The Nationals, a One-team Diaspora from Canada, Are Finally Making Good


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The Houston Astros, having cruelly slain the Yankees, face the Washington Nationals in Game 1 of the World Series tonight. The Astros rep the most diverse metro area in the country with the fastest-growing foreign-born population. That's nice and everything. But technically (and if we take some poetic license), the Nationals are a team that is an immigrant in full.

It has to do with their birth in 1969 as the Expos of Montreal, their wrenching cross-border flight in 2005 after more than three decades in Canada, followed by their renaming and assimilation into D.C. baseball's tradition of futility, and then finally, their hard-earned place on the cusp of a pro sports championship, one of the undisputed pinnacles of American success.

If you could find a Montrealer who has erased every trace of bitterness from the Expos' stunning decampment — and there's no guarantee that even one such Montrealer exists — here's what you might catch them whispering Francophonically before tonight's first pitch is thrown in Houston, a city hard by America's southern border and far from the Nationals' homeland of Quebec: Allez les Nats.

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