Last night Danielle and I went to the home opener for the old Montreal Expos/new Washington Nationals at RFK Stadium. I have some random thoughts and observations about the game, which I don’t want to put in to any form of essay. There really is no overriding theme, at least when I start this, so a list with clarification will have to suffice. Lists are the new prose, you know. Just ask Entertainment Weekly. Without further mumblings, here goes:
- President Bush threw out the first pitch. — I wish I’d known this would happen days before the event so that I could’ve brought my camera. As it was, I had only my shitty little camera phone. Here is President Bush tossing the first ball. I did enjoy this moment because it was a ball and not a strike. Nationals catcher Brian Schneider had to leap out of his crouch to catch the throw. I was hoping for an errant throw to thump a small child on the leg or something, just for the curiosity of the sight. The whole “Hit the bull” aspect. Alas, it wasn’t meant to be. And I say this knowing that if I’d thrown out the first pitch, it would’ve hit the backstop.
Also, despite what some may believe, I didn’t boo. I can get swept up in the “He’s the President of the United States!” hysteria with the best of them. I’m a sucker for the History Channel and all things historical. Besides, I’ve never seen a POTUS in person, so it was cool.
But. Why, for the love of God, do I have to stand in a herd of people just to watch him walk from the dugout to the mound and back? For the privilege of being poked and prodded and having my belongings searched, President Bush should’ve done something more, like twist the cap off of my $4 bottle of water for me. That’s not too much to ask.
- President Bush didn’t leave until the fifth inning. — Yes, we left the game early. Let’s me be honest with you. I don’t care about the Nationals or the Arizona Diamondbacks. I love baseball, but I just don’t care about this game in April. I want Arizona to win because the Nationals are in first place in the N.L. East. On April 14th, that’s just not that big of a deal. It really isn’t. So we left. But why, oh why, should I be
prevented from leavingimprisoned in the upper deck because the president’s motorcade isn’t far enough away from the stadium? There is no legitimate reason why we should be blocked. None. He’s the president, yes, but I have the same right to leave the stadium when I want as he does. Either figure out how to do security right or don’t bring the president to the game; it’s that simple.
- I’m going to hate Nationals’ “fans” as much as I hate Orioles’ fans. — My brother and I developed a simple theory. We believe Nationals’s fans will be bad fans because they’ve been trained to be baseball fans by the city of Baltimore. Anyone who’s ever been to an Orioles game knows that Baltimore fans are bad fans. They have a very firm belief that Baltimore is the center of the universe. They believe that Cal (pronounced Cayal) Ripken is their king. Worst of all, they don’t understand the sacred nature of the “Star-Spangled Banner”. When “Oh say can you see” comes, they shout “O!” at the beginning. In honor of the O’s (pronounced Oehs). They have no shame. None.
Having been to enough Redskins games where this undignified practice is also practiced, I’ve come to expect it here. (It does make me appreciate seeing games in other stadiums around the country because they do not do this nonsense. But I brace for it, anyway.) But last night was the Nationals at RFK Stadium. Folks, you begged for your own team. Major League Baseball finally granted the request. Be thankful, please. Root for the Nationals or drive to Baltimore. Duh. I mean, really, just duh. And Peter Angelos was worried…
- Knowing to stock up on food before Opening Day is hard. — Let’s see, it’s opening day for the Nationals in a city that hasn’t seen baseball in 33 years. People are probably coming to the game. Is it that complicated to prepare enough food? The concession stand my brother and I went to ran out of hot dogs (for him, not me). The next concession stand he went to ran out of hot dogs and pretzels. Another concession stand ran out of hot dogs, french fries, and change. This isn’t that surprising with 45,000 fans, I guess, but all of this occurred BEFORE THE GAME STARTED. But the beer flowed freely. And I might have broken a tooth on the pretzel I bought.
- Outfield grass is hard to keep alive. — I know this because a large patch of left field is yellow. On Opening Day. In a Major League stadium. Do I need to explain further?
- Power washers aren’t available in D.C. — Danielle put her hand on the seat next to her. A few moments later, she put her hands on her white pants. There was a blank hand print. On Opening Day. In a Major League stadium. Do I need to explain further?
- Every fly ball is a home run. — I know this because every Nationals fan cheered wildly for every lazy pop fly to the Arizona’s second baseman.
- Establishing a television deal a few days before the season is not smart. — Did you know that when the home team is leading in the top of the ninth, with 2 outs and 1 strike on the visiting team’s batter, did you know that strike 2 ends the game? Neither did I, but the scoreboard operator says so. And so does Mel Procter, the Nationals’ television play-by-play guy. I’m just saying.
I know that this is all the Orioles’ fault somehow because they did such a poor job training the local fans. On Opening Day, though, it’s hard to go wrong. Nothing can ruin this:
All that, and Danielle and I received crazy cool medallions.