Washington Nationals, our baseball team, is in MLB’s postseason this year for the first time since 1933. Excitement is in the air, and it’s fun, even if I don’t fully comprehend what it all means.
While my partner grew up watching baseball with dad, my brush with the Beautiful Game has been peripheral at best: mainly, baseball movies glimpsed here and there in the course of my 15 years in the US, and, more recently, a vague annoyance at swarms of Nationals fans clogging up metro platforms on their way to the new ballpark in Southeast DC, conveniently metroable in the midst of DC’s worst rush-hour traffic. But even if I still don’t completely understand the rules, the experience of attending a major league game and gasping in unison with over 30,000 excited fans is exhilarating.
My last visit was on a hot, humid, horribly stuffy summer evening–luckily, friends invited us along to their Diamond Club outing: access to an air conditioned refuge overlooking the field, seats close to home plate, and overflowing food and drinks added to the enjoyment, but I think I would have loved it anyway. The new ballpark is convenient, incredibly large, serves a surprisingly diverse array of comforting and, if you so desire, healthy food options (vegetarians and vegans are welcome; need to be gluten-free? No problem!)–and it looks like there isn’t a bad seat in the house. Plus, the new stadium is not only a “Certified Green Building”, but it was awarded a “Silver Status” by the US Green Building Council, the first major professional stadium to get this distinction–I felt GOOD being decadent there!
During the fourth inning, I finally got to witness a local tradition: the Presidents’ Race. Taking a break from Mount Rushmore, George, Abe, Tom (his favorite sport is gardening!), and Teddy race for the win–always spectacularly failing, in Teddy’s case.
The drama on the field and in the stands was palpable, and I thought the pitchers’ movements, especially of the Nationals’ star Stephen Strasburg, were balletic in their controlled, expansive lines (yes, my main exposure to sports as a child was through ballet and rhythmic gymnastics).
When the Nats win on home turf, fireworks ignite the sky over the stadium. I didn’t get to see that spectacle yet–a good reason to return and see what this postseason is all about.