WASHINGTON — The Nationals lost Game 4 in Los Angeles, and the San Francisco Giants lost to the Chicago Cubs.
The result: The Nationals host the Dodgers in a winner-take-all Game 5, Thursday night, at 8 p.m.
However, there is a major problem in Washington. The game will likely end around midnight, give or take a few minutes, if it doesn’t go into extra innings. If it does, it will almost definitely end well past midnight.
As most D.C.-area residents are painfully aware, the Metrorail system closes at midnight these days, due to the ongoing SafeTrack program. Per the Metro website, the last train leaves Navy Yard station toward Branch Ave. at 12:17 a.m.; the last train to Greenbelt leaves at 11:39 p.m., and there is no Red Line transfer available from that train. This means the legions of fans who need to get anywhere northwest of Farragut Square — that is, DuPont Circle, Chevy Chase, Bethesda, Gaithersburg, etc. — won’t have a way of getting there via Metro.
Obviously, this leads to some issues. Will fans start pouring out of Nats Park around 11:15? Almost definitely, no matter the score or inning. Will some fans not even bother showing up, due to the difficulty the Metro will cause? Most likely, especially since the game was originally scheduled for 5 p.m.
The Nationals have worked hard to keep the Metro open, to no avail.
“Metro won’t hear any of any changes,” Nationals principal owner Mark Lerner told Grant and Danny last week. “They flat-out told us it’s not happening. So if we get deep [into the playoffs] and you have these 8 o’clock, 9 o’clock games, frankly, people are going to have to bring their cars. Metro will be useless, because who wants to pick up in the fourth or fifth inning and go home? It’s crazy.
But they’re not cooperative at all, unfortunately. They just said they don’t care what event it is, they’re not going to cooperate.”
Lerner later mentioned that it’s not just the baseball team that wants the Metro system to run later into the evening, adding that several other businesses are taking a hit, as well.
“It’s not a matter of money. They just will not give anybody a break. Whether it’s us, they did it to the Marine Corps Marathon, whatever. It’s unfortunate, because you’re talking about a few hours, and it’s a major event in the city. But they could care less. They don’t care of it’s the Caps, or the Wiz. How about all the restaurants they’re killing downtown by these rules?
The system has to be fixed, we understand that, but there should be a little bit of flexibility here. But unfortunately, I think at the end of the day, people are going to have to find alternate ways to come, they’re gonna have to come earlier and plan for it.”
Lerner is hardly the only one ripping the Metro for its refusal to accommodate the team.
Play-by-play man Charlie Slowes warned fans at the Grant and Danny Nationals Pep Rally to “Come early. Stay late. Be loud. And don’t count on the Metro.”
Starting pitcher Max Scherzer, who is set to take the mound for the decisive Game 5, blasted the Metro system on Grant and Danny ahead of the postseason.
“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,” Scherzer said.
Grant and Danny elaborated on the subject in detail on Wednesday, calling out the Metro system for its lack of accommodation.
Brian McNally then went on a lengthy Twitter rant about Metro’s structural problems.
The Sports Junkies, as seen in the video above, called out fans who complain about the Metro closing early, saying they should just go to the game and leave early.
“I don’t know what I would do [if I was going to the game],” host Jason Bishop says. “I would probably leave early. I would either leave early or, like [producer Matt] Valdez said, don’t go to the game.”
The hosts, with the help of producer Matt Cahill, decided roughly one-third of the fans at the game will rely on Metro for transportation.
“Can you imagine if a third of the crowd leaves in the seventh inning of Game 5?” Cahill asked. “That’s going to look terrible.”
“Who cares what it looks like?” host Eric Bickel asked. “You gotta live your life.”
Bickel later railed against the possibility of taking rideshare options, such as Uber and Lyft, thinking surge pricing would be excessive and it would be too difficult to find the correct car. The hosts all complained about the price and availability of parking in the area, the latter of which will be especially bad if Metro indeed closes during the game.
Bickel and Bishop later decided it would simply be more comfortable to watch the game from home.
Which brings us to this: Local sports radio hosts, who can go to the game for free, are deciding to stay home to watch the game because of how difficult it will be to get home.