They were warned baseball doesn't fly in Quebec. Now the Capitales are celebrating 25 years

The Quebec Capitales are celebrating their anniversary. Players and fans say baseball has bounced back in the province.

Quebec City team has become a point of pride for the province, says manager

A baseball player swings a bat on a field
The Quebec Capitales won their first home game this season against the Sussex County Miners five to three. Anthony Quirion made his Quebec City debut with the team he once cheered on. (Rachel Watts/CBC)

Anthony Quirion was just a teen when he first set foot on the diamond of Quebec City's Canac Stadium. Fifteen years later, he's one of the latest additions to the team he grew up watching.

On Tuesday, he took to the field in the Quebec Capitales uniform for the team's first home game this season after they took home the Frontier League Champion title in 2023 and 2022.

"It's pretty special to be able to play in your backyard," said Quirion.

"Playing for them like all these years later, that's pretty cool ... I'm kind of feeling the butterflies."

As the Quebec baseball team celebrates 25 years this season, its players say baseball is continuing to evolve and grow in popularity in Quebec — inspiring kids, who are now joining the very Capitales they once cheered on.

A group of kids in baseball uniforms take a group photo on the field
Anthony Quirion, pictured centre, with his Coaticook baseball team. He visited the Canac Stadium when he was 13 years old. (Submitted by Anthony Quirion)

Capitales 'make baseball evolve,' says fan

Marc-Antoine Lebreux would sit in the yellow stands at the stadium as a kid and dream about one day playing for the Capitales.

In 2022, the 25-year-old Quebecer joined the team.

A man smiles at the camera wth stands behind him
Marc-Antoine Lebreux says it's an honour to play another year with a team he admired as a kid. (Rachel Watts/CBC)

"It's an honour," said Lebreux, standing on the field hours before fans entered.

"It was a goal for me to play professional baseball and playing for the Caps is just … a cherry on the sundae."

He says Quebec has a unique fan base.

"[It's] just electric. Every time we play here it's packed," said Lebreux.

A picture of a crowd seaated in a stadium
The stands were full in Quebec City for the fist home game of the season on Tuesday. (Rachel Watts/CBC)

Claude Gaudreau has been a fan since day one, and Lebreux is his new favourite player.

Gaudreau became a season ticket holder when he retired in 2004, witnessing the recent rise of the team in the Frontier League when they snagged two consecutive wins.

A man smiles at the camera. He is sitting in a stadium.
Claude Gaudreau has had season tickets since 2004. (Rachel Watts/CBC)

"They're the ones who make baseball evolve in Quebec. It's the main baseball city in the province," said Gaudreau.

He even met a long-time friend at the game. "We've been together ever since," he said.

For the past two years, Montrealers Isabelle Cyr and André Lauzon have driven back and forth to Quebec City to catch the Capitales play.

"We've made like three or four round trips in the same week," said Cyr.

"We really do love baseball and since we just don't have it in Montreal, we travel to Quebec City."

A mascot wearing a baseball jersey interacts with a man on the baseball field
Michel Laplante, the president of the Capitales, greeted the team's mascot at the first home game this season. (Rachel Watts/CBC)

Bouncing back after the Expos

A Montreal team is a dream for Capitales manager Patrick Scalabrini.

He hopes baseball can continue to grow and possibly even allow for a "great rivalry" to emerge in the coming decades between Montreal and Quebec City.

Today, he says the team continues to be a major source of pride in the province.

"We were warned years ago that professional baseball doesn't work here," said Scalabrini.

Over two decades later, he says every year the team gets a bit stronger and better. When he started his professional career on the team in 2001, he says it just wasn't the same.

Baseball players stand in a row at on a baseball field
Patrick Scalabrini says the popularity of baseball has grown throughout the province in the past couple decades. (Rachel Watts/CBC)

"The popularity of baseball was much lower back then after the Expos left. It was tough for the sport," said Scalabrini.

"It slowly got more popular again."

'I didn't expect baseball to bring me here'

Today, he says Americans who come onto the team "just can't believe how loud it is, how much fans are into baseball."

"All of a sudden there's a lot more kids playing or talking about baseball."

A baseball player runs onto the field
Frank Moscatiello was a star player in the 2023 season. Quebec City crowds cheered him on at the start of Tuesday's game. (Rachel Watts/CBC)

Frank Moscatiello says he's happy to be part of a "growing sport" in the province.

The player from New York was named best relief pitcher in 2023 and is one of the team's stars.

He recalled his first game in the province in 2018, when he played for the Rockland Boulders, now the New York Boulders.

A couple of kids wearing jerseys with "bat boy" on the back, line up on the field.
Several of the Capitales players have been long-time fans of the team. (Rachel Watts/CBC)

"It was crazy. You know, I've played in front of bigger crowds, but I haven't played in front of more active crowds. I'm definitely happy to be on the same side as the crowd," joked Moscatiello.

"I didn't expect baseball to bring me here, but I'm very happy that it did."


Rachel Watts

CBC journalist

Rachel Watts is a journalist with CBC News in Quebec City. Originally from Montreal, she enjoys covering stories in the province of Quebec. You can reach her at