Lo, There Shall Come Awesomeness
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.