From Vermont to Montreal to D.C.

Monday, October 21st

SOUTH BURLINGTON, Vt. -- "These are all tickets...1988...some tickets from way back."

Sports fandom can be decided by many different things: some people choose to root for a favorite player's team, others have fandom passed down along generational lines, and the majority pick their allegiances based on geography.

"Well we used to go to a lot of games when they were here. It started back when we were dating, and it continued on through.", says Phil Soltau.

The Soltaus began their love affair with the Expos back in 1981 when Phil took Sue on a date up to the "Big O" to see Andre Dawson, Tim Raines, Gary Carter and the team that would eventually bring Montreal its first, and only taste of October baseball.

"In fact, I remember watching the playoff games, some of them using the rooftop antenna in black and white.", says Sue. "Trying to pick them up from Canadian television.", adds Phil. "You got the French broadcast, that's the only one that came in relatively clearly." says Sue.

The couple kept making the trip for more than 20 years, eventually imparting their fandom on their daughters. They became such regulars at Olympic Stadium that on their way home, border patrol would ask them for the score. "It was easy to do. It was 2 hours up, 2 hours back. You could do it in one day without a big commitment.", says Sue.

"We have photographs of picture days down on the field with players and things like that...and it was just a part of our lives." says Phil.

But what happens when your favorite team moves away? That was just the choice Phil and Sue Soltau were forced to make in the Fall of 2004, when their beloved Montreal Expos announced they were relocating to Washington, DC

"When you're a fan of a club, you're a fan. And the team moved away but that had a lot to do with money and politics and that sort of stuff that we didn't have a lot of control over. We loved the team and we decided to just go with it.", says Phil.

So over the last 15 years, Phil and Sue have made a habit of heading down to DC to cheer on the Nats. "We get down there now about 3 or 4 times a year for games.", says Phil. "We have seen the Nationals play in 22 parks, and we have reservations for next season to go and see them in Anaheim and in Seattle."

Last Tuesday, after being fans for almost 40 years, Phil and Sue Soltau were in the building to see the franchise accomplish something it never had before, sweeping St. Louis to win the National League Championship Series and advance to the World Series.

The Soltaus have their tickets in hand for Games 4 and 5 in Washington this weekend with the hope of picking up tickets for Friday's game 3 as well.

"I'm gonna be happy to be there and seeing a World Series, and seeing them play in a World Series, and I hope I'm gonna be watching them do some winning!", says Sue.

Phil joked that their daughters' inheritance was going to pay for those tickets, but for these diehard fans of 40 years, the memories will be worth every penny.