WASHINGTON — Charlie Slowes offered some sage advice to Nationals fans ahead of Friday’s start to the NLDS against the Dodgers.
The Nats play-by-play announcer was asked Wednesday, during a pep rally for the team hosted by 106.7 The Fan’s Grant Paulsen and Danny Rouhier, what fans should do to best support the home team.
“Come early. Stay late. Be loud,” Slowes said. “And don’t count on the Metro.”
“Drive. Drive. Drive,” he added.
Late last week, prior to Major League Baseball announcing the times for Games 1 and 2 at Nationals Park, there was concern about Metro — one of the more preferred modes of transportation for Nats fans — not staying open late enough for fans to stay for the duration of the games.
There was infighting among Metro spokespersons over the transit system’s public stance on making a special exception for playoff baseball, with Metro board chairman Jack Evans arguing “it’s going to look foolish if 15,000 people have to get up and leave” the nationally televised games.
Metro general manager Paul Wiedefeld countered with a slippery slope rebuttal, arguing if Metro — which has been shutting down service overnight as part of ongoing infrastructure repairs — stayed open late for the Nats, it would be requested to do the same for other big events.
Nationals ace Max Scherzer even weighed in, calling that firm policy “really weak.”
“God. I would hope to believe that playoff games here in D.C. would mean more than shutting down the lines for a couple hours,” he said last week on 106.7 The Fan.
“Baseball took a small part of our concern away with the first pitch times,” Paulsen said of the 5:38 p.m. and 4:08 p.m. announced start times.
“Yeah, well, we said that Game 2 in 2014,” Slowes said of the Nats’ 18-inning NLDS Game 2 loss to the Giants. “And they were putting up those, you know, in the 17th inning, ‘Last train to Greenbelt.'”
That infamous game, the longest in postseason history, is grudgingly remembered by Nats fans for more than just Matt Williams pulling Jordan Zimmermann after eight and two-thirds innings of scoreless baseball, or for its end result, a 2-1 Giants victory which titled the series.
The nationally televised game also happens to be remembered for droves of Nats fans leaving early.
“I’ve been hearing those stories since I got on the beat about that Game 2,” said MLB.com reporter Jamal Collier. “Everybody was way under-dressed by the time the game ended.”
Here’s an unneeded aside about that game from someone who was there. Reporters were rubbing their hands over hot dog rollers and mainlining coffee to keep warm in the exposed press box on that chilly October night.
“I wore khaki shorts and a polo shirt for our live broadcast that I started at I think 1:30,” Paulsen recalled. “And by the end of the game, I was the coldest I’ve ever been.”
“My wife bought the last blanket out of the team store,” Slowes added.
Anyhow, definitely come early and stay late — and avoid using Metro, if you’re able — to avoid upsetting the unrelenting baseball gods this weekend. The last thing long-suffering D.C. sports fans need is another national embarrassment.