VIPs dare to dream on Nationals Opening Day
So much optimism. So much delusion. The season opener at Nationals Park on Monday was just perfect ... for about an hour.
On a flawless spring afternoon, the crowds flooded in for D.C.'s first baseball game of the year: Nats vs. Philadelphia Phillies. The usual baseball-loving celebs arrived at the ballpark, full of cheer and convinced that this year was going to be different. Better. At the very least, less embarrassing.
George Will ticked off reasons to hope: "Strasburg. Nyjer Morgan. Another year of Zimmerman. Lots of good things." Mayor Adrian Fenty (gray suit, salmon Nats tie, shades) showed up with his twin sons, Matthew and Andrew. Playing hooky? "School's out anyway, so it worked out," he beamed. "What a perfect day."
The sun bounced off the rhinestones of Miss America's tiara, perched atop Caressa Cameron, former Miss Virginia and (just last year) a member of the Nat Pack pep squad. The beauty queen -- there to officially proclaim "Play Ball!" -- was "pulling for the Nats, so they better win."
The president -- a no-show last year -- decided it was worth the trip. Obama got a huge ovation, then playful boos when he put on a White Sox cap before the first pitch. Ted Lerner didn't mind: He invited the president to the owner's box with Commissioner Bud Selig, press secretary Robert Gibbs and Sen. Arlen Specter.
NBC's David Gregory, almost incognito in shades, cap and shorts, took Obama's presence as a lucky omen. "It's good for the Nationals that Obama did this. Hopefully, this will make all the difference."
Even Scott Ableman, founder of the "Let Teddy Win" blog, dared to dream that the foam-head Teddy Roosevelt would win his first-ever President's Race. "It's a new season," he said. "Hope springs eternal. It might as well be today."
Oh, you poor, foolish dears.
The Phillies took a quick lead and pummeled the Nats, 11-1. Teddy hurt his leg and Abraham Lincoln won the mascot race. It's going to be a long year, fans.
The Reliable Source
April 6, 2010; 12:05 AM ET
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