When the announcement was made last year that the Montreal Expos would finally be put out of their misery and heading south of the border to our nation's capitol, I knew I had to be there the first time that the Mets played the D.C. whatevers. So I emailed my friend (and former next door neighbor and fellow X-Files and Homicide fanatic) Nancy to see if she was into going to check out some NL ball. See, Nancy is a hardcore Yankee fan, which I don't hold against her. But better yet, she can enjoy a game even if her team isn't playing, so I knew convincing her to go see a team in her backyard would be an easy sell.
So on Friday morning I hopped on Amtrak (and not one of the ones with those nasty brake problems) down to D.C., then grabbed the Metro to her apartment in suburban Maryland to drop off my freebie Mets bag (which contained two seasons of Homicide DVDs for our post game watching) and then rode the Metro back to the refurbished RFK Stadium. It was readily apparent to me that this was not Shea Stadium when 90 minutes before the first pitch the gates to the stadium still weren't open. This was made worse by that fact that we were both starving--and we could smell the delicious sausage and peppers wafting out from the concession stands inside.
When the gates finally opened we were torn between finding out seats and immediately getting the first food we could find. For a brief moment, our curiosity beat out the sound of our stomach grumbling. Planning ahead to get tickets the day they went on sale was a wise choice, as our seats along the first base line were very good. They were they kind of seats where the usher undoes a chain and lets you into the box--and then expects a tip.
Two things amazed me about RFK as a new baseball facility: 1) The staff was extremely friendly. They were so friendly that it started to unnerve me, like it was they were Stepford workers at RFK. 2) The food was damn good. I mean, the sausage and peppers and the hot dogs were bigger than anything I'd ever eaten at Shea or Yankee Stadium. Incredible. I always knew Washington was filled with pork, but this was ridiculous.
As for the actual game, the Mets fans in attendance didn't have much to cheer about in the 5 to 1 loss. Jae Seo was pitching a good game (1-0 with a no hitter in the bottom of the 4th) until Nancy and I had this conversation:
Me: I think we're going to see a pitcher's duel all night. (Livan Hernandez had settled down at that point)
Nancy: Wow, they (the Nationals) really have no hits.
(Crack! Jose Guillen hits a home run 5 seconds later)
Me: Gee, thanks Nancy.
It was a weird game overall--it's not often that a pitcher has 3 hitter going into the 5th, with all three hits solo home runs, and one of them by the opposing pitcher.
Lastly, here was the oddest thing of the entire night: the couple that sat next to me brought a baby, as did the couple in front of me. They got to talking, which when I discovered that one kid was 9 months old, one was 4 months. Um, are these people crazy? Taking children that young to a stadium on a rainy, windy night? (It only sprinkled before the game, thankfully.) Child services should have tackled them leaving RFK.
All in all, a good time was had at RFK, loss notwithstanding. I'm already plotting a trip in September for the pennant race.