Please don’t read books about Congress at Nats games

September 4, 2013
(Via Reader Bob)
(Via Reader Bob)

I’ve now posted more photos of fans reading and knitting and otherwise ignoring the action at Nats Park than I can recall. In virtually all of these cases, my stance is “this is a funny image, but meh, whatever.”

As I’ve written before, I frequently go to Nats games as a spectator myself, and while so engaged, I frequently do not watch the action. Even when I am faced toward the playing field, I’m more likely to be staring at my phone than watching the men in pants way down there below.

So really, I’m all for live and let live. But I’d like to hereby make an exception, spurred on by this fan, whom Reader Bob spotted on Sunday night.

Bryce Harper is at the plate — “you know, the guy whose at-bats you should really pay attention to,” Bob noted — and this fan, as you can see, is reading a book. No problem there. But Bob has a super zoom-in death-ray camera, allowing him to ascertain that our friend is actually reading a chapter called “Congress as the Board of Directors: Authorizing the Work of Government.”

“Only in DC,” as Bob put it.


(Via Reader Bob)
(Via Reader Bob)

That chapter, as you’ve no doubt already realized, comes from Congress in Context, the 440-page textbook written by John Haskell, a senior fellow with the Government Affairs Institute at Georgetown University. “Grounded in current political science literature and packed with real-life examples, Congress in Context offers readers an informed and practical understanding of policymaking in the legislative branch,” according to the book’s publisher.

This simply won’t do. Too many of us in This Town have spent far too many years telling people that D.C. isn’t just Federal Washington, that people here live fully formed lives devoid of white marble and the Brothers Brooks, that this is a real community with real institutions — neighborhood restaurants, community associations, musicians and artists, beloved sports franchises.

Seriously, just imagine what a visitor would think were he to show up at a ballgame and see you ignoring the ball team — and specifically, a Bryce Harper at-bat — in favor of a text on the three key roles of Congress within the federal government, a text guided by the metaphor of Congress as a board of directors?

So, ignore the game. Knit a sweater. Bring your favorite novel. But please, everyone: no books about Congress.

Dan Steinberg writes about all things D.C. sports at the D.C. Sports Bog.
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