I love people watching. I’m the person who’s content standing in the dark corner of a room during a party and watching people, how they interact, with whom they interact, their mannerisms, their body language, and their communication.
So, if you’re a people observer, try this for kicks. Tune into the local baseball team’s radio station after a loss. Note: it’s easier to be objective and amused when it’s not your team, so try it when you’re travelling to a different city.
I’ve been tuning into the the local National’s broadcast station lately. The team is on a pretty hot streak. They’ve won the series against both the Cubs and the Mets. No small feat for the team ranking dead bottom.
First, although they ended up winning the series, the Nats lost badly to the Cubs on Saturday, thanks primarily to pitcher Matt Chico, who had be the assumed ace after last year’s performance but has so far flailed this year. For a team that’s been in town for only a couple of months, they’ve already gained some passionate fans who ran both Chico and Acta over the coals. I was a proponent for bringing the team to DC but my loyalties to the Red Sox runs deep. I was surprised how some locals have already adopted the Nats as the home team. Boy, those fans weren’t any nice than Red Sox fans are after a bad loss!
– send Chico down to the minors
– why is Acta coddling him?
– the batting coaching is terrible… they swing at everything
– velocity? What velocity. the radar guns are wrong!
It’s like Monday morning armchair quarterbacking for baseball!
Second, the broadcasters aren’t so gentle on the team either. And it comes out in the choice of words, even during the regular broadcast. It goes to show how teams with established loyalties have an advantage with sympathtic broadcasters. Some actual quotes:
– The Nationals have been extremely poor in pick-off defense
– They are fumbling with the ball all the time
– … little to no command of the pitching…
– May not be a routine catch but definitely should have been an error
– … lucky he wasn’t charged an error…
– I don’t know what he was thinking at all
Damn. From your own dedicated broadcasters? Brutal.
No, I haven’t visited yet. But we passed it twice..
First, from the Anacostia. As crew season is kicking up, I steered our 8-man shell past the stadium. What a novel and impressive sight. From the water, it is HUGE. It is right by the waterfront, the non-existant, non-developed waterfront that the city has been struggling for over a decade to revitalise. It was about sunset, on an overcast evening, so getting dark. The stadium stood out in the landscape, and the lighting was beginning to glow. Out of curiosity, I steered pretty close by and passed it. Surprisingly, no major sign of security along the waterfront other than two police cars with their lights flashing.
Just as I turned the boat and start to steer it across and back upstream, a huge roar rose from the stadium. Perhaps the Nationals scored? Wow, that was an impressive sound for a crew that is used to listening to little more than coaches yelling and traffic wizing by overhead on one of the many bridges.
Later on, after practice, I drove three teammates home. We decided to gamble and drive down M Street, which we were warned was shut down at the start of the game. By now, it was dark outside. Well, since it was well over an hour and a half after the first pitch, M St has reopened. And the street the most devoid of casual driving traffic. In fact, other than my car, the places was flooded with District of Columbia tow trucks. (area readers, be warned).
This is the first time all four of us have seen the stadium up close. We were struck by how big it was, and how much of it was visible from the street driving by. I felt like I could do a mental side-by-side comparison between my split-second drive-by glance and the brochures available.
I’ve been driving through this neighbourhood over five years, everyday for six months each year. And I am struck by the change. I hope this will help improve the rather impoverished Southeast neighborhood. Block by block has been going through a little gentrification, but this remained one of the more sketchy parts of town, the worst probably being right across the river into Anacostia.
I had a fondness for the Nat’s new stadium although I have yet to set a foot on the grounds. As a rower on the Anacostia River, I rowed right past the site every day of it’s construction, barring bad weather preventing me the go on the water, all year last year. I saw the grounds start off as a really unattractive piece of dirt called real estate turned into a massive stadium. It wasn’t completely done when our crew season wrapped up for the winter but the majority of the structure was already up and I had grown accustomed to seeing the sun set behind its silhouette. I truly regret not bringing my camera and snapping shows of the progress of the building from the water.
The stadium brings many changes. The opportunity to revitalise a horrible part of town. The process of growth had started long before the team even came to town. The government buildings being constructed around the Navy Yard has brought more daytime foot traffic and dispersed some of the more shady elements of DC’s population.
The biggest headache for me is traffic. Other than an initial surprise and private grin when I saw small road signs with the Nationals’ “W” and an arrow pointing where to go show up on I-395, I will start spending more time griping about the traffic gridlock. DC has more traffic than its roads are designed to handle. Which is why a practice emergency evaculation a while back went so wrong so quickly. I had to fight traffic from work to the boathouse with RFK traffic since my practice time coincided with the weekday evening games. Now with the stadium directly on the way to the boathouse, I’m not even sure Metro is ready to handle the traffic either.
I do want to check out the stadium, though. I chuckled last night at the first homerun of the stadium. I wondered if the Nats, even with an one-point lead at the time, wished they were still at RFK because that hit would not have been a homerun there. I am kicking myself for calling it a night and hopping into the shower at the bottom of the 8th. I apprently missed the best part, as I inevitably do in my rare decisions to close up early. But my excuse: I was running on 6 hours of culmulative sleep the past three days and I had just had a 16-hour day of travel. I was beat.
Now, I’ll have to continue my thoughts on the stadium later… off the hit the slopes!
OK, I changed my mind. I *will* get up early and head to the local pub to watch the game. They better serve ‘darn good coffee.
On ward to my topic of the day: all you can eat. In an age of no more super-size meals, lawsuits against KFC for making people fat (is there one for being born stupid?), and hydrogenated oil bans, this trend surprised me: all-you-can-eat seats.
- Dodger’s Stadium: Right field bleachers. $35-40. Menu includes hot dogs, nachos, peanuts, popcorn, soda and water
- Blue Jays: One weekend only May 23-25, right field seats. Menu includes hot dogs, nachos, peanuts, popcorn, soda. $39.
- Atlanta Braves: Outfield seats or club pavilion. $35-70. Go for basic: hot dogs, nachos, peanuts, popcorn, and soda. You can big-size it to include hamburgers, fries and ice cream. Or, if you so wish to, go for the luxury package of BBQ, pulled pork, wings, corn bread, baked beans, beer, and burgers. (since when are burgers more luxurious than hamburgers?)
- Cardinals: All over. Prices range from $65 to $140. Buffet style, includes soda and beer. Wonder if water-sippers like myself are SOL.
- Baltimore Orioles: Left field. $40-60. Menu includes popcorn, hot dogs, peanuts, nachos, ice cream and soda.
- Rangers: Left field corner, Thursdays through Sundays. $31-38. Food selection includes hot dogs, peanuts, popcorn, and soda.
- Okland A’s: Upper homeplate pavilion. $30-38. Season tickets available (!!?!) Menu includes hot dogs, nachos, peanuts, popcorn, soda and ice cream.
- Royals: Right field corner. $35-50. Selection includes hot dogs, nachos, popcorn, peanuts, and soda.
- Padres: Rooftop and right field. $39-45. Menu includes buffet, no alcohol.
- Pirates: Right field. $35-40. Menu includes hot dogs, hamburgers, nachos, salads (really?) , peanuts, popcorn, ice cream, and soda.
– Since when do people go watch a baseball game for the popcorn. How about cracker jacks instead?
– Dieticians must be apoplectic over this.
– Really, just how many hot dogs do you want? Are we trying to upset to Japanese superiority in hot dog eating contests?
– Do you really want to sit being surrounded by people with the buffet-eating style for three whole hours?
– Some of these make decent deals. Compare to the price of a ticket to Fenway….
I’m intrigued, piqued, and flabergasted. And it seems to be growing in popularity. In the meantime, I’ll settle with just simply visiting the new Nats stadium for a game. The ridiculously pricey food simply is a diet supressant for me. Or an excuse to treat myself to a rare and single funnel cake.