27 September 2005

An Open Letter to the Fans of the Washington Nationals

Dear Nats Fans:

By now, the pain of not being in the playoff hunt has subsided. Yet it's been a long season, and you really have grown to love RFK. At least, you've grown to tolerate it. Now as the season winds down, and you face a desperate finale to finish third in the NL East, what will you do?

Well, there is still playoff excitement at RFK. Your DC United (you did know you share the stadium with a soccer team, right?) is sitting at second in the MLS Eastern Conference with the third best record in the league. There are only a few regular season games left, and maybe one or two playoff home games (if the stars align), and really, do you want to say goodbye to RFK just yet? Not at all. So find the black t-shirt you had when you thought you'd be a bass guitar player in college and make your way to RFK.

What's that? Don't know much about soccer? Here's a quick guide on how to leverage (that's a business term meaning "recycle and hope no one notices") your knowledge of baseball to sound informed about DC United.

For the Nats: What Livan Hernandez thows, or Mike Stanton throws when he isn't balking.
For DCU: Another word for the field.

For the Nats: A cantankerous, manic-depressive word-smith who occasionally gets off a few good lines.
For DCU: A rookie defender that gives up a few own-goals, but usually plays balls off the line.

Tony Kornheiser
For the Nats: A past-his-prime writer that rarely deigns to acknowledge the sport.
For DCU: A past-his-prime writer that rarely deigns to acknowledge the sport.

The Ownership Question
For the Nats: Still wards of the league, waiting for a break.
For DCU: Finally got an owner, and a classy one at that in Kevin Payne's group.

New York
For the Nats: Sends annoying Mets fans into RFK where they act like jerks.
For DCU: We send our fans into the Meadowlands, where they outnumber the Metros supporters. At least, it seems that way.

The Hype Machine
For the Nats: Jim Bowden.
For DCU: Freddy Adu, whose hype sounds like it was written by Jim Bowden, but despite that can actually play.

The Flawed Ace
For the Nats: Livan Hernandez
For DCU: Nick Rimando, who has the most shutouts in the league but his positioning on set pieces reminds one of a kitten whose thinking of jumping to the top of a bookshelf. There's a lot of consideration and planning, and sometimes you don't quite make it and knock everything on the floor.

The Cantankerous Coach
Nats: Frank Robinson.
DCU: Peter Nowak.

The Bouncing Stands
Nats: 3rd base line, during rallies.
DCU: Supporters' sections, pretty much throughout the entire game.

Nats: Take Me Out to the Ballgame during 7th inning stretch, and occasionally Sweet Caroline
DCU: Too many to list, at all times.

Nats: pronounced Jay-ME, followed by Carroll.
DCU: pronounced HI-me, followed by Moreno, and then a series of drum beats. Repeat.

The Christian Problem
Nats: A chaplin's quoted views to Ryan Church on salvation for Jews.
DCU: Christian Gomez will miss the home game against the Metrostars for caution points.

There ya go! An easy guide to sounding knowledgeable on DC United action. So come out again to RFK, as we make a run at MLS Title #5.


At 27 September, 2005 09:50, Anonymous John said...

I was at the Nats game on Saturday, and I can testify to the "Sends annoying Mets fans into RFK where they act like jerks" part (and I'm originally from Queens!).

At 27 September, 2005 10:11, Anonymous Joe said...

Great post, D... I'm sending this one to the Nats fans I know.

At 27 September, 2005 11:11, Anonymous John said...

Just so it's clear, I was not one of the annoying Mets fans and I was rooting for the Nats :-)

At 27 September, 2005 11:14, Blogger kj said...


That's a thing of beauty.

At 27 September, 2005 11:33, Blogger D said...

John -- Don't worry, I hadn't mentally classified you as "displaced nuyorker jerk" in my head.

Joe -- Please do. Having supported the Nats all season, I think turnabout is fair play. Plus maybe they'll start singing throughout Nats games... How awesome would a soccer fan atmosphere during a baseball game be?

KJ -- Stop, you'll make me blush :)

At 27 September, 2005 14:20, Anonymous Joe said...

No doubt, other sports could learn a lot from soccer fans. Football in particular. There is already a lot of chanting and music at college football games. Students tend to stand up the whole time. Same with college hoops.

Baseball, on the other hand... I don't know. As much as I love jumping and singing at RFK, I like sitting down and bullshitting with strangers and filling out a scorecard when I hit a baseball game. Luckily, both approaches are fully compatible with drinking beer.

At 27 September, 2005 16:43, Blogger Zathras said...

Baseball is a leisurely game; not meant for constant atmosphere. compare it to both kinds of football:

Baseball: Usually played in a "ball park"
Am. Football: played on a Gridiron
Soccer: played on a ground (down to earth!)

Baseball: No set time limit; might have extra innings to determine the winner
Am. Football: Will end on time, even if it means SUDDEN DEATH.
Soccer: No shame in a well played draw.

Baseball's feel is totally different and I don't think is the kind of sport for the same sort of atmosphere as a soccer match.

Great post, BTW.

At 27 September, 2005 16:51, Blogger Goose said...

By the way, Gomito is gonna miss the away game at Metrostars, not the home game a week later.

Not unless he gets sent off against Salt Lake.

At 27 September, 2005 20:03, Blogger bdure said...

One of the funnier blog posts I've ever read. Thanks.

At 27 September, 2005 22:08, Blogger D said...

Joe/Zathras -- Points well taken. Although during a 9th inning rally perhaps we could get some singing going on.

Goose -- You are quite correct, the next game is in New York. It just seems like RFK based on the cheers that you can hear from the crowd.

At 29 September, 2005 14:29, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Nats' Cristian problem is Guzman.


At 29 September, 2005 14:39, Blogger D said...

Guzman is more than a problem, he's a crisis. Or a catastrophe. Something along those lines, something that no .300 avg during the final five series will change.

At 29 September, 2005 20:39, Blogger John IV said...

a nice Primer for someone like me who knows absolutely NOTHING about Soccer other than that the rest of the World really loves it.


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