Unless Mayor Anthony A. Williams's stadium financing package crumbles before our eyes, Washington will have its first Opening Day in 34 years at RFK Stadium in April. Talkbackers, some still in shock, react:
I had a happy childhood with lots of friends, but felt left out of a simple pleasure of going to a baseball game with my dad. My parents took us to Diplomats games (remember them?), and on one occasion my dad and I went to a USFL game at RFK Stadium. I noticed, over the years, a happy glint in my dad's blue eyes as he spoke of walking from my grandfather's roofing company on V Street (the business's sign, Koons Roofing, still adorns the abandoned building) and followed the smell of Wonder Bread to Griffith Stadium. At the end of each memory, the glint would fade in the same way as when he talked of my grandfather, who died before I was born.
I'm 36 now and will finally go to a Washington baseball game with my dad.
Russ Holt, Boyds, Md.
If everyone who said they missed the experience of going to a baseball game in Washington goes to the games, the new team will draw more than 3 million fans to RFK Stadium. Actually, if everyone who said they went to see the Senators actually did, the two teams that left would have stayed.
As my long-suffering wife can tell you, I have fond memories of the Washington Senators -- the originals that moved to Minnesota in 1960, not the expansion replacement team that moved to Texas.
One of my prize possessions is a handwritten note from former Senator Roy Sievers. I have a replica Senators jersey and know the outfield foul lines at old Griffith Stadium were fire hoses. I've had a framed 8-by-10 photo of Griffith Stadium on our bedroom wall for years.
The problem with the new team is that I have no memories of these Expos. Nothing connects me to them; no "waiting till next year" angst; no old bubble gum cards; no connection to Griffith Stadium. I did not grow up rooting for these guys. "My" team moved out of my life in 1960. They can never be replaced.
Larry McClemons, Annandale
Larry, we have to talk. The original Senators -- the Minnesota Twins -- made the playoffs. They're not coming back. You and I are going to meet next year at Zola for the Early Bird, we're going to RFK and start anew. We'll get through this together, Larry, trust me.