With the rapidly approaching prospect of Nationals playoff games running past Metro’s closing time, the issue is finally attracting more widespread attention. Metro Board Chairman Jack Evans sounded off about the matter this week, saying at a breakfast that “it’s going to look foolish if 15,000 people have to get up and leave the game. … It’s just an embarrassment that as the nation’s capital, one of the major cities in the world, our subway system closes. It’s crazy.” And then on Friday, Nats ace Max Scherzer chimed in himself.

“God, I would hope to believe that playoff games here in D.C. would mean more than shutting down the lines for a couple hours,” he told Grant Paulsen and Danny Rouhier on 106.7 The Fan. “I mean, isn’t it a supply-and-demand issue? We have a supply of people that demand to use the line to go to the park. Why wouldn’t you want to meet that?”

When Metro announced its SafeTrack maintenance effort last spring, early openings and late closings were temporarily suspended. General Manager Paul Wiedefeld has opposed any exceptions for special events, the presidential inauguration aside. Metro has since declined to make exceptions for the Redskins or for the Marine Corps Marathon. The program is meant to maximize maintenance time on the besieged system, and one special request granted would lead to others, Metro has argued.

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“That explanation is really weak in my opinion,” Scherzer said Friday. “There could be more to this story, and I could be missing it, but if that’s the only reason — if slippery slope is the reason — wow. I don’t understand that.”

Paulsen and Rouhier have both argued that Metro should make an exception here, and they talked to Scherzer about their desire for the park to be packed and loud in the later innings.

“I mean, what, are we gonna have the seventh-inning stretch and then, ‘Oh no, Metro line closes and the fans can’t stay?’ ‘It’s the playoffs, but nice seeing you?’ ” Scherzer asked. “It’s a slippery slope; if we stay for the ninth inning that would create a slippery slope around here.”

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The last northbound Green Line train that guarantees successful transfers leaves the Navy Yard station at 11:20. For fans to catch that train would likely require a three-hour playoff game. The Nationals could play up to 10 playoff games this fall: three in the divisional round if they wind up hosting the Dodgers, four in the championship series if the Cubs are upset, and three in the World Series. (The NL World Series representative is scheduled to host games 3, 4 and 5 this year, on Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights.)

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In 2012 and 2014, outside parties agreed to pay for any service needed outside of regular Metro hours: American University in 2014 and Living Social in 2012. But the Nats wound up playing just five home playoff games in those two seasons. Four of the five games began in the afternoon, and the two that went late happened on a Friday and a Saturday night, when the system still employed later weekend hours.

In any case, Paulsen and Rouhier assured Scherzer that they have been complaining about this issue.

“I can only ask you to complain more,” the pitcher told them. 

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