Paint The Town (d)Re(a)d

Monday, July 24, 2006

So I was on hand this past weekend for one of the Nats games against the Cubs that was billed as the "Grand ReOpening of RFK".....the name of the event being "Paint the Town Red". According to the Washington Post the following was to take place over the 3-Game long series.

  • "Red Carpet" Treatment
  • A different giveaway each day of a Hat, T-shirt, and Towel
  • Players greeting and signing Autographs
  • The New Owners greeting the fans
  • Introduction of New Foods and New Foodcourt
  • Cutting of Prices
  • According to Opposum-Palooza, Giant headed President races
  • More kids activities and games
  • Music before, during, and after the game
So let's analyze what we (the fans) really got, and since I'm a skeptic....this isn't going to be pretty.

First of all I went on Sunday at 1pm, and apparently the "hoopla" was worn about by now. I made it to the parking lot, and noticed the most important change that they hadn't decided to make.....parking was still $12.

RFK OUTSIDE: On the walk up to the stadium I noticed the new "Fan Fest" section which is in the middle of a blocked off road between the Main Parking Lot and the Metro Exit. It looked relatively fun (as does anything with a moon bounce and a ball pit), but the placement is just awkward. I'd be surprised if anyone even walks over to it. I then crossed the street and noticed that the "Red Carpet" wasn't smelling too hot. I don't know if it was the material, but the whole front of the stadium smelled like dung. There was also an Olde Tyme three person band playing by the ticket booth, so there was the first music sighting of the day. I walked up to the ticket window and proceeded to ask for the $7 Upper Deck Deadspin Special (if anyone ever comes to a game with me I will show you the fine art of stealing lower level seats, which I've been honing for the last 20 years of my life). I was immediately told that weekend tickets are $12 (which I already knew) and proceeded to note that ticket prices were exactly the same in every section......

Note: No players or owners outside (The pic is from Friday)

RFK INSIDE: Walking in I received my "Paint the Town Red" Towel. Now I know it's my fault for not going to the first two games, but I was really banking on Sunday being the T-shirt day. The towel was tiny and the logo was already coming off from the heat, but hell....it's free. I grabbed a Guinness (which I hadn't noticed they offered before at RFK) and proceeded to climb up to the 500 level (you can't just go seat jacking in the first...you have to give it four innings at least).

On the way up the ramp I noticed the new "Food Court" between levels. It's a quaint little place with about 5-7 different booths where people can pick different foods. The only problem.....IT'S IN BETWEEN TWO SECTIONS ON ONE SIDE OF THE STADIUM!!! How does that even constitute an upgrade? Finally comfortable in my seats, in section 548, I was treated to even MORE music as The Pat McGee Band was rocking the stadium. If you're not familiar with said PMB all you need to know is that there's another band with very similar initials that they are apparently trying to imitate. Well Pat sang the National Anthem and later God Bless America.....there's your music before, during, and after.

DURING THE GAME: Once "newly" planted in section 206 (about the 20th row or so) I started watching the crowd. As the Nats were taking it to the Cubs I noticed that everyone was having a wondrous time. Everyone was waving towels, and dancing to the "Pump It" song when Soriano came up in the 4th Inning. Soriano proceed to blast a ball into just about the Left Field Upper Deck (it landed in the Terrace Seats) and it's that moment that the true DC fans came out of their "Pageantry" induced comas. About 31,000 people collectively turned to each other and said, "They better not trade that kid." Everyone stood for the entire last out of the game (which hasn't happened during a DC Sporting event in the past 15 years without having you yelled at). The game ended soon after and the Nats had just swept the Cubs to move up to last place in the division.

AFTER THE GAME: This is the point of any experience where I begin to pick apart things as best a pessimist can. Maybe it was because I came during the last game of the series, but things seemed more of a cover-up than anything. As Nats fans were giving the Cubs fans the business I couldn't help to think that DC Fans were again being brainwashed....again.

The Nationals are still in last place. So much so that a sweep only pulled them within 3 games of the second to last place Phillies. They are 16.5 games behind the NL East leading Mets and are third to last in the entire National League. They are on the verge of trading the only player worth the price of admission on the team in Soriano. And no matter how much you polish a turd....RFK is still a 45 year old stadium. Prices weren't cut, the Foodcourt was found only by chance, the music sucked, the giveaway was cheap, I didn't meet any players or owners, and most importantly I missed the damn President's race while I was stealing lower level seats in the fourth.

THE DAY AFTER: Here's where it gets bad. I'm an Orioles fan...I always have been, and unfortunately always will. But over the past two years the Nats have had a chance to take the honor of being my favorite "National League Team". I generally like the players, I have fun at the games, and it's only 6 miles from my house. But even after this weekend I open up the "Virtual" Papers and find nothing but negativity.

MLB is accusing the DC government of missing deadlines that could threaten the April 2008 opening of the new ballpark.

This was the perfect opportunity for the Nationals to "steal" Orioles fans in Northern Virginia like myself (I mean come on the Orioles just called up Fernando Tatis!), but they botched this like everything else so far.

The Soriano trade watch has him going to a different team almost daily. With the new wrinkle being that he wants a No-Trade Clause.

"I've never in my career -- three teams, all these many seasons, [even with] all-stars, Hall of Famers -- no one has ever had a no-trade contract," Kasten said. "That's just a matter of history. . . . I have a philosophy about that. You can give a guy what you want, you can pay as much as you want. What you can't give away is your power to improve your club."- Stan Kasten, New Nationals President.

And even as I'm writing this down there's more to piss me off about the Nationals. Apparently The White Sox are "extremely close" to trading for Nationals outfielder Alfonso Soriano, a source close to the situation told ESPN The Magazine's Tim Kurkjian. The Nationals have great interest in pitcher Brandon McCarthy......that's right Brandon "Stuck in the Bullpen" McCarthy. Just shoot me now.

I have just one thing to say to the Lerners and Stan Kasten....actually make that 31,000 things. You Better Not Trade This Guy.


Posted by Awful Announcing- at 3:40 PM

14 Comments:

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zions bank internet banking said...
Jul 24, 2006, 7:52:00 PM  

Sorry you didn't have a great experience. They were pretty clear about what they were giving away on each day; admittedly, the "towels" were lame, which is one reason why I had no interest in going on Sunday. (The hat and T-shirt are nice though.)

Agree about the terrace food court- difficult to find- but there really are more options for food and beer, provided one can find them. (Lower level seemed to be better for that sort of thing.) And the "value" meal isn't such a bad deal after all.

DCSportsChick said...
Jul 24, 2006, 9:59:00 PM  

Normally I'm a pessimist too, but I didn't think the game on Sunday was too bad. Yeah, the towel was a piece of crap and I didn't notice the smell of the rug, nor did I see the food court. How much improvement could they really do? This is still RFK. I did enjoy the president race, even if it was a cheap imitation of the Brat race in Milwaukee.

Coming from the midwest and growing up watching games at Riverfront stadium, I'm used to crappy stadiums. Give the owners a chance - they have to deal with the City Council, which is enough to drive any self respecting person over the edge.

Oh, and I'm all for trading Soriano. I like how he wants to stay here, but the ceiling is so high right now on what we can get it would be ridiculous not to trade him. Never fear though, Bowden's stupidity will find some way to screw up the situation.

DavidC said...
Jul 25, 2006, 11:03:00 AM  

the nats might as well get something for soriano since it's pretty clear that he won't re-sign with them. beyond that, are you really going to denigrate mccarthy just because he's stuck in the bullpen?!

guillen loves his veterans no matter how much they suck, so of course their best young pitcher gets mop-up duty. if bowden can pry mccarthy away, that will be his second fleecing of a team in as many months.

Anonymous said...
Jul 25, 2006, 1:45:00 PM  

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You missed good times on Sat. at the game; I might have gotten drunk. I have an extra tshirt if you want one.

I thought the new food court was great, you can get margaritas and some other shit. And beer.

When they played "Sweet Caroline" (something I hate) there was a super weird picture of Neil D. It cannot be described.

Steve said...
Jul 25, 2006, 1:54:00 PM  

Steve- Hahahaha I saw it. That was the highlight of the day. I need to find that picture.

Onto McCarthy...he started 10 of 12 games last year and was not that stellar. He is a great prospect, but I don't think equal to Soriano (especially in ticket sales). The latest from Kenny Williams is that he is "absolutely" not part of the trade, and neither is Josh Fields. I don't see how it gets done without them.

AwfulAnnouncing said...
Jul 25, 2006, 2:03:00 PM  

The Nats are going to be a 'bummer' and disappointment as long as they continue to have, for lack of a better word, lame fans. I'm sorry, but the place is filled with about 10,000 fans rooting for the opposing team for the first pitch, then by the third inning about 20,000 National ‘fans’ suddenly show up dressed as only a square white man can dress (either pressed polo, tucked in with kakis and a ‘Nats’ hat bought about five minutes earlier or dress shirt with tie, usually not loosened). They have a 'beer' at try to talk about baseball for about ten minutes, only then to either end up talking about the fierce battle going on in the 7th district Georgia State Senate race or some bizarre law subject for the next four innings. Everyone gets up, sings TMOTTBG and leaves; once again there are 10,000 fans rooting for the opposing team.

It's not RFK that’s the problem, and sure the 'act' MLB pulled for a year and a half didn't help, but it's the fans. Until new ownership can create a few people who care more about the Nationals, than say, Maryland basketball, it’s going to be a disappointment every time you go to a game.

Otter said...
Jul 25, 2006, 2:10:00 PM  

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AwfulAnnouncing said...
Jul 25, 2006, 2:53:00 PM  

It sounds like much of the heralded "upgrades" are hardly anything at all. Hey...atleast you got a mini towel for your $12 to go along with a sweep of the Cubs.

I wouldn't worry too much about Soriano to the White Sox for Brandon McCarthy. Word here out of Chicago is that the deal won't happen. I would love to see him on the Southside, but I think that the NAts are asking too much for him...which they should. The guy is a top 5 hitter in the league now.

Jul 25, 2006, 2:55:00 PM  

So you ignored all of the advertising that the reduced price tickets weren't going on sale until Tuesday -- and chose to complain about that. Sounds like your fault more than anyone's.

Also, saying that Nats fans haven't stood for the final out is just plain wrong. They stood just about every time Chad Cordero had a chance to get a save at home last season. Not much to cheer about this year.

It's still RFK, you can polish a turd all you want, and it's still going to be a turd. Any improvement, be it additional concession stands or ushers who aren't complete dicks, or reduced prices in the sparsely populated outfield seats is better than what they have been doing under MLB's stewardship.

I'd say Ryan Zimmerman and the potential he shows is worth the price of admission -- but he is no Soriano.

Sakuraba said...
Jul 25, 2006, 3:38:00 PM  

Seems awfully convenient to say prices are going to be lowered, but only after this FABULOUS weekend. That ticks me off even more.

Zimmerman is still young, but he will be a stud (if not already), but if Soriano and even Livan get traded that lineup will be pretty poor.

AwfulAnnouncing said...
Jul 25, 2006, 3:53:00 PM  

FYI, Guiness was always there. Unfortunately, so were the prices.

Here's my write-up, which says what you said, only shorter:
http://garfieldridge.typepad.com/garfieldridge/2006/07/the_new_rfk_sta.html

Cheers,
Dave at Garfield Ridge

Jul 25, 2006, 4:10:00 PM  

I had fun on both Friday and Sunday, but the beer probably had something to do with it. Friday's free hat was actually pretty nice.
Biff and I finally posted photo essay of Friday's happy fun RFK time at the O-P, including the Presidents' Race.

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Jul 25, 2006, 4:15:00 PM  

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