By Barry Svrluga
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, September 24, 2007
Whether it was the last day at RFK Stadium or not, the Washington Nationals had some important business after yesterday's 5-3 victory over the Philadelphia Phillies: Making as much fun as possible of the 10 rookies on the roster, an annual ritual.
Before the club headed to Union Station for its train ride to New York, each rookie donned a special outfit, ranging from the maid outfit -- featuring fishnet stockings -- of lefty Matt Chico to diapers worn by right-handers Jonathan Albaladejo and Joel Hanrahan to Raggedy Ann pigtails for lefty Ross Detwiler, who needed veteran Tim Redding to hook his bra.
"It's all in fun," Chico said. "If you take it bad, you're not going to have a good time. You got to take your punches."Fans Applaud Young
Several Nationals greeted fans as they entered the park yesterday. Perhaps more than any other player, first baseman Dmitri Young was embraced -- albeit in difficult circumstances. Young hasn't played since being struck by a ground ball Sept. 15 against Atlanta, still has a stiff neck -- and his season could well be over.
But during the postgame ceremonies surrounding the closing of RFK to baseball, Young received a warm round of applause.
"That was absolutely awesome," Young said. "Today was about the fans."
That moment also was about Young's turnaround from a year ago, when he battled legal issues as well as substance abuse problems to become a leading candidate for comeback player of the year.
"It goes to show that you're allowed to make mistakes, but it's how you bounce back from them, and how you turn your life around from your mistakes," he said. "You can be a good example. . . . The best example I can be is live life right." . . .
The crowd of 40,519 -- the largest of the year -- gave the Nationals a total of 1,961,606 tickets sold this year, an average of 24,217 fans a game. That ranks 25th of 30 teams in baseball.
In 2005, when baseball came back to Washington after a 33-year absence, the Nationals drew an average of 33,728 fans -- more than 2.7 million, ranking 11th in baseball. They averaged 26,580 last season.