MLB Roadshow concludes tour in Canada

International event offers variety of games, skills challenges for kids

Major League Baseball International wrapped up its three-city Canadian tour with a weekend stop in Pointe-Claire, Quebec, a western suburb of Montreal. After recent stops in Vancouver, British Columbia (June 28-29), and Winnipeg, Manitoba (July 5-6), the MLB Roadshow's entertaining and festive brand of baseball games was well received.

In conjunction with Baseball Quebec, the province's largest youth baseball organization, young Montreal baseball fans showed up in strong numbers to partake in a variety of baseball stations and skill challenges.

"Despite a short lead time to promote the event, we had upwards of 1,500 baseball fans attend the MLB Roadshow on Saturday, the best one-day showing on our Canadian tour," said Peter Aiello, a business development specialist for Major League Baseball International.

On hand to inspire the local youth on Saturday were former Major League pitchers and Montreal natives Denis Boucher and Derek Aucoin. Boucher pitched four years (1991-94) in the big leagues with the Blue Jays, Indians and Expos, and he is now Baseball Canada's pitching coach. A baseball instructor and MLB television analyst on a French network, Aucoin pitched in '96 for the Expos.

Among the baseball challenges, fans tried their luck in a pitching cage with a radar gun, a batting cage to get some swings in and a sliding interactive challenge.

The weather didn't cooperate on Sunday, as heavy rain created havoc with the event.

"Even with the bad weather, we're very impressed with the showing on Sunday as well," Aiello said. "It demonstrates the passion for baseball in this city. It's a big positive to see so many people here in Montreal Expos apparel."

The MLB Roadshow also featured a New Era Photo Booth, where fans took pictures with various MLB hats, a crowd-pleasing DJ booth and a video game tent. Animators gave away baseball cards and other items to all participating kids. 

The MLB Roadshow visit to Montreal comes after two preseason baseball games that the city hosted on March 28-29. Over 96,000 fans attended the exhibition games between the Blue Jays and the Mets at Olympic Stadium.

The Expos moved to Washington, D.C., following the 2004 season.

Notes: Over 150 Montreal baseball fans attended the Marlins-Mets game on Saturday at Citi Field in New York. Sitting in section 506 and organized by fan group ExposNation, the goal of the boisterous showing was to demonstrate support for Major League Baseball in Montreal

• Earlier this year, the MLB Roadshow was in Sydney, Australia.

Matthew Ross is a contributor to This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.