Baseball's return to Washington after a 34-year absence has been trumpeted internationally by the media this season.
But, it could appear, word has not reached planet Hollywood.
Last Sunday, producers of the new ABC series "Commander in Chief" filmed a scene in which star Geena Davis, playing the president of the United States, throws out the first pitch . . . at Baltimore's Oriole Park at Camden Yards.
To some, that was akin to shooting a stock market scene in Newark.
"Unless the show is a period piece, shouldn't they have reflected the new reality that baseball has returned to D.C.?" wondered Michael Epstein, a District resident who was at the Orioles game.
On the list of Washington snubs -- no representation in Congress; the constitutional banning of a commuter tax; the initial decision by cable station ESPN to bypass the District during its recent tour of the country's 50 states -- the TV taping might not rank particularly high.
But some fans at Sunday's game wondered why the television crew was not shooting the scene 35 miles south at Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Stadium, where the Nationals were playing the St. Louis Cardinals.
"My question is," Epstein said, "why was this scene being filmed in Camden Yards when the appropriate place for such a scene would now be RFK Stadium, home of the Washington Nationals?"
A D.C. morning radio show was so outraged that the deejays unsuccessfully attempted to track down James Spies, a producer of "Commander in Chief," which premieres late this month.
Spies said he wants to set the record straight. The Baltimore staging was not intended to slight the District, he said, and, no, "Commander in Chief" did not shoot at Oriole Park because the show thought that ballpark was more beautiful than RFK.
The fact is, Spies said, one of the show's writers wanted to use RFK when the script was being written a few months ago. The production schedule, however, called for shooting during a week in mid-August when the Nationals were on a 13-day road trip.
So the producers, negotiating for stadium access with Major League Baseball, requested Oriole Park. When the production schedule was delayed by two weeks, the stadium shot was rescheduled for a day when both the Orioles and Nationals played at home. But by then, it was too late to change the preparations, Spies said.
"In the beginning, we wanted to use the Nationals and RFK because it made sense and was cheaper, since we're already based out of here," said Spies, who has been living in Washington during the shooting of other scenes, including one in which Davis rows with a crew team on the Potomac River.
Chartese Berry, spokeswoman for the Nationals, said she was not aware of any requests made by "Commander in Chief" producers to use RFK. She said, however, that all negotiations for broadcasting rights from out of town are handled by Major League Baseball because of licensing issues.
Oriole Park has been a popular location for movies and television shows. During the ballpark's inaugural season in 1992, actor Kevin Kline threw out a staged ceremonial pitch for his 1993 movie "Dave," in which he plays, yes, the president of the United States.
Berry said no one from Hollywood has come through RFK this season, though a Discovery Channel team shot something there recently for a documentary about football.
In Hollywood, where computer-generated images can create battles with aliens, not everything one sees is necessarily what it looks like. Because Major League Baseball refused to allow the "Commander in Chief" scenes to be filmed while fans were in the stands, most of the shooting was done well before the game.
The 200 or so extras sat in one section and were filmed from many angles, Spies said, so the images can be digitally re-created to look as though the stadium was full. The footage can be seen in the season's sixth episode and possibly the 13th, he added. Because Davis threw the pitches in Baltimore, the script will relate to the Orioles, not the Nationals.
After filming, Davis threw out the game's ceremonial first pitch.
The stadium issue, however, prompts a related question: Why were such D.C. residents as Epstein watching the Orioles instead of the Nationals?
For one thing, Epstein said, he is a Mets fan. But there was another reason. "I've had a Sunday plan up there for three or four years," he said. "I wanted to show [owner] Peter Angelos that the Orioles won't suffer because of the Nationals."