Having experienced the marvel of Olympic Stadium in Montreal, I wasn’t sure what to expect in the Expo’s renaissance. What I found was knowledgeable baseball fans enjoying a pennant race, albeit for a wild card position. Even though the park looked empty, the fans were loud enough to let the players on the field know they were appreciated. The thing that most sticks out for me was the unwavering friendliness of the stadium employees, who were constantly interacting with the fans. Please see the picture of Marie Washington who represents the Nationals with class.
While there were 32,000 here, up the road apiece in Baltimore, the attendance for a game with Toronto was only 22,000. While that means in the metro area 54,000 people were in attendance, it also emphasizes the affect this team is having on the Orioles.
Way out in the upper deck in left field are at least three seats painted white in contrast to the green seats around them. These are spots hit by Frank Thomas back when the Senators were here. It’s nice to see some tradition at the park. It reminds me of Busch Stadium without the refinements the Cardinals have added. They do have a miniscule video screen high up in right field. They show who’s at bat and that stuff but do not show replays. EVERY inning has some sort of gimmick (Sausage races, hat dances, etc.) which really wears on you as the game progresses. Washington being the city that it is, baseball caps of just about every major league team were in evidence, as well as a great amount of National hats and gear.
One real irritant was the decibel level of the public address system. Music, if you can call it that, before the game required the old fingers to the ear routine to keep from going deaf. Having said that, I did not mind the volume when the National Anthem was sung by non other than Placido Domingo, director of the Washington Opera at the Kennedy Center.
Also, for you Red Sox fans, Sweet Caroline is a sixth inning standard here.
ll in all, an enjoyable experience and a pleasure to watch National League baseball again.
- Joe Wagg