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April 14, 2009 4:35 PM

RealClearSports Field Trip: Nationals Opening Day, Pt. I

Last week, I wrote about baseball's Opening Day, saying, "For one day at least, every team still has a chance." Sappy? Maybe. Wrong? Definitely. Because the Washington Nationals do not have a chance. They never did.

This was on full display yesterday, at their 2009 Home Opener, where futility was the central theme: Three errors? Check. A stumbling, poor excuse for a left fielder? Check. Even the concessions were seemingly stuck in Spring Training form: the taps at Red Porch in center field were broken before the game even started, there were 20-minute lines for chicken fingers -- heck, even a kid in the video batting cages was hit by a pitch (more on this later in Part II).

But, seemingly in spite of all the Toledo Mudhens-like display of baseball, both on and off the field, that Opening Day magic was still there. Yes, the Nationals lost, and now, at 0-7, are the last winless team in baseball (this does not bode well for them). But that did not take away from the traditional pomp and circumstance that accompanied my first ever opening day.


About an hour before first pitch, dad and I spent time milling about the crowds, beer in hand, waiting for my brother to show up. People seemed generally unafraid of the creepy statues, which was good.

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No wonder Josh Gibson was so good -- he had like, seven arms.
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Jokes aside, this statues are equal parts weird, interesting, creepy and cool. I guess that's art?
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I don't know when it started, but I really enjoy the giant American flags on the field.
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The Nationals rolled out a red-carpet for the Phillies, which I found somewhat odd.
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You can't see it in this picture, but just in front of us was a group of middle-aged men, one of whom (drunkenly) turned around and began eating my french fries, right out of my hand. My surprise and anger somehow got me a free Dogfish Head 90-Minute IPA. Big winner: Me.
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In all, it was a pretty great day at the park. Beers in the afternoon April sun with my brother and dad; I could think of worse ways to start the season.
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