This past weekend was the first Labor Day in a few years that Mrs. RLS and I didn’t leave home in the Nation’s Capital for the holiday. Traveling anywhere on this weekend has become nothing short of a nightmare so why stress ourselves out in traffic for half the weekend when we could just relax at home? Plus we had some family move down recently and there’s plenty to do right around here, which included heading to Nats Park on Saturday for a Mets-Nats game.
Now, being a fan of the team in the city sandwiched between these two towns (a team that’s long been out of any postseason race), this was probably the last game anyone would expect us to be at, but, hey, it’s a holiday weekend, we’re fans of baseball, tickets were (as usual) cheap as all hell, and it was Miller Lite Party Nite, so why the hell wouldn’t we go?
Good question. But after this game in particular, we may have a reason moving forward.
Going into the game I had a plan for a post that I was going to put together about what a third-party-fan is supposed to wear when they find themselves in a situation like this—which will still be happening—but something else happened during the course of the game that trumped any other piss-poor idea that I could’ve come up with.
In the midst of some lighthearted heckling of the Nats overpaid right fielder (we were in the second row right behind where JaYson Werth is stationed, so it would’ve been a wasted opportunity to not heckle the man), among other things, we discovered that we were sitting behind one of the most bitter human beings on the face of the planet.
A little background to the story to help set the tone for this encounter: About an hour before game time the four people in our group—Mrs. RLS, myself, my cousin, and my cousin’s lady—spent some time at the Bullpen right outside of Nats Park, which is basically a bunch of stacked trailers that surround a stage where live music is played, and where beer is sold for half the price of the same watered-down liquid inside the stadium, thus resulting in a decent amount being consumed prior to joining the rest of the crowd there to see the on-field action. We stayed there right up until the middle of the first inning. By the time we wandered into the stadium and got to our seats, it was now the bottom of the second and the Nats were down 2-0. Werth, Ian Desmond, and Adam LaRoche were set down in order, which brought about the start of one of the longest innings that I’ve ever experienced in person.
The Mets tacked on six runs in the top of the third, running Dan Haren from the game after just 2 and 2/3’s innings. I mean, it got ugly quick. The inning dragged on for a good 20-25 minutes, and that meant we had a good 20-25 minutes of heckling Werth, mocking the lack of useful scoreboards around the stadium (seriously though, from our seats we couldn’t see the jumbotron that was being blocked by the seats above us, which would usually just mean that you’d have to look at the thin boards around the second deck of the infield, but at Nats Park ALL of the infield boards are used to display nothing but advertisements—you don’t even get so much as the pitch speed or the time from the god-awful things—incredibly poor form there), and (God help us) pretending to be Mets fans. We were not, by any means, the only people partaking in said heckling (a good 40 percent of the 37,000 on hand that night were Metropolitan supporters), but being fans of the Philadelphia variety, as expected, we stood out above the rest with our witty humor, intelligent quips, and boisterous, well-tuned vocal chords. A good time was being had by all. Or so we thought…
At some point between realizing his team was down 9-0, not knowing what time it was or the pitch count or how many outs there were, and coming to grips with the fact that he’s a “die-hard” fan of a team that has won absolutely nothing since abandoning Montreal and moving to Washington except for one measly NL East title, this guy…
…decided it’d be a good idea to try talk back to two of the best talk-backers in the game.
Of the things he said that he thought were excellent zingers (P.S. these are direct quotes recorded by this resourceful blogger):
In response to Werth being overpaid: “Sure the first two years were rough, but he’s playing lights out right now! So, no, he’s not being overpaid.”
And where’s that getting you? So you’re paying him $16 mil this year to have one of his better years in recent memory for a team that isn’t going anywhere. He picked the perfect time to be playing “lights out.” But I guess once every three years will make that $125 million worth it?
“Oh, are you guys from Philly? Where’s your team in the standings right now?”
(Sidenote: Prior to this moment, we never actually identified ourselves as Philly fans. We made a point to not wear anything Philly. This kid just had the nose, I guess, to sniff us out. Or maybe we just barked at Werth ten too many times…) Incredibly far back, my friend, but I accepted that fact months ago. Meanwhile, you’re sitting here decked out in Kid D-Bag’s jersey (Bryce Harper), holding on to a nonexistent thread of hope dat dem Nats are gonna go on some crazy run to make the playoffs. Trust me, missing by just that much makes it hurt so much worse in the end.
“You’re team’s not even playing so why are you even here?”
Because I like baseball.
“Well, thanks for showing up and helping pay some of that $16 million, idiots.”
Didn’t/still doesn’t deserve a response, but we shot back with a “Well so are you.” Childish, yes, but his response opened up a whole ‘nother can of #Natitude.
“Actually no. Didn’t pay a dime for these seats. Free seats, baby.”
We skipped over this, but retroactively a phenomenal response here (but again, extremely childish) would have been: First, I ain’t your baby… Second, so mommy got those for ya, did she? Instead we went with, “Well, sorry that your free seats were right in front of us. Next time you should pick better.” … Hindsight…
“How about you guys just stop talking. All your complaining is ruining my experience. Just shut up and watch the game.”
Our apologies. We didn’t realize that, out of the 40,000 people here engaging in anything from light talking to extreme, eardrum-busting non-human noises, it’s our talking that bothers you. You just turn right back around there and we’ll make sure that the next time we want to engage in some harmless heckling that we check with you to make sure that it won’t ruin your experience. Seriously, though, you sure it isn’t the 9-0 score that’s got the bug up your ass or that your team is, yet again, choking under incredibly lofty expectations? Just saying. (Meanwhile, the Mets tacked on another 2 runs, and the most incredibly ridiculous elder-aged female Mets fan I’ve ever seen went absolutely nuts when they scored those runs, and if anyone deserved to be told to shut their trap, it was that lady. She was certainly ruining my experience.)
There were a few more jabs thrown in about how far back we were, countered by how many World Series titles their franchise has (big fat glazed doughnut there—which, by the way Steelers fans, felt incredibly awesome to be able to throw in someones face…), or even how many pennants (another zero there as well). Don’t get me wrong, I’ve experienced some terrible heckling in my time, and what we were doing was far, FAR from anything that was of that caliber. This kid, obviously, just had some mommy issues or is a few decades behind developmentally.
I’m surprised, honestly, that I haven’t come across more Nats fans like this in my time, just given the class of people that I’ve experienced on the roads and in the city since moving here. Maybe the total assholes really are few and far between. Let’s not have this be the start of a trend, D.C., otherwise we’re going to have some serious issues.
Were we in the wrong here? I’d love to get a conversation going on this.