Filing Cabinet of the Damned

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Lo, There Shall Come Awesomeness

Last night I went with a bunch of my crew to RFK Stadium. The Washington Nationals were playing the San Franscisco Giants.

RFK is a craphole. It's a relic of the ugly multi-purpose stadia of the sixties and seventies, and it stood nearly abandoned for a decade. Beyond its basic charmlessness, RFK is cursed with peeling paint on rafters and seats, a terrible sound system, and a grungy field. The Nationals' new stadium, a breathtaking white elephant that will soak the local taxpayers and entertain us with dozens of stories of corruption and cost overruns, is years away.

The Nationals, formerly the Montreal Expos, were the orphan of Major League Baseball for a few years. Just recently, they finally got an owner: Theodore Lerner, local real estate magnate. One of Lerner's first actions as new owner was to shore up RFK and get fans back in the place. A good plan.

Couple Lerner's fan-recouping efforts with the Nats/Giants game on the field, and last night I was treated to the following:

--A three-dollar seat. Upper deck, behind the left field foul pole, but not terrible for all that. Three dollars, yo. (RFK now has $3 and $5 sections. Righteous. That's cheaper than the area's minor league games.)

--The opportunity to heckle Barry Bonds in person. Every ball fan should do it at least once. It's good for the soul. However, it is not easy to do well. It's hard to work "human growth hormone" or "deca durabolin" into a rude chant. Yet we did. It felt good.

--A "Presidents' Race" between innings, where four guys dressed in period costumes topped with Mardi Gras-style giant foam heads "raced" down the first-base side of the stadium. (George Washington won, followed by Jefferson, Lincoln, and TR in a cluster. Last week, TR won by cheating--he used the bullpen car.) The Presidents' Race used to be a computer-graphic "game" on the jumbotron; now it's dudes in goofy giant heads cavorting on the field. That, ladies and gentlemen, is progress.

--Alfonso Soriano successfully stealing third base when, caught in a rundown, he was pegged in the back by the shortstop's errant throw. The ball hit Soriano dead between the shoulder blades. It bounced off of him and fell dead at his feet, a good distance from any infielder. He took the base without much trouble after that.

--The Nationals coming back to win in the bottom of the ninth. Hoo-hah!

How much aweseomeness was there? The ultra-cheap ticket, the Barry-mocking, the foam heads, the victory?

For this baseball fan, it was like looking out the window to find it raining little chocolate doughnuts.

Throw in that I'm a long-suffering Detroit Tigers fan enjoying their first (probably) winning season since 1993 and their first good season since 1987, and I'm in Baseball Heaven.

More teams need goofy novelty races and $3 tickets, dammit.


  • Nice. The Diamondbacks have two sections of $1 tickets that go on sale only an hour or two before the game. The ballpark is designed, though, to have lots of places to watch the game other than your seat. Sometimes I'll take my daughter, buy two dollar seats and then watch the first few innings from the playground area behind center field. She gets bored by the third inning and since I only paid two bucks to get in, I don't feel bad about leaving early... especially since the D'Backs blow most of their games late.

    By Blogger Jake, at 1:33 PM  

  • I saw Barry once, in Seattle six or so years ago (actually, it might have been in 2001, when he broke the record), and you're right - it's fun to heckle. He even hit a home run that night, but the Mariners won in extra innings. I can't remember how much the tickets cost, but holy crap is Safeco Field nice.

    By Blogger Greg, at 8:33 PM  

  • I...I...



    There are no three-dollar seats in Canada. There aren't even any five-dollar seats. Or eight-dollar seats. Anywhere. In the whole country. For any sport. On any field. There isn't anything like that for us. Even if someone's playing baseball in the bottom of an old abandoned mine, there ain't no three-dollar seat...

    And, no, it doesn't go to the welfare state! God, I wish it did! It's got nothing to do with any kind of socialism, I mean use your goddamn head, and you figure it out...!

    What the bejeesus is a three-dollar ticket to a...!

    Good God!

    Something's wrong. The figures don't add up.

    Do they?

    By Blogger plok, at 3:47 AM  

  • And I went off MLB in the year of the strike -- that's right, I went right off, because you know the Expos were gonna at least do the Wild Card that year...they may have won that year, damn it. Felipe Alou. The Big Cat. The whole stupid thing.

    But NOOOOOOOOOO. So I left baseball, almost as soon as I got into it.

    Wish I could leave hockey the same way.

    Or, y'know, the freakin' Olympics.

    By Blogger plok, at 3:51 AM  

  • The three-dollar seats are a rarity. The logic is probably that RFK is a 40,000 seat venue, and if you're only getting 27,000 per game, hey, may as well stuff another 3,000 in there for a few token bucks. Builds the fan base, which is vital to a newly-arrived franchise, and hey, it's not like the cheap seat folks don't buy concessions. It's a genius move. Long-term thinking! Amazing! The cheap section is filled with young families. Lerner knows to get them when they're young. Smart man. Very smart man.

    As a wee squirt, Les Expos were my favorite team. My first MLB experience was at the Stade Olympique in the early eighties. Tim Raines stole two bases in a row and Andre Dawson jacked one into the cheap seats. Damn, that was a fun team. Plus, they had Youppi. Man, I wish he'd come with the team. The Nationals' mascot is a doofus in an eagle costume who's called "Screech." We keep hoping they'll hire Screech from "Saved by the Bell" to take his place. No luck yet.

    By Blogger Harvey Jerkwater, at 8:13 AM  

  • They should hire Screech, since he's low on cash and is selling T-shirts on the Internet to save his house. He can use the bucks.

    By Blogger Greg, at 11:07 AM  

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