HomeEntertainmentLate actor Donald Sutherland was a quiet superfan of Montreal Expos

Late actor Donald Sutherland was a quiet superfan of Montreal Expos

Well earlier than the superstar superfan grew to become a development within the sports activities world, Donald Sutherland was in on the bottom ground with an off-the-cuff type all his personal.

The Canadian actor — who died Thursday at age 88 — was a giant supporter of the Montreal Expos throughout their time within the National League.

“We knew he was a superfan, he was always seated on the third-base side of Olympic Stadium, just about 10 rows from the field,” stated longtime sports activities author and former Expos PR chief Richard Griffin.

“He made his movie schedule and he made his summer schedule around the Expos’ schedule.”

Born in Saint John, New Brunswick, Sutherland grew up in Nova Scotia and studied on the University of Toronto. He later attended the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art to check performing.

Sutherland grew to become a revered character actor and went on to look in dozens of movies, together with “Ordinary People,” “Animal House” and “The Hunger Games.”

The Expos, in the meantime, arrived in 1969 as a Major League Baseball growth franchise. Sutherland, who had a house in Quebec’s Eastern Townships, gravitated to the group “immediately,” Griffin stated.

“He had attained stardom by that time and (coupled) with his love of the game, it gave him the opportunity to be a low-key (supporter),” he stated.

The actor had a yacht on the West Coast and would usually take within the Expos’ California street swings by way of Los Angeles, San Diego and San Francisco, Griffin stated.

“He wanted to be behind the scenes,” Griffin stated. “He didn’t want to be the story, he wanted to watch the story unfold.”

Serge Touchette coated the Expos for practically 30 years for Le Journal de Montreal however by no means bought the prospect to speak to Sutherland.

“He didn’t want to be interviewed back then,” Touchette stated by way of textual content message. “We tried many times but we struck out. Too bad because it would have been a great story.”

A excessive level for the Expos got here in October 1981 when the group lastly certified for the postseason. Sutherland was there as Montreal edged the New York Mets 5-4 to safe a playoff berth after a strike-interrupted season.

“I think our travelling secretary had to drag Donald at Shea Stadium into the clubhouse,” Griffin recalled. “He didn’t want to be a part of the picture. So when people think about celebrity fans, they think about people trying to be a part of it. He never did.”

NBC cameras captured Sutherland within the crowd as Montreal performed the Philadelphia Phillies on the community’s Game of the Week in May 1983.

“This is one of the biggest of all Expos fans: Donald Sutherland,” commentator Bob Costas stated on the published. “This is not the kind of celebrity who shows up at a World Series game and makes sure he gets a seat by the TV camera. This is a legitimate fan.”

For the membership’s twentieth anniversary in 1989, Sutherland — sporting a trendy coat and fedora for his standups exterior Olympic Stadium — narrated a script that Griffin wrote for a spotlight movie challenge.

The actor oozed charisma as his deep pipes and clean supply supplied heat to the bundle.

“All he wanted (for it) was his same tickets — two tickets in the same spot — and we gave them to him for like four seasons. And that was it,” Griffin recalled. “Can you imagine, Donald Sutherland, the type of star power that he has, and he does a two-hour (narration) for two season tickets for four years? That’s crazy. But that was Donald.”

The Expos moved to Washington in 2005 and have been renamed the Nationals. Sutherland additionally stored a watch on the Toronto Blue Jays, now the one Canadian group left in MLB.

In an interview final October to debate a postage stamp that commemorated his profession, he segued into speak concerning the Blue Jays’ elimination within the first spherical of the playoffs.

“Of course, my team is the Expos,” Sutherland stated. “They’re gone.”

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