A desperate plea for attention? A long-awaited chance to finally punch up instead of always punching down? A desire not to write another column about a middling team? A deep and abiding hate of large mascot costumes?
Whatever the reason, Philadelphia Daily News columnist David Murphy decided to litter his Nats clinch piece with shots at the D.C. Nine’s game-day experience. Some diehard Nats fans would say these are deserved shots, but still, way to toss rice cakes onto the champagne parade.
Nationals Park is not a place of nuance. It is all concrete and aluminum and national advertisements; game day is a succession of desperate gimmicks broken up by nine innings of baseball. During the early stages of Monday night’s game, it was not immediately clear which was greater: the dramatic tension that surrounded the Nationals’ unresolved quest to clinch the NL East, or that which surrounded a foam Teddy Roosevelt’s quest to clinch his first-ever victory in a race against other presidential mascot/caricatures. See, the mascot race, while cliche from its inception, has nevertheless evolved to occupy a central role in the Nationals Park game-day experience, with poor Teddy doing his best Bull Moose Party impression and falling flat on his face during each competition….
Without a doubt, it is different here. The excitement is more manufactured, the emotion less raw than it is in the historic sporting hotbeds of the Northeast, where the meaning of the mission has been passed down for generations.
The meaning of the mission? I mean, I thought the meaning of the mission was just to have fun. Not saying that the baseball should be secondary to races and gimmicks and ads, but golly, there’s an awful lot of raw emotion in certain cities that I could do without. I prefer my emotions partially cooked. Or maybe fully boiled.
Anyhow, whatever. If Murphy wanted to get Nats fans to pay attention, he probably succeeded.