Raines receives hero's welcome as Jays draw Pirates in Montreal
Former Expos outfielder was elected into Hall of Fame in January
Tim Raines returned to Olympic Stadium as a hero.
The former Montreal Expos outfielder, who was named to the Baseball Hall of Fame in January, got a long, thunderous ovation when he was introduced in a pre-game tribute Friday night before a pre-season game between the Toronto Blue Jays and Pittsburgh Pirates.
A ROCK-star 📽tribute celebration for 2017 Baseball ⚾️HOF Inductee & <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Expos?src=hash">#Expos</a> legend, <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/TimRaines?src=hash">#TimRaines</a> at "Big O" In Montreal! 👏🏻 <a href="https://twitter.com/Montreal_Expos">@Montreal_Expos</a> <a href="https://t.co/cnWrhQIJf4">pic.twitter.com/cnWrhQIJf4</a>—@PamPetrakos
Raines was driven in from centre field on a golf cart, waving to Olympic Stadium fans, and was greeted in the infield by former Expos stars Steve Rogers, Warren Cromartie, Jeff Reardon, Bill Lee, David Palmer, Al Oliver and Dennis Martinez.
"I loved coming to the ballpark knowing there would be 30,000 or 40,000 people in the stands," Raines told the crowd. "You inspired me."
Jays play to draw
The Blue Jays and Pittsburgh Pirates played to a nine-inning 1-1 draw, with Darwin Barney scoring Toronto's only run after a third-inning triple at Olympic Stadium on Friday night.
The Pirates outhit the Blue Jays 9-5. The two teams meet again on Saturday afternoon.
It is a fourth straight year the Blue Jays have ended their pre-season with a pair of exhibition games at the Big O. They went 3-3 in previous two-game sets against the New York Mets, Cincinnati and Boston.
The announced crowd was down from the nearly 50,000 that turned up in previous years and they were somewhat less animated, except when Toronto catcher Russell Martin of Montreal batted. He went 0-for-3 with two strikouts.
What an ovation. <a href="https://twitter.com/russellmartin55">@russellmartin55</a> 👏👏<br><br>📹 <a href="https://t.co/Ugsb4fLCiH">https://t.co/Ugsb4fLCiH</a> <a href="https://t.co/upL4nEN7EH">pic.twitter.com/upL4nEN7EH</a>—@BlueJays
"I don't know if it's disappointing," said Martin. "You prefer to win the game, but tying is better than losing.
"It can only happen in spring training, but it's not the first time we've gone through it. It's a bit tougher when you're playing in front of a lot more fans but, at the end of the day, we're still getting ready for the season. The guys played with intensity and I hope the people enjoyed it. Maybe people won't go home happy because we didn't win but they won't go home sad because we lost."
Earlier Friday, Raines was given the keys to the city by mayor Denis Coderre.
The 57-year-old Raines had to wait until his 10th and final year of eligibility to be elected to the Hall of Fame.
The speedy Florida native nicknamed Rock spent his first 12 seasons in Montreal. He played 2,502 major league games, batting .294 with a .385 on base percentage and 808 stolen bases.
He is to be the third member of the defunct Expos, who moved to Washington in 2004, to enter the Hall after his former teammates Andre Dawson and Gary Carter.