Wilson, Nathan emerging stars

Originally Published: June 28, 2004
By Jerry Crasnick | ESPN Insider
Brace for an onslaught of whining in the next two weeks when Major League Baseball announces its All-Star rosters and some deserving player is slighted because all 30 teams must have a representative. You're sure to hear the question, "Do the Montreal Expos really need to have a player in the All-Star Game?''

The question conveniently ignores the fact that the Expos do have a player who belongs. His name is Vladimir Guerrero. Montreal management signed him out of the Dominican Republic when he was 17, spent four years cultivating him on the farm and watched him develop into a superstar before baseball's law of inevitability applied: Last winter Guerrero filed for free agency. The Expos couldn't afford him, and he signed a five-year, $70 million contract with the Anaheim Angels.

As gratifying as it must be for Montreal fans to see Vlad leading American League outfielders in the All-Star balloting, I'm all for tossing them a crumb. Expos fans have watched player after talented player leave town and seen the franchise's credibility destroyed by a long-running sequence of economically-driven events. Now they root for a team that plays 22 games a year in Puerto Rico, can't spring for $200,000 worth of callups in September, and will be playing Lord-knows-where in 2005.

Jerry Crasnick

ESPN Senior Writer