There are also kids like Micah, to whom it’s all fresh and wonderful. “I’ve been a Nationals fan ever since they became a team,” said Micah, who was taken to RFK Stadium at age three. Don’t tell him about Montreal.
But there are many other slices of baseball life here, too, like the 20- and 30-somethings who think a cheap upper deck ticket is actually just a cover charge so they can hang out at the Red Loft bar or hit the picnic benches or the 6,000 “railbird” perches all over the park. They stand in groups, watch the game and keep their food and drinks on a 20-foot-long chest-high bar rail in front of them.
Some days are so perfect that you almost can’t believe your eyes as they transpire before you, even if you hoped they’d come for so long that it almost seemed like forever. On a warm gorgeous weekend, against a first-place Orioles team, that’s what happened on these three jam-packed days. For those who never thought the O’s would be worth watching again as long as Peter Angelos owned them, there is a 27-15 record and promise of better days.
For the 24-17 Nats, on a 95-win pace as MLB passes the quarter-pole of its season, there is hope that, even swamped with major injuries, they may emerge from a tough 33-game stretch of games against AL East and NL East teams (which began with the O’s) with their heads above .500 and their wounded troops returning. Slugger Michael Morse is likely to be back by June 1.
“We’ve got a tough stretch coming up,” said Adam LaRoche, who is hitting .311 and carrying the team with 31 RBI, more than the next two Nats combined. But for now, the Nats aren’t thinking long. They’re enjoying the moment, watching the emergence, the quirks, the mini-milestones of all their young players. Strasburg’s home run trot, for instance, was more of a walk.
By the time he reached second base, he was barely moving forward.
“We’re trying to determine if that was ‘full speed,’ ” said the plodding LaRoche. “He might be the only guy on this team I could beat.”
The Nats and Orioles have three months to go before they can even be considered serious contenders down the stretch this season. But for one packed weekend, capped by a rollicking day, you could see one possible future for baseball hereabouts. And it’s the one we’ve always wanted.
For Thomas Boswell’s previous columns, go to washingtonpost.com/