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The last baseball opener for RFK stadium
Published on April 2, 2007 By terpfan1980 In Baseball

Went to the opening day game today in D.C. as the Nationals took on the Florida Marlins.  One of 40,300+ in attendance.  Not quite a sellout, but still many fans packing the stadium.  Some families with children who happened to be off for spring (Easter) break.  Some touristas in town checking out the museums and such and taking in the game while there.  And plenty of fans wearing red and cheering for the home team even though most realists are well aware that the Nationals are putting a minor league caliber product on the field this season.

Yes, we fans are well aware that the team that is on the field is bereft of stars.  The team's one major star, acquired in a trade of at least one fan favorite (Brad Wilkerson) and a few other players, one Alfonso Soriano, is gone.  He took the money and ran off to the Cubs in the off season.  Too much money.  Way too much money.  Crazy money.  More than any baseball player should be even close to making.  The Cubs tossed the money at him and he took it without batting an eye.  For that reason, I'm fairly sure that most people would forgive me for saying that I hope that curse remains on the cubs for several more seasons. <wink>

In anycase, the Nationals are doing the best they can with a bunch of players that would probably be bench players at best for other teams, if not still be stuck down in the minor leagues.  They have very few legitimate big league players at this point.  Ryan Zimmerman for sure.  Austin Kearns perhaps (if he learns to avoid the strike out).  Felipe Lopez maybe.  And then a bunch of players we've never heard of. 

Nick "The Stick" Johnson is on the disabled list still hobbled by the broken leg injury of last year.  Christian Guzman is back, but he hasn't come close to earning the $4 million per year he was signed for.  And the rest of the team, except for perhaps catcher Brian Schneider, is a cast of unknowns.  Players never able to stay at the major league level when playing for other teams.

More in the comments area.  Please continue there for the rest of this article.

on Apr 02, 2007

Remainder of original article.  Thanks for continuing!

I digress though.  What I wanted to make my point about now is the local sports talk station, which happens to be owned by one Daniel Snyder, he who owns the Washington Redskins National Football League team.  That Daniel Snyder.  The same one that also recently purchased controlling interest in Six Flags amusement parks.  The same one that owns a big stake in Johnny Rocket's burger establishments.  The same one that has spent a ton of money on an underperforming and highly over-paid Washington Redskins NFL team.

Snyder bought a triad of radio stations in the D.C. area to create his Triple X ESPN cluster of stations, all simulcasting the same programming.  In the 4pm - 7pm time frame he airs programming featuring the legendary John Riggins.  Riggins is the hall of fame running back that helped the Redskins win a Superbowl over the Miami Dolphins back in the early 80's.  He's a revered figure in the D.C. area and now that he's on sports talk radio on a regular basis, some people catch his show when they have time.

As it turns out, I happened to flip on Riggins' show while riding home from the game today.  A disappointing game because the home team was handily defeated.  But an enjoyable game because it was a beautiful day for a ball game (game time temp was around 75F) and because there was a great crowd at the stadium, almost all cheering for the home team.

You see, as noted in blog entries last year, and the year before, I remember years of not having baseball in D.C.  Years of having to go to Baltimore to see the Orioles on their opening day.  Supporting a team that I cheered for as a child, but which didn't seem to be my "home team" because I've never considered Baltimore to be the city I live by.  Baltimore is a city that is in my area, but it's not my "home town" city.

I've lived much closer to D.C. for years, worked in D.C. for a while, and work in the D.C. suburbs even now.  D.C. is my "home city" even though I don't live directly there.  It just feels to me like the city I'm closest to.

Anyway, as someone that was out supporting the home team, and sitting in the stadium with 40,300+ I was quite pleased with the crowd.  It wasn't a complete sellout, but in a aged and fairly non-fan-friendly stadium, on a workday, I was quite happy with the attendance and the crowd.

Not so the clowns on the sports talk station.  Those pooh-poohers and nay-sayers were of course going on and on about how disappointing it should be that the stadium wasn't sold out.  Especially since it's the final year in that stadium, etc.

Apparently no one sent them the memo that 40,300+ is a good sized crowd.  No one told them that there were days not so long ago that getting 40,300+ out to see the Washington Redskins would have been a great day.  (Yes, those days were back in the 60's and 70's, but it isn't that long ago).  No one told them that in most cities where Major League Baseball is played the home teams would about die for 40,300+ in attendance for any of their games, not just for opening day.  (The Pittsburgh Pirates, Philadelphia Phillies, Tampa Bay Devil Rays, Kansas City Royals, Colorado Rockies, Florida Marlins and a host of other teams would love to see such attendance numbers)

You gotta love the talking heads on Sports Talk radio.  Always have to get themselves embroiled in some sort of controversy to get people riled up to call in and tell them what idiots they are.

on Apr 02, 2007

Oh, I should add, on the plus side at this time everyone in attendance for this "last opening day at RFK" knows that the team will not be leaving town and won't be carpet-bagged away.  They are here for the long haul.  A new stadium is coming next year.  One that will have all of the modern ammenities and should be a jewel of a facility.

Yup, it was the last opening day at RFK, but it isn't the last opening day in D.C.   The hopefully much better 2008 edition of the Washington Nationals will open the stadium next year with a crowd that should be in the same general neighborhood as the attendance at this year's opening day.  Approximately 40,000+ given the capacity of the stadium that is being built off of South Capitol Street in Washington, D.C.

I'm already looking forward to it!

on Apr 03, 2007
At least the Mets started the right way.  We will have to see if they can keep it up and trash the hated braves!
on Apr 04, 2007
You're bitching about a player taking the money offered? What kind of American are you? Money is the only standard of success left. If you're going to cry foul over someone avccepting a better monetary offer then you ought to run away and bury your head in the sand. Of course he took the money. Wouldn't you?
on Apr 05, 2007

You're bitching about a player taking the money offered? What kind of American are you? Money is the only standard of success left. If you're going to cry foul over someone avccepting a better monetary offer then you ought to run away and bury your head in the sand. Of course he took the money. Wouldn't you?

Go back to watching Cricket

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