A Real HeadScratcher
I really don't get this crowd running the new stadium.
Of course, I am the fat man who cried "wolf" -- I've enjoyed going over the top talking about the fascists running the place, and yakking about the ushers being a drag. But anyone reading can tell that I actually understand that there has to be discipline, and that it's not a simple thing to simultaneously be considerate, and to corral, contain, and control a crowd. So I do get it. But I'm now legitimately so fed up with the Nats that it's affecting my thoughts about renewing season tickets.
My friend Kurt has been a season-ticket holder since . . . well, since Bud Selig announced that MLB had selected Washington as the dumping ground for the Expos. His family has owned season tickets to the 'Skins since Sonny was losing games and waiting for Lombardi. That means that he's seen it all, and has lived with Dan Snyder for ten years, knows how bad it can get, and is generally positive about the Nats management. But a recent Saturday game was a turning point for him.
That evening, like a lot of folks, he arrived at the park early and made his way to the Red Porch Lounge, knowing it would be crowded there. I say "early" because, he like a lot of other sports fans, wanted to see the Belmont Stakes and a possibly the first Triple Crown winner since the Little River Band ruled the AM airwaves [try thirty years]. He correctly predicted that a lot of folks were there to see the race, and despite the heat, they were a generally calm, collected crowd. The Red Porch had a few TVs tuned to the race. The rest of the sets were tuned to the pregame show featuring the remarkable, energetic, unintelligible Clint. The baseball game was about an hour away.
The large crowd that gathered as the race was getting close was nicely asked by one Nats employee to move to a different spot. The crowd dutifully shuffled out of the way, into the designated area. Moments later, out popped another Nats "worker" who started angrily yelling to move. Kurt calmly explained that they all *had* just moved, on the Red Lounge's instructions, and that they would stay put until the race was over - within the next four or five minutes. The new "worker" responded to the calm by getting angrier, and threatening to "clear out the whole place." Kurt lost it, and concedes that after yelling back and asking why they were intent on offending season ticket holders, he was gonna dare her to throw them out. Instead, he hit on a solution, and asked to see a manager to offer a way to defuse a problem that never should have happened. A very nice young woman managing the lounge was quickly summoned.
He took a deep breath, and explained to the manager that if she would just retune half the remaining TVs to the Belmont Stakes, the broiling crowd [after all, it was 100 degrees out there] would watch the game from wherever they could stand in the Red Porch, that people could move and still see, and that within minutes the problem would be behind them.
The manager said "no."
She was quite nice, and agreed that it would solve the problem, but she said that she couldn't turn off the warmup show. My friend, who routinely refers to "that %#$^@$% Clint" when talking to ME, was charitable, only asking her "you can't tune away from this insipid babble and T-shirt giveaway for just three minutes when you know it'll solve this problem?"
"I know that you people want it, but I'm not allowed," she replied.
My head still aches.
I know, I know - it's another whining blog post about the crummy Nats not letting us get away with whatever we want. Except it's not. It's about an absence of flexibility on a painfully-hot day -- an unwillingness to cater to a large crowd of enthusiastic people who wanted a few minutes of accommodation. And not because it was technically difficult. Not because it would disenfranchise and dispossess the rabid Clint fans who had huddled in the Lounge to hang on his every word. Not for any stated reason - save one. Because she "wasn't allowed."
If there really is a rule about the pregame show, shame on the Nats. If there's not, and the manager was just unimaginative, well, shame on the Nats. Why in blazes wouldn't the team bend over backwards to make it an enjoyable experience for everyone when the request was so simple?
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