sprite writes
broodings from the burrow

May 1, 2005

a love poem
posted by soe 3:01 pm

The first local strawberries of the season made it home with us for brunch this morning. Cheerful deep pinkish-red hearts piled in a green cardboard box from the organic farm and its German farmer. The scent of childhood revisited, bringing back memories of lying on the living room rug with a bowl of strawberry shortcake for supper after a long day spent outside. Sweetness unparallelled, not even requiring sugar (which is good because we are almost out). I will not eat them all today. Summer is just around the corner. Forget sugarplums; strawberries will dance in my dreams tonight.

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the real heroes of the game
posted by soe 2:45 pm

Last night the real heroes of the Nationals-Mets game didn’t come on the field until the bottom of the 8th.

Technically, that’s not true. We got a sneak preview of them in the 6th, but their greatness was only hinted at then. But two innings later, when the players and umps finally left the field after innings of pelting rain, that other, more impressive team took the field — the grounds crew team.

It was a downpour. A third of the attendees had left during the first rain delay in the sixth. Another third left when the umps called the second delay. A third of us stayed, knowing the game was probably over, to watch the spectacle — the infield tarp — unfold in front of us.

Except it didn’t.

The grounds crew couldn’t budge the heavy tarp once they got it fully unfurled. Right field was being protected, but the expensive (and, by then, muddy) infield was not.

They called in male members of the “Nat Pack,” a group of young people whose sole purpose up until last night seemed to be to fire t-shirts into the crowd once a game. The tarp inched forward, but it was clear they still needed some extra hands.

Two fans decided to pitch in instead of watching the struggle from afar. As I’d mentioned before, it was clear to all of us that the game would be called — no one was playing on that field again last night. Unfortunately, field management wanted to make sure fans understood that they should not jump onto the field. One man was escorted off the field quietly. The other made a break for it back into the stands, where he was eventually stopped by the field security (and possibly the police). My guess is the first guy was let off with a warning, but the second guy may have gotten himself barred from the park for a while. The fans (and the media) had nothing to do but watch this interaction take place. The cameras raced over to film the fan. The rest of us chanted, “Let him go.” Clearly jumping the barrier isn’t something that should be condoned (since crazed fans could actually hurt a player), but given it took the poor grounds crew another 30 minutes to get the tarp shifted to the infield, it does seem like this might have been a case of overreaction and bureaucracy gone awry.

The grounds crew did eventually get the tarp into position and those of us who’d remained gave them a standing ovation. Then they called the game.


Other game notes: My veggie dog was excellent, as was Rudi’s chorizo … Cheers to the designated driver program, which has switched to two free small sodas instead of one larger one that you finish before the game is over … Jeers to the irritating fan in the next section who yelled obnoxious things at the Mets … A special shout-out to David Wright, who remained in the dug out even after the game was called to sign autographs. This is a fan-friendly player and we appreciate that … Kudos to the Aramark women I chatted with at two different stands during the 6th inning. In a city with noticably terrible customer service, they greeted me with a smile, checked to make sure I was happy with my (free) soda and my pretzel, and left me with a pleasant feeling … Free sample folks were giving out full-size candy bars outside both the Nats game and the Wizards game. A tasty way to cut down on the cost of 8 hours of sporting events … Thanks to Molly and Mike who provided us with enjoyable seatmates and a pen to fill out our All-Star ballots … And a final boo to the rain, which cut the Mets comeback short, 5-3.

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