Sunday, August 5, 2007
Game #8: I pledge allegiance, to the frat.. No, wait, that's to the flag... No, wait, apparently it's to the Nats
Ah… RFK Stadium. Key word, “stadium”. Because it really is. Also, while it was the 2nd true stadium on the trip, after Shea, and while Shea has the same large-concrete-structure feel to it, Shea at least carries the impression of being a baseball park due to years of seeing the Mets play there. RFK, meanwhile, is a football stadium temporarily housing the Nationals, and feels it. That said, RFK did exceed my admittedly-low expectations.
RFK’s also the most recently added stadium in baseball. And, while I’ve gotten great tips from The Ultimate Baseball Road-Trip, by Josh Pahigian and Kevin O’Connell, their 3-year-old book included tips on seating, food, neighborhood bars and things to see in Montreal, but not at RFK.
In part as a result of this lack of guidance, my purchased seat was absolutely horrendous. Buying a Terrace seat at the back of the field level, I’d not anticipated the overhang of the upper deck. This completely cut off the view of any ball hit into the air, and created a constrained claustrophobic feel. I lasted there all of a half-inning, easy because the ushers throughout the park (except, ironically in my section), were very flexible about people moving around. And yes, that picture is real – that’s not a letterbox image
My second seat, on the outfield 3rd base line was far better, and in fact, provided quite a good vantage point on the game. And as the game went along, I warmed to the park. The single most notable, and rewarding, feature of RFK is this…. It shakes. The footsteps of a lone small boy walking down the aisle beside your section can be enough to create a bit of a tremor, and when the place got going, it really came alive with energy. This really illustrated to me how incredible this place must have been for football, since if 28 thousand generally mild-mannered DC baseball fans were able to create the sort of seismic activity that I experiences, the impact of 50 thousand plus rabid football fanatics would have been phenomenal. That would have been an experience
Meanwhile, the Nats move to new digs starting next year. Once I’ve caught up on the games, I’ll touch upon new park openings in one of these entries.
The Nationals, like all teams, do occasional bobblehead days, and do a mid-game faux race around the field. But, this being DC, the bobblehead day a few days after my visit was for… yep…. Thomas Jefferson, and the race featured Tom, George, Abe, and Teddy. Too funny.
Along the right field wall was the DC “Hall of Stars”. One comment only: With all the illustrious history of the Caps, how can Rod Langway be the only hockey player represented??
The Nats turned on the offense during the first couple of innings, getting to Red starter Bronson Arroyo early for 7 runs in the first two innings, and then held on through the rest of the game. For one night, at least, my home team mojo was back in force.
Finally, for the American Idol fan(s) out there, the 7th inning stretch rendition of “God Bless America” was sung by this guy, who apparently almost won a recent season of American Idol. He was sitting in the row right behind me, and was interviewed early in the game, much to my confusion, and was then mobbed for autographs when he returned at the end of the 7th.