Nationals Monument

By Norman Chad
Monday, July 14, 2008

To: My home town of Washington

From: A fallen son who will not return

Re: Your new baseball stadium

So, how's that spanking new, paid-for-by-the-people Nationals Park working out? The Nats are 12th out of 16 National League teams in home attendance in the first year of the fresh-faced, gleaming facility -- your tax dollars hard at work!

Washington: First in War, First in Peace and First in Half-Filled State-of-the-Art Ballparks Funded Entirely From Public Coffers That Are Now Nearly Empty.

I first saw the retro ballyard on Opening Day, courtesy of ESPN. It looked like a picture postcard. Outside, the city looks like a living nightmare.

(Sure, some readers may ask: Why are you moaning about the Nationals' new park one week after moaning about the new Yankee Stadium? Because I'm tired of sports franchises feeding off the public dime and I'm tired of the public's compliance in this process. I'm tired of rich men pillaging the poor and then asking them to clean up afterward. If Nero were alive today, he'd be fiddling in a luxury suite at the Colosseum while Rome burned.)

Recently, I jotted down a list of Washington's most pressing concerns:

Better schools, better roads, better crime prevention, better relief pitching, cleaner water, reduction of drug use, containment of rat population, improved two-out hitting, better libraries, better hospitals, better parking, a more reliable second baseman and the homeless.

But there's a new stadium with great sight lines and leather chairs in the club section!!!

The field at Nationals Park is a three-way blend of Kentucky bluegrass. Many D.C. public parks, on the other hand, are a three-way blend of dirt, rocks and broken glass.

(Every time I bring up the stadium-vs.-social-services issue, I am called an old fuddy-duddy. Actually, I'm a middle-aged fuddy-duddy. And guess what? I used to be a young fuddy-duddy. Age is really not a fuddy-duddy factor, my friends.)

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