I was a witness as the Nats lost last night to Detroit, 15-1. That score is not a typo. Out of the hundreds of baseball games I have seen, this was the biggest blowout. To add to the situation, my friend couldn’t make the game — he had a last-minute work crisis — so I sat in the field seats alone. But not for long.
Bad baseball rids you of any guilt, so I used the blowout (it was 3-0 before I finished my first-inning hot dog) as an excuse to walk around RFK and explore it fully. I sat in seats all over the stadium, catching an inning here and there. I discovered the deli a few gates down from my entrance (I’m heading there before my next game to grab a pastrami). I found that Red Hot and Blue, the local not-bbq-but-we’ll-pretend-it-is chain, has its own terrace with a field view — a great place to grab a beer and watch an inning. I walked through the $5 upper outfield seats and found they really weren’t that bad (certainly as good, if not better, than the $100 bleacher seats you can get atop buildings across the street from Wrigley Field). I actually had a good time, staying late enough to sing ‘Sweet Caroline’ with the surprisingly large number of fans who were still there in the 8th inning (although I think it’s time to drop ‘God Bless America’ in the 7th).
The great thing about this year is that nobody expects the Nats to win, so there’s no pressure on the players and few demands from the fans. This actually makes for a very fun ballpark atmosphere. In Baltimore, where the O’s are one of baseball’s biggest train wrecks, the park is noticeably tense. At RFK, fans are just there to chill out for a summer evening. It’s worth the price, despite the occasionally ugly play.