A View From the Cheap Seats
For those of you who grew up paying 75 cents for a baseball ticket and 10 cents for a hot dog at the game, the National Park experience must be rough, to say the least. For someone who was actually born in the 1970s, however, the ticket prices and cost of a good hot dog is no real surprise. But in the spirit of those who enjoyed the game during such "affordable" times, and not being a season ticket holder, I decided to get the most "affordable" seats by purchasing tickets in section 405 -- roughly a mile above sea level behind the third base line for $10 a pop.
Arriving about 20 minutes before the first pitch, I stopped by the Senators Sausages behind section 141 to grab a bite before climbing up, literally, to my seats. I waited 15 minutes for service and, once being a professional appreciator of processed meat, I ordered a kielbasa and bratwurst. Price was no concern, although they were $7 a piece. I was told that what I thought was a kielbasa was actually a Polish sausage, however. Being the agreeable person that I am with those who handle my food, I ordered whatever the gentlemen pointed to, only to be told by the cashier that they don't sell Polish sausages.
I ended up getting a Hebrew National 1/4 hot dog and a kielbasa instead. Being too hungry to argue, I inhaled them both with a serving of sauteed onions and peppers, which I found to be a little flavorless. As inaccurate as my service was, both the kielbasa and Hebrew National were moist, well-cooked and full of flavor.
Though I was stuffed, I had to try the Ben's Half Smoke -- even though I was not expecting much ,because I remembered not being too impressed with my experience at Ben's Chili Bowl off U Street to begin with.
To my surprise, the chili was meaty, not too greasy, the hot dog supple and juicy. An absolute home run. As I was finishing off my half smoke, Ronnie Belliard hit a home run to further enhance my experience.
After climbing up the nice escalator to the 400 level, I was looking for my section and got some great directions from a young gentleman working between sections 405 and 406. Leroy W. directed me toward the other entrance and saved me the grief of having to ask 25 people to get up so I could get to my seat. Oh, by the way, "Leroy" is pronounced, "luh-ROY."
But the true highlight of the evening was the presidents' race. What drama, what thrill. Teddy Roosevelt, who has never won a race, was the overwhelming crowd favorite, but Thomas Jefferson stole the show by beating out George Washington at the finish line by going completely horizontal and leaping head first. Someone sign that kid to a contract!
Until next time,
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