A 'Long Lunch' at the Ballpark
From Tom: Yes, I am a creature of habit and a bit of a baseball purist. I like to stay in or near my seat the entire game and keep score. I really don't care about the in-game entertainment or other "cute" stuff, but I understand its value -- especially since it keeps my kid entertained.
So the Red Loft bar was not high on my list of features to experience at the new Nats Park. But I finally paid a visit during game one of the first-ever two-games-in-one event at the new stadium.
(I refuse to call it a doubleheader, however. I am old enough to remember going to doubleheaders where you paid for one game and got to see two. MLB used to actually schedule doubleheaders, not just allow them to happen to make up for rain delays.)
Anyhow, at about 2 p.m., I got up from my desk in an office over near Farragut West, jammed my briefcase full of files I needed to review and documents I needed to proofread, announced to my assistant that I was going to go outside and eat my lunch "at the park" and do some light reading and walked quickly (trying to look semi-dignified in dress slacks and business shirt and tie) to the Metro. I arrived at the stadium half an hour later, for the end of the fifth inning. I had plenty of company. I clearly was not the only person sneaking out for a long lunch.
I wasn't really sure how long I'd stay, but I figured that hiking all the way up to the Gallery Level behind home plate where my seats are located was a waste of time, as would be the hike back. And although the ushers did not seem to be blocking anyone from sitting in the outfield bleachers, the sun was beating down pretty hard there.
So I climbed the steps to the Red Loft and found a nice, uncrowded area with space at the rail and plenty of empty, cushioned seats ... in the shade. I got myself a Diet Coke, sat down and proceeded to plow through several draft agreements and letters I had been pushing to the side back at the office and got to watch three innings of baseball, including Albert Pujols' towering home run and the lone Nationals run in game one.
No one hassled me about sitting in a section for which I did not have a ticket, and the other patrons all seemed to be enjoying themselves, too.
Maybe I don't need to keep score at every game after all.
When I left the stadium, it was kind of fun to tell the very friendly ushers and gate staff, "See you in a few hours."
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