The Flogging Will Continue Until the Losing Stops

Scott Watson

This weekend, I finally caught a game with my season ticket partners. Sharing a plan had the paradoxical effect of keeping us from seeing as many games together, and a lot of our experiences were shared by e-mail or phone rather than at the park. To my surprise, we all independently came to the same conclusion:

"I wonder how much we'd love the stadium and the experience if the team didn't . . . stink."

We're all of a certain age - we're not there to drink, we're not there to chat up our date, we're not there on a tour of the nation's ballparks, and we're not introducing our kids to baseball. We're there as fans of the Washington Nationals.

The woeful Washington Nationals.

As we waited in a concession line for nearly 40 minutes on Friday night, praying the rains would only delay the first pitch by a few minutes, we agreed that it's much easier to tolerate the inefficiency when the club is playing .500 ball, or you at least know the names of your starting nine

(After nearly half a season, they STILL have the same employee finding a hot dog, putting it in the bun, drawing a beer, and going to get a soda? Is Henry Ford's amazing "assembly line" concept still lost on them?)

It was great fun to be in a full stadium, in the midst of a three-out-of-four skein. Even if it is a short-lived dream. All of the oft-repeated indignities (autocratic ushers; smiling-but-seemingly-brain-dead cashiers; "Sweet Caroline") were cause only for casual laughter. Winning really *does* excuse a multitude of sins.

If only I can hang on 'til the winning comes.

By Scott Watson  |  June 30, 2008; 9:27 AM ET  | Category:  Scott Watson , Stadium Staff
Previous: Beware the Hot Seats | Next: The Flogging Will Continue ... Part 2

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"All of the oft-repeated indignities (autocratic ushers; smiling-but-seemingly-brain-dead cashiers; 'Sweet Caroline') ..."

Although, did you note that on Friday, when the Orioles made a pitching change during the 7th inning, we were thankfully NOT assaulted with "Caroline," but instead heard "Twist And Shout"? (OK, it's docked a bit by using the "Ferris Bueller" version with horns instead of the pure Beatles version, but still...)

Is our long Nationals' nightmare over? Has management come to its senses? Or was the dancing usher simply off work that night?

We can only hope this change is permanent, that Nationals Park will become a "Caroline"-free zone.

Posted by: Vincent | June 30, 2008 10:38 AM

What's up with ushers, on Friday night, not letting you put your feet over the seats in front in the 8th inning? Seriously, I think Kasten and the Lerners need to either give me more leg room, or not care about where my feet go since people have left already ...

Can we rant about that? Stay until the end folks. Oh wait, you're not fans.

Finally, does anyone wear an Albert Belle orioles jersey? Really? I actually have video proof it exists.

Posted by: DC Centurion's Shield | June 30, 2008 10:46 AM

At least you had ushers. In the nosebleed seats (Sec 419) there were no ushers to guide the single game atendees to their proper seats, so I sat a row below my normal season seats and behind people who were constantly getting up to talk to each other and blocking my view. Luckily, things cleared out a bit after the 10th inning on Sunday.

But the Kosher Grill was out of knishes and closing up when I went for my lunch in the 7th inning.

Posted by: Ed Ramras | June 30, 2008 10:58 AM

I was at the game on Friday and I was dismayed by how much louder and livelier Orioles fans were than Nats fans. It was embarrassing. I have been to several soccer games in Cochabamba, Bolivia, and Cochabambinos would never let the fans of another team come into their house and out cheer them. What's wrong with Nats fans? Even the O's mascot was livelier than Shriek. He was on top of the O's dug out shaking his fist and pumping up the O's fans. Poor Shriek tried his best, but he just couldn't compete. The whole shtick with the O's mascot costing Teddy the night's President Race and Teddy's subsequent challenge to a race on Saturday ala WCW Smack down style was hilarious. The stadium should have erupted in cheers and laughter, but it was pretty dead where I was sitting in Section 316. That O's mascot is handsome.

Poor Shriek looks like he was plucked out of the Anacostia River by an animal rescue organization. Shriek also looks like he could use a bath and judging by his belly, it is obvious he loves Ben's Half Smokes. If El Rey had ninos (children), he wouldn't let them near Shriek because he looks like such a reprobate. If Mrs. El Rey got near the O's mascot, I think she would end up spending the night in his nest and I wouldn't blame her one bit!

Anyway, it was a great game and a good time. Nats fans - loosen up, have some fun, and don't let the opposition's fans out shout you at games. Sure, the Nats aren't very good, Shriek looks like a sorrowful chicken, and Nationals management has a totalitarian streak in them, but the Nats are still our team. We need more cheering and less angst.

Posted by: El Rey | June 30, 2008 11:37 AM

Fire Clint! Fire Clint! Fire Clint! Fire Clint! Fire Clint! Fire Clint! Fire Clint! Fire Clint! Fire Clint! Fire Clint! Fire Clint! Fire Clint! Fire Clint! Fire Clint! Fire Clint! Fire Clint!

Posted by: Fire Clint! | June 30, 2008 11:51 AM

My name isn't "Shriek."

Posted by: Screech | June 30, 2008 1:16 PM

Sorry about misspelling your name, Screech. Now go take a shower. Cut back on the Half Smokes too because they aren't good for your cholesterol level.

Posted by: El Rey | June 30, 2008 4:33 PM

Support the Washington Teddies. If the team want to start some change, perhaps Teddy can win a race and the players will catch on. The team seldom wins and teddy never wins. They can't afford to make a mistake. A misplayed ball, a bad pitch, non-agression on the base path, and the Nats go down in defeat. teddy loses a shoe, falls down, gets lost, and he loses the race.
Support the Washington Teddies!!

Posted by: Pete from Leesburg | July 9, 2008 9:36 AM

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