Well, this is it, we have finally come full circle and arrived back in Washington DC. I previously posted: Super ‘running’ Man on the streets of Washington DC (May 7th), Washington Part I (May 10th) and the Washington Ball not long after that and now we have Washington Part II which will be closely followed by Washington Part III. Getting these next two posts out will be a bit of a marathon so I have decided to go with the good old standby of ‘tart it up and bash it out’.
So, on a beautiful Washington evening we headed to Nationals Park to see a baseball game. Now baseball in America is what the State of Origin is to Queenslanders and New South Welshman and what AFL is to Victorians! Jacques Barzun once said ‘whoever wants to know the heart and mind of America had better learn baseball’ and I think he may have been right. It is a religion, a belief and a way of life but given that, do not watch baseball on TV. You really have to be at the ground and at a live game.
Baseball has the longest history of any sport in this country. I do love this game and there is so much to love from the crazy mascots (and every team has one) to the animated and spirited team supporters to the pre-game ceremonies. At all ball parks before the game you will be required to stand up, remove your hat and sing the nations National Anthem, ‘The Star-Spangled Banner’. If this does not bring a tear to your eye then there is something seriously wrong with your emotional wiring.
To me, baseball is romance and passion. It is a national pastime and I have to say that most females look damn good in a team shirt and baseball cap. Baseball is also a game of statistics however you don’t have to like maths in order to appreciate or follow it. There are lots of rules but really, just sit back and enjoy.
Now the casual observer may think baseball is a boring game but that is definitely not the case and there is no better sound than that of a well hit ball coming off the bat. And generally, every single person in that stadium knows what that sound means. Its a dinger! A home run! And a home run is what everyone is there to see.
We have been so fortunate to have been able to see a couple of major league games and we have been in some of the most beautiful old stadiums in America which are now historic landmarks. Nationals Park in Washington is a very sleek and modern stadium. Lots of glass and stainless steel which makes it quite beautiful in a contemporary way. The tickets were also very cheap and there was a mid-fourth-innings foot race called the ‘Presidents Race’. This is an oddly strange yet surprisingly fun foot race between giant headed caricatures of past presidents including Thomas Jefferson, Teddy Roosevelt, Abraham Lincoln, George Washington and William Taft…..my money was on one of my favorite presidents, Teddy Roosevelt however William Taft was the winner on the night.
So what do you need for a perfect night of baseball in DC? Well I’ll tell you:
- A beautiful Washington evening
- Great seats in the stands
- Cold beer in plastic cups
- A darn good hotdog (that’s a must, especially the foot-long) and don’t be shy. You have to load that baby up with ketchup, mustard, onions, sauerkraut and cheese!
- A presidential foot race
- Crackerjacks – the original (and don’t be fooled by imitators) caramel coated popcorn. It has been around for almost 120 years.
- And the best part…. a communal sing-a-long to ‘Take me out to the ball game’ with the words up on the big screen and a bouncing baseball pointing them all out.
The sing-a-long up on the big screen complete with words and bouncing baseball………just priceless (and so much fun). I think it maybe the most sung song during summer in America.
Fan of the game that night and you had to give it to him. Fans dress up or do something attention grabbing for the cameras in a bid to gain the illustrious honor of being named ‘fan of the game’….its a big deal too!
‘The Presidents Race’
There are just some things in life you have to experience and baseball for me is one of them. Babe Ruth once famously said ‘baseball was, is and always will be to me the best game in the world’ and I have to agree so……
Take me out to the ball game
Take me out with the crowd
Buy me some peanuts and crackerjacks
I don’t care if I never get back
Let me root, root, root
For the home team
If they don’t win it’s a shame
For it’s one,
Three strikes you’re out
At the old ball game……. xx