"There are no real baseball fans in D.C." --Orioles owner Peter Angelos

Yep, I got to go to last Thursday's opener. More photos:

Free Washington Times-es being handed out. Thanks, True Father!

Looks like the Army's lowered the minimum enlistment age to 7. Not a big surprise. This must be the big recruitment push they were talking about: big inflatable mascots. "Hi-yuk! Let's go kill some 'insurgents'!"

"We'll start signing Negroes when the Harlem Globetrotters start signing whites." - Redskins owner George Preston Marshall. So glad this guy gets a memorial.

Lots of protestors out, with cries of "Millions for the stadium, peanuts for our schools." Some D.C. Vote people were out as well. Again, good luck.

And it was the first baseball game I've been to involving snipers.

Overall, though, it would take a lot to ruin having baseball. And yeah, of course there are problems. The food service was non-existent... there just wasn't any. Not a surprise at all if you've ever tried to get food at a D.C. United game. Hobbling up those steep upper deck steps on a sprained ankle is no fun, and they won't even bring hot dogs to your seat. Metro proved itself to be, surprise, completely incapable of handling such a big crowd... the crowd to get back into the station after the game stretched for a full block (although my fuck-the-man top-secret shortcut of simply walking south a couple blocks to the other entrance was somewhat effective). Yes, the mascot is an eagle named "Screech", presumably because "Slater" and "Zack" were taken.

None of that matters. Baseball, motherfucker. I went out again on Sunday, and that was the true example of what baseball can mean. 72 degrees and beautiful outside; families out enjoying the day and the game; kids running around having a great time, some of them maybe attending their first game. It's like a big 35,000-person picnic.

And baseball's unique in sports, because it's the ultimate economic equalizer: anybody can go. There are enough seats and enough games that it keeps the prices low. You can walk up, day of game, and get a seat at RFK for $7. Who doesn't have $7 to watch a major league game? It's not like the NFL, where you have to take out a second mortgage just to watch the Redskins lose to the Cowboys for the 83rd straight time. With baseball, anybody can go out and enjoy the day and enjoy the team.

So, this is great, at least until July, when the stench from the Anacostia and the sewage lines under RFK start driving people away.

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