Major League Baseball returned to Washington, D.C. for the first time in 34 years on Thursday evening as the Washington Nationals beat the Arizona Diamondbacks 5-3. President Bush threw out the ceremonial first pitch, the first pitch thrown at RFK Stadium since the Senators left for Texas in 1971. After a 34-year hiatus, the nation’s pastime has been reincarnated in the nation’s capital in the form of the Washington Nationals, or Nats. The Nationals, formerly the Montreal Expos, received a warm welcome from newly minted Washington fans. I can’t go to a game yet because I’m in Seoul, but I would love to once I return to the D.C. area. The last time I wrote about the Nats, D.C. Councilwoman Linda Cropp was holding up a stadium deal. I’m glad she brokered a deal that brought the Nationals to D.C. and a new stadium. I don’t generally support public funding for sports stadiums. However, striking a stadium deal was preferable to reneging on a previous agreement. (If you recall, Mayor Anthony Williams struck a deal with MLB last year to move the Expos to D.C. Cropp nearly derailed it by trying to rewrite the deal to remove some key public funding.) I plan to watch a Korean Baseball Organization game or two here in Seoul. Still, I’m really looking forward to rooting for my newly adopted National League team. I’m a big Seattle Mariners fan, but I won’t be able to see an M’s game in Seattle anytime soon. The Nationals give me a team to root for while I live in the D.C. area. I’m not really fond of D.C.’s other professional franchises, except perhaps D.C. United, the 2004 Major League Soccer champions.
I turned on the TV tonight and had to endure what seems like the umpteenth night in a row of Yankees-Red Sox baseball. Enough already! There are 28 other teams in the majors; it would be nice to see some other teams play for a change. Now that the Sox are the champions and the Yankees have loaded up for yet another championship run, my heart just isn’t into baseball’s “hottest” rivalry. I suspect I am not alone. Both teams are 4-5 and currently cellar dwelling in the AL East. I wouldn’t even mind watching a Pittsburgh-Milwaukee matchup over watching Yankee Gary Sheffield bum rush a Sox fan. It seems as if every time a Yankee faces a Red Sox pitcher or hitter, their combined salaries exceed the entire payroll of the Kansas City Royals or Florida Marlins. We all know they’re the best teams money can buy. It was fun to root for the Sox when they were lovable losers; now they’ve joined the ranks of teams that try to buy championships.
Speaking of competitions—tonight our team won second place in a trivia contest organized by our Association. Another team previously won the competition three times in a row, and we were determined to defeat them. Although we didn’t win this time, we put up a valiant fight. The questions were very tricky, and some of them were quite obscure. Hopefully next time we can bring home the “Golden Plate.”