When you get to the ballpark early for a mid-week late-season game between two teams that are both out of contention for any championships, and your tickets are high up in the nosebleed section, and the setting sun is glowering in your face, and the beer is too expensive, and the shave-ice isn't ready yet, and your comrades are stuck in rush-hour traffic ... well, being a fan can get a bit lonely.
But it can also be great fun. I still like amateur baseball better than minor league, and the minors better than the majors. But because "foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds" (Emerson), since the Washington Nationals took up residence in DC I've listened to scores (twenties!) of their games on the radio, watched all or part of at least a dozen on television, and attended four in person at charming RFK Stadium. Notes on those from the tattered ^z scorebook:
- Thursday, 9 June 2005 — Nats 4, Oakland Athletics 3 — A friend with season tickets invites me along, and in spite of summer heat and overwhelming noise from the crowd it's a neat experience. During our walk into the stadium a violent thunderstorm makes us take shelter under a bridge, but the clouds soon cease splitting and the game starts only 13 minutes behind schedule. Washington scores all of its runs in an exciting fourth inning when they bat around the line-up with three singles, two doubles, and a walk. I discover the dangers of blue-colored snow-cone flavoring, an exceptionally persistent dye.
- Monday, 18 July — Nats 4, Colorado Rockies 5 — A neighbor has extra tickets, the phone rings, and we race to the subway. In the bottom of the fourth we arrive, missing three double plays but witnessing one more by each team, including an unassisted DP when a line drive to Washington first baseman Brad Wilkerson's glove lets him step on the bag for a twofer. The Nats lead on the scoreboard for much of the game, slip into a tie in the fifth, seesaw back and forth to tie it again in the seventh, but then fail to respond when the Rockies sneak in an unearned run in the top of the ninth.
- Sunday, 24 July — Nats 1, Houston Astros 4 — It's a 14-inning 4-hour duel, with the Nats scoring one run in the fifth, the Astros coming back with one of theirs in the sixth, and then a sea of goose eggs on the board until the top of the fourteenth when a home run with two outs and two on base drives the dagger into the sixth Nat pitcher ... an event that almost didn't happen, since it followed a Washington outfielder's excellent catch and near double-play throw in to first. Nationals starter John Patterson struck out ten during the eight innings he held court.
- Wednesday, 7 September — Nats 1, Florida Marlins 12 — Tonight is an unfortunate blowout in which the initial Washington pitcher only survives to get two outs. Then the pain really begins. A total of seven Nats take the mound, each giving up one or two runs. Early in the game a four-day-old moon hangs gravid above first base, with Venus and Jupiter bright beside it. After the sole Washington score, a homer in the sixth, a cloud of smoke from the obligatory fireworks drifts lethargically across right field for the next ten minutes.
(cf. TboltMonkeysOnMyBack (19 Jul 2002), ...)
TopicRecreation - TopicPersonalHistory - Datetag20050918
(correlates: PeasantWishes, OnStage, ForUs, ...)