March turns to April, April to May, and now May to June and I failed to muster the self-absorption necessary to add even one more missive into the echo chamber of the blogosphere. It is not as if sports have become any less important in my life. Before failing to make the effort to catch the most recent woefully inadequate performances by D.C. United at RFK, I had gone to nearly every home game. The season began with the promise of a squad that was head and shoulders above the rest of the MLS and has now collapsed to the cold reality of a passionless, uninspired, underachieving group of players sporting VW logos on their chest. In April, I ended up at a baseball stadium in six of nine days: first, enjoying the Cubs post 13 runs against a reeling Bucs squad on consecutive weekend games at Wrigley; next, appreciating the impressive skills (both on the mound and at the plate) of Johan Santana now in full display with the New York Metropolitans; and finally, watching the Cubs drop two of three to the woeful Nationals at their great new park here in DC. Coach Pinella may not want Chicagoans to get all "giggly" about the North Siders, but it is difficult not to be impressed by a team that storms back from an eight run deficit in the sixth inning featuring one of the team's relievers shutting down the Rockies on a ten-pitch, nine strike, three strikeout inning (Marmol is very, very good). My wife and I caught most of the three game series against the Dodgers on television and after having spent a significant part of my three decades on this spinning globe at Wrigley, that small patch of land in Chicago looks to be a great place to be at the moment.
In this part of the country, Nationals Stadium is not such a bad place to be either. The stadium is a beautiful place to watch baseball, easy to get to by metro, and currently features a moderately interesting assemblage of malcontents and can't miss prospects (that missed). As comes with the territory in the District of Columbia, the people attending the game can ruin the experience. The opening game of the Cubs-Nats series was marred in our section by a group of sixteen year olds screaming profanity laced epithets at the opposing team and others sitting in their section. Friends that have sat in the same (relatively nice) seats have endured other fans, intoxicated by the first half inning, drowning the joy out of the experience of a baseball game with x-rated vitriol screamed over the heads of young boys and girls in the rows before them. A consequence of the Nats inability to draw well in spite of the new stadium and the team's lack of interest in preventing ticket brokers from buying up significant blocks of season tickets is that woe befall all those fans who actually bought season tickets for themselves (I declined to renew mine). The ticket brokers have been drastically cutting the prices for their tickets (I bought four field tickets that sell for $58 a piece from the team through individual game sales for a little over $20 a piece from a broker looking to mitigate his loss for one of this week's games against the Cardinals) meaning that any lout can act like an ass without repercussion in your section without any fear of any meaningful consequence other than being asked to leave the stadium in the seventh inning when surrounding fans can no longer endure the pathetic, inebriated, offensive tirades. In two-thirds of the games I have gone to this year, I have experienced no problems. But those are not great odds for the casual fan looking to find an enjoyable way for the family to wile away an evening.