Expos Without a Home for Rest of Season
Olympic Stadium was ordered closed for the rest of the baseball season Friday, forcing the Montreal Expos to move their final nine home games.
A 55-ton concrete beam fell from the side of the stadium Sept. 13, and four games this week were shifted to New York and Philadelphia. The Expos have rescheduled this weekend’s series against the Chicago Cubs for Wrigley Field and will move six other home games to Pittsburgh and St. Louis.
Expo players arrived from Philadelphia at 5 a.m. and learned early in the afternoon that they had to pack their bags again.
The beam fell because of improper welding, according to Andre Vallerand, Quebec minister responsible to the Olympic Installations Board. Workers are reinforcing the other 33 beams with steel cables.
“In a couple of weeks we should feel comfortable returning to the stadium,” Vallerand said. “We’re not talking a couple of years.”
Olympic Stadium has cost Montreal taxpayers almost $1.5 billion since it was built for the 1976 Summer Olympics. The debt, partly funded by a cigarette tax, was to be paid off by 1995. In addition, it will cost $2 million to fix the stadium’s retractable roof, which has been inoperative since a June storm ripped a 110-yard hole in the Kevlar fabric.