When baseball players get old, manager often rest them when a day game follows a night game. The Nationals did not rest their oldest player and I followed suit. Both decisions worked out pretty well.
On Friday I rode to work as usual. I had not been to the first two games of the Nationals home stand because they were against the Orioles and Orioles fans are obnoxious. On Friday, the Colorado Rockies came to town so I decided to ride to the game after work.
Just after parking my bike at the bike valet, I ran into Klarence. After about a 20 minute talk it became clear that Klarence seems to have won the happiness lottery. Seeing someone like this reminds me of Dave Stoller’s dad in Breaking Away: “I didn’t want you to be this miserable. A little bit’s all I asked for.” There’s not a little bit of miserable in Klarence these days. Way to go, Klarence.
We split up on the way to our seats. Klarence, as usual, went to the cheap seats. I somehow managed to find a (relatively) inexpensive seat on the Club level behind home plate about 1/3rd of the way up in the stands. The concourse behind the seats is enclosed and air conditioned. I didn’t make much use of the posh concourse because it was breezy out, but the food selections are pretty decent.
I sat in a folding chair with a big padded seat. I had to keep my eyes on the game because foul balls could come shooting back at any time. Eek. (Only one did and missed my row by 40 feet. It’s way more dangerous out in left field where rockets come booming in when pitchers get tired.)
The game was fun. The home team won. I got to ride home in the dark which is one of my favorite things. On the way home. I saw two lights ahead in the dark. A young deer was standing next to the trail paralyzed by my headlight. A few minutes later I saw another set of lights. This time the critter ran off before I could id it.
For some silly reason, I stayed up to almost 3 am.
At 8:30 I crawled out of bed. Groggy. By 10:30 I was back on my bike headed for Nats Park for a 1 pm game. Without adequate sleep I was a zombie on the bike. Deets did his best to keep me moving forward but the headwind was not floating my boat one bit.
My seats this day were out in left field. For most of the game I sat in the hot sun. I spent far more on fluids (soda and water, no beer) than my seat. A woman a few rows in front of me disappeared for an inning. She came back in different clothes. After about three hours, shadows from the first base side of the ball park brought cooling comfort.
The game was actually not all that exciting until the Nationals rallied in the bottom of the 9th. The player who had the game tying hit was the oldest player on the field who should have taken the day off. So props to the Nats left fielder Jason Werth for making an old bike commuting fan happy. (When he came out to play left field after his big hit, all the fans in my section gave him a standing ovation. He subtly pointed at us and nodded in appreciation.)
One way to tell how hot it was is to look at the picture below. Nearly all the fans in direct sunlight in the grandstand behind center and right field had evacuated. The game went into extra innings. They never got any shade. I suspect most of them had left anyway.
The Nationals lost the game in 11 innings. The ride home was surprisingly enjoyable. I am proud to say that despite having ample reasons to do so, I did not cuss out a single Lance Mamilot. I did not say the f-word once to the tourists who blocked the entire width of the trail despite obviously impeding cyclists going in both directions. (Maybe they came there from the outfield grandstand and their brains were fried.)
Even though I hydrated like a camel, I woke up dehydrated. So no bike for me today. I will drive into DC to scout out parking for the 50 States Ride in two weeks. (It’s sold out but you can still participate for free by signing up to be a pit stop volunteer here or a course ride marshal here.) After my recon work, I will go over to Atlas Brew Works for the #bikedc fundraiser. I don’t plan on drinking but it will be a good chance to reconnect with #bikedc people after having been out of touch for most of the summer. Cheers.