Sunday, April 17, 2005

My last days in DC: Saturday

Aside from Lauren and Kate leaving without really saying goodbye to me, this day was dull right up till 5:00, when I left the apartment for the Nationals game.

There were eight of us, Me, my friend Scott, Joe, two of his friends, Jessie, and two of her sisters.

Count em if you must, but it might be easier to trust me.

Joe arranged tickets for us all in a nice row of eight seats on the upper deck, and we sat there after arriving a good hour before the game started. Scott, to show gratitude for me buying his ticket, bought me a beer. As he put it, it's baseball. You have to have beer.

I wasn't surprised to get it in a plastic bottle. That's what they do so they don't have to worry about broken glass everywhere. But I still griped, glass is always better for beer, in my honest opinion.

The whining stopped after a sip or two. It was ice cold, beyond delicious, perhaps beer and baseball just make each other better.

We watched with great interest as they soaked down the infield dirt, with a team of guys holding the hose off the ground to keep the grass pristine. We just sat, speaking from time time, but mostly staring intently at a prestigous landscaping job. You could consider it akin to watching the Zamboni at a hockey game.

Scott later joked that it's the means by which new players are grown.

Then a Gospel choir from Howard University walked out and sang a couple of hymns. At least we all assume that's what they did. Whatever they were doing, all we heard through the PA system at RFK stadium, well, wasn't all that worthy of the Lord. (the fault of the PA system, not the choir). Maybe it would've helped if they'd had spelled "Gospel choir" right on the Jumbotron instead of "The Howard University Gosple Choir."

They did get the PA system right for the national anthem, fortunately, and their rendition was brilliant.

At first, I had trouble deciding who to cheer for. I could root for the Nationals, or I could cheer for the Diamondbacks. I'm not sure why I had trouble with that decision, but since I'd been a resident of the District for over 3 months, I concluded they were my home team.

The feeling of being in that stadium with 34,000 other fans was amazing, the aroma of beer and nachos permeated the stands while the soft and ever-changing roar of the fans was both soothing and energizing.

By the way, this was my first ever Major-league baseball game.

After 6-7 innings in the nosebleed section, Jessie's sister Debbie talked Scott and I into trying to fill some of the open seats near the field. We waltzed on down like we knew where we going, and took up three lovely seats that were sorta-behind the catcher.

As Scott said, no one will bother you if you look like you know where you're going... and you can go anywhere you please if you're wearing a hard hat.

And then, right after we sat down less than 20 rows from the field, the nationals got 5 or so runs in one inning. Debbie said we were good luck, and I'm more than willing to take some credit for the scores.

Pretty soon, the game was over with the Nationals winning 9-3, and we made a mad rush to the Metro, swam our way through the river of people, and got onto one of the first trains. I wound up pulling one poor soul aboard so he wouldn't get nailed by the closing doors. He should've tipped me.

We made it back to my apartment, hung for a couple hours and ate some pizza before parting ways.

I got to sleep around 1, my alarm was set for 6:30 to get me up and going for my flight home to Kansas.


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