Friday, July 21, 2006

Favorite RFK Mess Ups!!



Nats320
With the "Grand Re-Opening" of RFK Stadium slated for this weekend against the Cubs, I thought it would be fun to remember some of my favorite RFK Stadium mess ups from the beginning of 2005.

As anyone that has attended a game at RFK would know, all things Nats is a little off kilter. RFK Stadium has had it problems, from poor sound quality, sometimes too low, sometimes too loud. A scoreboard that continually has the wrong, incorrect information on it. A PA Announcer with no feel for baseball and who acts like everyone's attending the lastest professional wrestling extravaganza. Terrible concessions by Aramark. Always running out of food by the 3rd inning. Long lines to get what little food is available. You really have to love baseball to consistently attend Nats games. RFK is the greatest NO FRILLS baseball park in the game today.

Despite all of that: I have attended every game. And these are some of my favorite bloopers/screwups.

With concessions so bad at RFK, the Nationals sent out a press release in April 2005, stating that fans could bring in bottled water, food and snacks. Just no hard sided coolers, alcohol and sodas. Fine. Sohna and I started to do so immediately after hearing about it. On our first game, after the announcement, April 29th versus the Mets, security tried to stop us from bringing in ANY FOOD, demanding that we trash everything immediately. We refused and got into a huge fight with the CSC Security Folks. It got so heated, CSC wanted to ban us from the park and get Metropolitan Police to arrest us for disorderly conduct. By chance, I happend to see my ticket rep for the Nats walking by the Gate B/Players Entrance. I called him over. He immediately told every security person they were wrong and to leave us alone. To this day, Sohna and I carry a copy of the Chartese Burnett press release with us to everygame stating we can bring food into the game. IDIOTS those CSC employees.

On Saturday, May 14th, 2005, Cubs in DC for the first time ever. It rains something awful, torrential downpours, on and off. The grounds crew gets stuck putting the tarp back down on the field as it rained so hard you could barely see the first base stands from section 320. The tarp gets so heavy with rain, the grounds crew falls down trying to drag it across the diamond. The final result--the 3rd baseline is totally exposed from 3rd to home plate. It became a quagmire. The fans booed the grounds crews mightily. The game finally started at 9:55, nearly 3 hours late--and the 3rd baseline was a mess for the remainder of the game. This was also the night, last call for beer came IN THE FIRST INNING!! Its also the night, a drunken fan ran out onto the wet tarp during the rain delay, slid all over the tarp, eluded about 15 security guards and police officers and ran back into the stands and hid among fans under the overhang behind home plate. He got away with it for about 45 minutes, when, section by section, the security guys finally got him. And, everyone booed the security guards, cheering the drunken fan.

On Opening Day, 2006 (The Nats second season in DC), from the time I arrived for batting practice, approx. 11:30AM, until the end of the first inning. The rotating electronic boards down the right and left field lines continued to say "Welcome to the Washington Nationals Inaugural Season"

On May 5, 2006, Friday game against the Pirates. When Pittsburgh second baseman, Jose Castillo, comes to the plate for the first time, the PA Announcer actually says "Now batting for Pittsburgh, VINNY CASTILLA!!!" We laughed about that for the rest of the game. Still funny today. What a mistake.

June 10, 2006 against the Phillies. Chad Cordero Bobblehead Day. Instead of handing out the Bobblehead as fans enter the stadium, someone decides to, give out vouchers to fans coming through the turnstiles and MAKE EVERYONE THEN GO AND STAND IN LINE ON THE UPPER 300 LEVEL OF CENTERFIELD!! It made absolutely no sense. Many people had to walk halfway around the stadium, just to get the bobblehead, after entering RFK. Plain, STUPID!!. And, yet, the Nats did it again for the Jose Guillen Bobblehead later.

June 8th, 2005, night game with the Oakland Athletics. Screech, My Main Pidgeon, is prancing around in front of the walkway in the bottom of the 6th, during a key moment of the game, with Ryan Church, at the plate--Screech is blocking the entire view of the game, hamming it up, taking pictures, not paying attention to the important moment of the game. I start yelling: "MOVE THE BIRD!!, MOVE THE BIRD" Over and Over again. Section 320 joins in the chorus. Church would triple, scoring 2 and the Nats would go on to win 7-2. But I didn't see it, nor did anyone in our section. As my "Move The Bird" gets louder and louder, Screech's handler grabs him and pushes him into the tunnel to the left of section 320. On the way past me, Screech literally and figuratively "GIVES ME THE BIRD!!" Section 320 was so stunned, no one could say anything, but laugh. That moment has come to define our section and gave rise to my user name: Screech'sBestFriend. Screech's handler gave him a serious talking to after that episode. Now--Screech always blows me kisses as he passes Section 320.

My all time favorite: On June 8, 2006, a Thursday night before an announced crowd of 24,669, the Nationals had Phillies starter, Eude Brito in trouble in the 5th inning. After a Soriano walk, Alfonso steals second, Clayton doubles him home giving the Nats a 3-2 lead. Clayton advances to 3rd on a wild pitch and Nick Johnson doubles off Pat Burrell's bad fielding in left, making the score 4-2 Washington. The Phillies make a pitching change, when Clay Condrey comes running onto the field from the leftfield bullpen. To everyone's surprise, The PA system starts playing the "ROCKY" theme song. THE ROCKY THEME SONG!!! We are playing PHILADELPHIA!! Is there any song more associated with the "City of Brotherly Love" than Rocky. Fans started to Boo. Section 320 went Nuts!! The Nats rally to take a lead and the PA kills the enthusiasm by playing a Phillies rally song. Unbelievable!! Classic screwup!!

This whacky stuff has gone on and on. The humor of it all, far outdistances, the frustrations though. I would love to hear more from others. Those mentioned above are PRICELESS!!.

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