28 Mar 2011

I Love the Baseball

Uploaded to flickr by Joshua Young

What you’ve heard is true. I’m in love with a loser. In the spring he comes along and promises me a season filled with food, drinks and fun, but by September our relationship has soured — I’m sad and frustrated, but still the supportive optimist. Yep, I’m one a few thousand Nats fans.

I attended my first game in 2006, their second year in town, and it wasn’t quite love at first site. I only saw the Nats a few times that first year, but I was willing to give our relationship a go in 2007, what with the promise of a new stadium to look forward to in 2008. I married became a season ticket holder in 2007, but the Nats didn’t completely win my heart until they moved to Nationals Park in 2008 — the year of Zim’s walk off homer to win the team’s first game in the new park (it also happened to be one of their worst seasons since coming to the District).

See, I’ve always had a soft spot for the underdog. Even more, I’ve always hated the “bandwagoners,” the people who suddenly support a team when they turn things around — I’m looking at you folks from Philly who gave up your Eagles jerseys for Phillies T’s following the team’s World Series victory. I remain in love with my rag-tag group of losers, standing by them even when my friends back home brag about how their team has some of the best (albeit aging) starting pitchers in the game.  My reward will be watching my team make it to the playoffs from the same section we have sat in since 2008.

I am patiently waiting for March 31, which happens to be a national holiday in the Gebhard house.  And while I won’t be so bold as to predict a winning season for the Nats in 2011, I will support them, in Curly W’s and crushing losses, in Tommy John surgery and short stays on the DL.  I encourage you to do the same. You’ll appreciate them that much more when we take the pennant.

Count down to baseball: three days!

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12 responses to “I Love the Baseball”

  1. b says:

    No Tony Plush, no me . . . sorry

  2. Tim Krepp says:


    And hey, Philly fans. No team is good forever. We’re going to remember this someday. Probably won’t be this year. May not even be this decade. But sooner or later…

  3. Rake says:

    Philly is one of the worst places on the planet (or at least the eastern united states). Phils, Iggles, Flyers, etc. fans are even worse. Fortunately, with less offense to speak of (but admittedly great pitching), the Phils are going to disappoint this season, while los Nats are going to surprise a lot of people and put up some solid curly W’s. The re-build, or build, is on!

    – Season ticket holder since ’05.

  4. Tim Krepp says:

    Oh, I like the city of Philadelphia. I even enjoy the people. But slap a jersey on one of them and they, as if by magic, become some of the most wretched human beings to ever walk the face of the earth. It’s actually uncanny.

  5. gina a says:

    I love an underdog. However, when it comes to the Nats, I’m still bitter about how the Lerners took the city to the cleaners to get us to build a stadium and they still moan about paying rent, and withhold it whenever possible. The Lerners are also behind the killing of the M Street complete streets project, since they want to make sure that suburbanites can speed out of the city after a game unencumbered by things like safe pedestrian crossings and bike lanes. God forbid they should hand around in the neighborhood and actually spend money at restaurants on 8th or the Waterfront. So are the Lerners good stewards of a tax-payer supported enterprise, engendering good will with their fans? Not hardly. I just can’t in good conscience support them. It’s basically how I feel about what Dan Snyder has done to the Redskins: squandered years of fan goodwill (I remember the days when you didn’t have to pay to go watch preseason practices!) and created this pitiful loser, um, money-maker for him to play with. To Dan Snyder and the Lerners it’s simply all about the money, how much can we gouge our fans for, not about creating something DC can be proud of and embrace win or lose. But now ask me about Ted Leonsis and how he has treated fans and city residents who have supported the Caps in good years and bad, and there’s someone I support and appreciate and respect as a professional team owner.

  6. Jon Penndorf says:

    Yes…let’s celebrate the Verizon Center with it’s lowest of the low health code issues according to the 2010 ESPN investigative report (based on Health Department inspections). It has done wonders for Penn Quarter (and not so wonderful things for Chinatown).

  7. b says:

    It’s not like Leonsis is personally spitting in every 5th burger (I like those odds). I don’t really care about the Caps or Wiz, but Leonsis is a positive presence who does not take the fans or community for granted. The food services are contracted, and if any owner is willing to take responsibility and address this issue I’m willing to be it’s Leonsis.

    The Nats are a comedy of errors, from the mind games MLB played on the Williams administration to the poor visioning of the “baseball district,” where the least interesting and most obtrusive new design element is the atrocious ball park occupied by an even worse team owned by someone who’d rather convert the whole thing into a suburban mall.

    I’ll stick to my Pirates thank you 😉

  8. asw says:

    i love the Nats!!! i hope to actually go to a game this year, and take my son. just have to find game times that accomodate naptime and bedtime. didn’t there used to be more 4:30 starts?

    as for ther lerners, perhaps the city should FINISH BUILDING THE STADIUM??? the city has a contractual obligation to finish what was promised. a deal is a deal.

  9. MajorBaseballWatcher says:

    Sunday games are almost all 1:35 scheduled starts, and there will now be Nats players available for autographs for 20 minutes prior to gametime, and kids under 12 can run the bases afterward.

    I’ve been to the majority, if not most, stadiums in MLB, and the Nats’ stadium is really pretty awesome. It’s a great combination of traditional (e.g., no TGIFriday’s in the outfield) and modern. While I’m a cranky old man at heart who thinks anything other than hotdogs, peanuts, and beer is too fancy, I think they do a pretty good job all around, with the addition of few/no obstructed views. While I’m separated from my team, they do a pretty good job of satisfying my need for a baseball fix.

    If there were a few neighborhood bars within easy walking distance to go to before and after, we’d be all set.

  10. Kim says:

    I can’t give up on my Cleveland sports teams, but the Nats are definitely “my National League team.” I love going to Nats games and, being a lifelong fan of Cleveland sports, am a firm follower of the “maybe next year” belief system, so that Nats are a great fit for me!

    I, too, have been to a majority of MLB stadiums and I also believe that Nats stadium is well-designed. I go with the more traditional food offerings at MLB games, as well (give me a hot dog and a Bud Light, two things I pretty much never consume unless I’m at a sporting event), but I appreciate the inclusion of some of the local options.

  11. Steve says:

    Right, because Chinatown was so awesome before the Verizon center. The area is generic and full of tourists and teenagers, but way better than the blight that was there before.

  12. Tim Krepp says:

    Got to agree with Steve. Chinatown, as an ethnic neighborhood, was dying because Chinese people haven’t been moving there in twenty years.

    No urban neighborhoods remain static.

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