit card low interest rate transfers credit cards 2 percent cash back prepaid visa credit card pet care credit card no interest lowes business credit card does credit build credit cards 4 major credit cards companies pay chase credit card by check credit card gasoline cheap credit card wallets men free credit report scores no credit card required credit card machine my new business sbi credit card credit limit increase form easiest credit card to get approved for bank ireland credit card offers chip and pin credit cards bank of america buy stolen credit cards online close target credit card account understanding the apr rates on credit cards merchant credit card account bad credit best credit card for travelling abroad credit card application approval process issue number on credit card mastercard hsbc bank credit card payment other bank account penn state alumni association credit card should i apply for a credit card online or in person city bank credit cards india where can i pay my discover credit card bill free prepaid online credit card what is the best gas credit card http www bankrate com calculators credit cards mastercard minimum payment aspx top rated merchant credit card processors united chase credit card travel insurance do taxis in paris take credit cards maruti suzuki credit card credit cards help build credit rating can credit card companies garnish wages in florida juniper barclay credit card login union bank india credit card bill design your own credit card chase unsecured credit cards people bad credit canada marshall credit card payment lowes home improvement credit cards starwood credit card referral bonus chevron texaco gas credit card lowes credit card financing offers letter change credit card billing address best travel rewards credit card for average credit network good credit card fees merrill lynch credit card awards pay shell credit card bill online sunoco gas credit card how to pay my wells fargo credit card
Home Biz of Baseball - Interviews Interview - Jacques Doucet - Announcer, Montreal Expos

Like Shoot to Thrill - An AC/DC Tribute on Facebook!

An authentic tribute of AC/DC that covers the best of the Bon Scott era and the best of Brian Johnson's material

Who's Online?

We have 423 guests online

Atom RSS

Interview - Jacques Doucet - Announcer, Montreal Expos PDF Print E-mail
User Rating: / 24
PoorBest 
Written by Dave Rouleau   
Saturday, 09 February 2008 20:42

Jacques Doucet

For 33 years of the tumultuous existence of the Montreal Expos, nobody had a front row seat like broadcaster Jacques Doucet.

Wherever you go in Quebec, many have lived the history of Nos Amours through this sympathetic man, including me. His presence in the Montreal Expos Hall of Fame, Baseball Quebec Hall of Fame and now Baseball Canada Hall of Fame can only testify to the impact his voice has had on the sport in the Province of Quebec. 

He was even featured on the front page of The Wall Street Journal in June 2005, in a story about the French words used to describe baseball in Montreal. The Journal cited a column first published in La Presse to showcase the impact Doucet had on the game in La Belle Province: broadcasters over the years.

For some people, summer is a Carlos Jobim song, the singing of birds or the murmur of streams; for me, summer is the voice of Jacques Doucet… "I won't miss millionaire players or owners," he wrote. "But I'll miss the voice of Jacques Doucet for a long time."

Now that the big league club is gone, the former sports journalist now works as the play-by-play man for the Quebec City franchise of the independent Can-Am League, whose Commissioner is Miles Wolff.

I had the pleasure of talking at length with Jacques Doucet on many topics, including his experience as a broadcaster and the history of the Montreal Expos. The following interview includes his experience as a broadcaster, his preparation, his time as the official scorer at Jarry Park, Montreal baseball fans, John McHale, the two perfect games and the San Francisco earthquake he covered, the Expos' demise, the negative media coverage by the French press, his dream team, the Blue Jays and much, much more. - Dave Rouleau

(Select Read More to see the Jacques Doucet interview) 

Dave Rouleau for the Business of Sports Network: Can you describe your first experience as the play-by-play man for the Montreal Expos games in 1969?

Jean-Paul SaraultJacques Doucet: It happened out of nowhere, when the Expos were looking for someone to replace Jean-Pierre Roy, once a week, and work with Jean-Paul Sarault at CKLM. With my work at La Presse, which was published in the afternoon at that time not restraining my ability to do both, my boss gave me the permission.

At first, I was not used to a game description, so Jean-Paul would do the entire game and I would comment on the happenings of the game. After five or six games, I got my introduction as a play-by-play man when Sarault, out of nowhere and without a warning, announced at the beginning of the fourth inning: “And now, for the description of the next three innings, here’s Jacques Doucet.” This part-time job lasted until the 1972 season, when the club wanted to have a play-by-play announcer dedicated to baseball only (Sarault also worked at the Montreal Matin), but Sarault chose the newspaper assignment. I was then offered the job, but I asked for a short two-year contract to see whether the experience would be satisfying for me and the fans listening to the games.

Bizball: Would you tell me the difference between working for an independent radio station and working for the club itself?

Doucet: From the start, I had asked the Expos President of the time, John McHale, carte blanche and that if I was to stumble while doing this job, it would be with my own ideas and not anybody else’s. McHale had agreed to that proposition.

Bizball: Did you enjoy your time as the official scorer for the home games of the Montreal Expos at the Jarry Park?

Doucet quoteDoucet: Yes, because it gave me a chance to learn the rules correctly. I received a piece of advice from a former Chicago Tribune reporter, James Enright: "Be sure that the first hit of the game really is one." The thinking behind that was that if, for example, a fielder made an error at shortstop, you could always change your ruling later in the game and give a hit if you thought the runner was really fast. But if you give a hit and then change it midway through the game for an error and it had been the only hit, the pitcher would then have a no-hitter and your credibility would then be seriously questioned.

There are also occasions where some people complain about the decisions of the official scorer and the phone rings in the scorer’s booth. These people sometimes are the managers or players themselves or even the PR people for a certain team, coming after a game to see if the scoring could be altered in their favor.

Bizball: Was there a time when pressure made you change your ruling?

Doucet: Well, there are instances where the plays can be confusing. For example, let’s say a guy is trying to steal second, the catcher makes a perfect throw at second base, but nobody’s there to catch the ball. Who should be given the error? The catcher? With experience, I learned to make a judgment based on who was the plate -- righty or lefty to guess who should be covering the base -- and wait until the end of the game and then ask the manager who should have been at the bag.

Jose "Coco" LaboyAnother incident was in 1969 with Jose "Coco" Laboy, who even at 29 was making a run for the Rookie of the Year title.  Al Ferrara was patrolling left field that day and after a hard hit ball by Laboy, Ferrara had taken two steps forward, but the ball went over his head and I had scored E7.  After the game, I was in the manager’s office and Gene Mauch said to me, “C’mon, the ball was hit hard and Ferrera is no Willie Mays.” He was clearly trying to convince me to give the player a double and help him in the Rookie of the Year race, but I said to him, “He might not be Willie Mays, but he is in the major leagues and he should have caught that ball!”

Bizball: Can you tell me about Jarry Park and the Olympic Stadium, how they were as baseball stadium?

Doucet: As a commentator and broadcaster, it was an ideal setting to see everything on the field of play, almost right behind the catcher. The shortcomings of that ballpark were obviously the cold weather in Spring and in the beginning of Fall, the number of seats available -- with almost 7,000 as bleachers on a total of 20,000 places available -- and the angle along the baseline, with no curb between the plate and right field, giving the spectators a hard time when seated near the outfield fences.

When you compare the place to the Olympic Stadium, you were far from the action as an analysts and spectator, but the broadcasting studios were modern, the clubhouses were bigger and more accommodating.

Bizball: Do you feel as if the Olympic Stadium was as good a ballpark as any in the majors when filled with people and not the small crowds that became a usual occurrence in the latter days of the franchise?

Doucet: I would go as far as to say that even when there were only 20,000 fans in the ballpark, it was a far noisier and fun place than some other stadiums in the league, with the crowd really getting into it, despite some Americans describing the Montreal fanatics as not knowledgeable about the game.  I disagree totally with those assertions.

Doucet interview - Dennis MartinezBizball: Describe to me both perfect games you attended.

Doucet: Obviously, the one in Los Angeles had a special meaning because Dennis Martinez was a member of the Expos. The other one, by David Cone, had a special flavor to it, as it was done in The House that Ruth Buit, but as an Expos fan and employee, it was against us, but it was a privilege to assists to both historical events.  They say perfection is not a part of this world, but I had the chance of witnessing it twice.

Bizball: Did you feel any pressure to refrain from talking about a potential no-hitter or perfect game, in order to, as they say, not ‘jinx it’?

Doucet: It reminds me of the first no-hitter I broadcasted -- the second of Bill Stoneman’s career -- and at that time, I worked with Jean-Piere Roy, who was as superstitious as an old pitcher could be.  He would never mention the fact that a no-hitter was in progress, even after six or seven innings, and it was bothering me a lot.  When Claude Raymond (former Expos pitcher) came to work with me later, we began to talk of that game and he told me that, at that time, he was driving toward Drummondville for a conference and when he arrived at destination -- it was the first game of a doubleheader -- the game had reached the seventh inning and working with Roy, I had not mentioned the special event that was happening on the field.

When Raymond came back in his car after the conference, we were at the beginning of the second game and the pitcher at the time had retired the first seven batters to go up against him, so I said on the air: “Well, are we going to witness a second no-hitter in the same night?!”.  Raymond was furious, because as a listener, he was not aware at the time of what was happening.  So, when we began working together, I checked with him if it was ok if I mentioned a special event while it was in progress and he said ‘sure’, making it much easier for me.

It’s easier for a broadcaster to keep his listener if they know something special is taking place, especially if the score is 12-0.

Bizball: In 1989, you were in San Francisco when an earthquake caused significant damages to the city. Describe your experience for us.

'89 San Francisco EarthquakeDoucet: It was a traumatizing experience for me. We were just about to go on the air after 5PM, in the stadium, and after it happened, one of the two phone lines available to us was still working, so we were able to warn the radio station in Montreal (CKAC) of what had just happened.

We stayed there for over an hour, to give the time for everyone to quit the ballpark and we went directly to the hotel.  There, our phone lines were up and we (with co-host Roger Brulotte) each took turn describing our experience to the Montreal listeners. With my recently purchased Walkman, I was also able to listen to reports from San Francisco station and relay the developments (crumbled highways, neighborhoods on fire, etc.) directly to the station in Montreal for the entire night.

The radio managers asked us if we wanted to get out of town and we said ‘as soon as humanly possible’.  While there were no flight going out at that time, because of the earthquake, we were able to take a taxi ride to Sacramento ($250) and make the flight out of California.

A short while after the events, I was in an arena to assist a hockey game in Marieville and we had arrived early.  Shortly after the preceding game that had just finished, I went to the cafeteria and while I was ordering my coffee, the Zamboni started to do its job on the ice, but it caused a vibration in the counter and I had to grab it by both hands, thinking it was another earthquake. The girl asked if I was ok after my strange reaction and she had to explain that it was the Zamboni on the ice causing the shaking. That’s how much it affected me in the short term.

Bizball: Could you describe the preparation needed before a game, a typical day for you at the ballpark?

Doucet: My work always began when I woke up, with the newspapers. Before the laptops, everything was done by hands (notes and research), but the information was also hard to get and most of the times restricted to the town in which the team was playing.  I bought every magazine I could get my hands on, in order to build a good database on all players.  Most people like strategies and stats, but for other listeners, you have to keep their attention with varied information.

I was never that much impressed or interested by all the stats available, I focused on the ones that had a direct relation to the play at hand, on top of the traditional numbers given in every broadcast, like the batting average, home runs, strikeouts, walks, etc.

Doucet quote about being boredWhen my pre-game show was prepared, I would go down to the clubhouse and my routine -- something that was established with Claude Raymond when we worked together -- would be to visit the manager and executive and I would let my partner do the work with the players. It made no sense to visit the guys twice to hear the same answer. It was boring for them and unpractical for us.

We would then enter the studio to record our pre-game segment and share the information we had just obtained from players, managers and others.

Bizball: Did you have a favorite broadcaster growing up or someone who’s been a strong influence?

Doucet: Well, Rene Lecavalier was my model.  Earlier in my career, I was doing research for a weekly Expos broadcast on Radio-Canada, where Lecavalier handled the play-by-play duties, along with another man.  One day, the co-host was sick and couldn’t do the job, so the producer was frenetically looking for a replacement and Lecavalier calmly said, “don’t worry, we have Doucet right here.”  So the producer asked me if I wanted to have the job for that day and I certainly accepted!  I would have even paid for the opportunity!

Bizball: Let’s talk about the Expos’ history.  What would be your dream team if you had to choose among all former Expos players?

Doucet: I could definitely give you one, because if you didn’t already know, I’m currently writing a book with the help of Marc Robitaille.  We are both members of SABR and  Encore Baseball Montreal, so we are familiar with each other.  For this project, he also asked me my dream team, so here it is:

  • C: Gary Carter
  • 1B: Andres Gallaraga
  • 2B: Jose Vidro
  • 3B: Tim Wallach
  • SS: Orlando Cabrera
  • OF: Vladimir Guerrero, Tim Raines, Andre Dawson
  • Bench: Darrin Fletcher, Tony Perez, Ron Hunt, Chris Speier, Larry Walker, Marquis Grissom, Ellis Valentine
  • Pitchers: Steve Rogers, Dennis Martinez, Pedro Martinez, Bill Gullickson, Scott Sanderson, Bill Lee, Ross Grimsley, Jeff Reardon, John Wetteland
  • Manager: Dick Williams, Gene Mauch, Felipe Alou, Perry Hill
  • Pitching coach: Jim Brewer
  • Hitting coach: Duke Snyder
  • Bullpen coach: Pierre Arsenault

John McHaleBizball: John McHale passed away recently. How was he as a man and baseball executive?

Doucet: The Montreal franchise was blessed when he accepted to come here as President of the club.  By coming here, he was instantly giving the team the credibility it sorely needed. Maybe a local guy could have done the job, but he was perfect at the time.

That’s really something I regret the Expos didn’t do more during their stay in the city; giving important jobs to Quebeckers or Canadians in the organization. That’s something the Blue Jays have done (and are still doing), but that the Expos didn’t put the emphasis on. Why not propose jobs to players who were retiring, like Claude Raymond.  I was happy they didn’t ask him because he was my partner in the booth (laughs), but you get the idea.  Guys like Denis Boucher, Marc Griffin, Rene Marchand…they all could have contributed to the team as coach or personnel for the franchise.

I remember when Alou supervised his first training as an instructor, just before I went to his home in West Palm Beach to write an article for the Expos magazine and he said to me, “Before you open your voice recorder, can I ask you a question? What am I doing here? Since 1969, the Expos have not trained or promoted a single manager from Quebec and Canada?”

Bizball: It’s funny you mention that, because in a book you wrote alongside Claude Raymond, called ‘Les Secrets du Baseball’ (Baseball’s Secrets), it was mentioned that the manager has an important role to play with the media and front office people. How were the relations between the Anglophone managers and the front office, which was led by Claude Brochu at one point, and the media?

Doucet on BrochuBizball: I think Brochu had the good instinct of not putting his nose in the baseball operations department. McHale was involved in that side of the team because he was previously a player and general manager before coming to Montreal.

But if you go back to the issue of putting local people in the organization, you could, for example, have sent Claude Raymond as a manager at the A-level in the minor leagues and then the local players we were recruiting would have had a French manager talking to them, putting them much more at ease.

When Rene Marchand retired, they gave him a job as a scout, but failed to give him the proper tools and money to be even remotely effective. He became frustrated and quit the organization.

Bizball: Are you a Blue Jays fans now that Montreal has lost its team?

Doucet: Yes, absolutely, because that’s a Canadian team. I went to a SABR convention in Toronto three years ago and they asked me to be the host of the ceremony where they were giving out some prizes. I had to present Blue Jays President Paul Godfrey and I warned the crowd and Mr. Godfrey to be careful and really take care of the team they already had and not make the same mistakes Montreal had done.

Bizball: And they are going strong now…

Doucet quote on ExposDoucet: Well, when Rogers bought the team, they had the good sense of putting money in the team.

That’s the sad part about the Expos; when the team was threatened to be moved to another city, not a single company or investor stepped up to the plate. When Charles Bronfman first decided to invest in the team in the beginning, it was against his father’s will, but he was doing it as a civic duty and clearly said that it would be good for the city, the province and the country.

Bizball: While we are on the subject, I’d like to read to you what former owner and President of the club, Claude Brochu, said about the difficulties of keeping the team in Montreal.

“The discussions with different levels of government, the negotiations for the TV/radio broadcasting deals, the revenue-sharing idea with MLB, the negative attitude by the local media, the lukewarm involvement by the business community and the weakness of the Canadian dollar, all ganged up against the very existence of this franchise."

What do you say to this analysis?

Doucet: He’s absolutely right!

Bizball: Could you tell me how you feel about the negative coverage by the Montreal media?

Doucet: In 2000, when Selig announced the possible contraction of the Minnesota Twins and Montreal Expos, the media completely surrendered, while everybody was up in arms in Minnesota. From that day forward, the newspapers in our city, except The Gazette (only English daily in city), diminished their coverage; they didn’t cover all of Spring Training and didn’t go to every games on the road. They should have done the complete opposite.

On the radio, there was a time when I almost went to my knees in front of Claude Brochu in order to get back into the organization, because after CKAC and CJMS merged, there was no more rivalry between the two stations. That was a time when the new station began to cut into baseball time, so they eliminated the World Series coverage, the All-Star coverage. Then they cut ten road games, then sixty!

I said, on the air, what kind of a message is this when the number one radio station in its market decides to cut 60 ball games from its schedule. I was reprimanded for that, but I maintained my position nonetheless.

Bizball: What was your reaction when they decided to eliminate the English broadcasts of the Expos in 2000?

Doucet: That was a decision by Jeffrey Loria and [David] Samson (Read The Biz of Baseball interview with David Samson). When they got here, they arrived with their way of doing things.

Think about it... If I’m going to work in another town or country, I’ll try and create bonds with people around me, instead of imposing my will on people. Well, that’s exactly the mistake they made, intentional or not.

Doucet quote on Loria and SamsonI talked with the president of a TV network in Quebec and he told me about the first meeting the media had with Loria and Samson. When they got into the meeting, there was a document on the table that was basically, "Here’s what we are expecting from you." The guy put it back down on the table, went up to Loria and said, "It was nice meeting you sir.” He then quickly adjourned the meeting.

The first contract signed with CKAC for the French radio broadcast was signed at 4pm on Opening Day. I did not even know I was going to work that day and the owner did not even take the time to call me. I learned that I was working on the way to the stadium that day, on the airwaves.

That said, I have a tremendous amount of respect for The Gazette and the Canadian Press for covering the team during its entire existence, but I am disappointed in La Presse, Le Journal de Montreal and the others for diminishing their involvement with the team.

Bizball: What was the impact of the 1981 and 1994 strikes on the team and the fans?

Doucet: In 1981, there was people buying single-game and season tickets week after week, the luxury suites were a hot commodity and there were new advertisers on radio and TV, although we didn’t get to the World Series. It was a good time for the franchise.

In 1994, the momentum and atmosphere were incredible, but not only did they go on strike, but the World Series was cancelled. I’m pretty sure the strikes didn’t do that much damage, although after talking with Brochu in 1994, he told me that the possible revenue they could have made during the remaining games of the season and playoffs was around $US 20 M. Instead, they had to take a $US 20 M loan.

Bizball:  But why would they do a fire sale after ’94 when star players like Larry Walker admitted that they would have been prepared to take sign to a hometown discount in order to stay with the team?

Doucet: We’ll never know. Was it the investors who refused to give the money to Brochu and keep the players or did Brochu choose not to ask in the first place and then watched the players being traded and signed elsewhere? We’ll never know.

Bizball: What was your reaction in 2003 when MLB decided not to pay the replacement players from the minor leagues in order to help the team make the playoffs?

Doucet: Disgust. It was proof of a conflict of interest on the part of Major League Baseball.

Bizball: How would you qualify the years under MLB ownership?

Doucet: We basically got to enjoy the team three more years, always hoping that an investor would finally decide to buy the team and keep it in the city, but nothing happened.

I find it absurd that Loria chose to sell the team for $120 million to MLB, that we could have bought the club for $100 million a year later, but was finally sold to Washington, DC ownership group for $350 million.

Bizball: Do you agree with baseball owners who recently extended Bud Selig’s contract?

Doucet quote on SeligDoucet: I’m not a big fan of his, but I am forced to admit that he did some good things, like the Wild Card, and revenue-sharing. But even that comes from Brochu!

I don’t like the fact that he didn’t keep the team in Montreal and that he closed his eyes on the steroids problem.

Bizball: When the team was forced to play ‘home’ games in Puerto Rico, was it a tiring experience for you and the team?

Doucet: It was no fun at all. During the last season, in 2004, we made a trip from Puerto Rico to Seattle! The installations over there were subpar, but we had to live with it. It’s funny to think that now there are again talks of the Marlins playing games over there, and look who’s the owner of the team.

Bizball: How were players reacting to the problems outside the lines? Did they like playing in the Montreal?

Doucet: Yes, for the most part they liked the city and playing here, but let’s face it: the important thing for them was to have a contract and playing every season. When there was a threat of contraction, that’s when they wanted to get out, because contraction means the club doesn’t exist anymore and you lose your job.

Bizball: Finally, can you describe your last game for the Expos at Shea Stadium?

Doucet: I was very sad, of course. But most of all, it was disheartening to see that Frank Robinson had not put the best players in the starting lineup.

The first three innings went quick, the middle third was becoming a bit harder, but the last three innings were really tough for me. It was a last and unequivocal goodbye to the team. I did not even go to the clubhouse afterwards, I had to turn the page and that was the best way for me to do so.


Interview conducted, translated, and transcribed by Dave Rouleau

Edited by Devon Teeple and Maury Brown

 
 
Banner

Poll

Should MLB Force Jeffery Loria to Sell the Marlins?