Real fans will stay to the end of the Washington Nationals game on Thursday regardless of Metro’s midnight closing.
It’s the deciding Game 5 of the NL Division Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers. The Nats have never won a playoff series in their 11-year history. A victory sends them to the NL Championship Series against the Chicago Cubs, whose 116-year title drought means Washington is more on history’s side to advance and win its first World Series since 1924.
Stop whining. This is a big deal. Drive to the game. Take Uber or a water taxi or even a real taxi. Walk or ride a bike. A real fan finds a way to stay until the end.
There are lots of options for fans to return home after riding Metro to the game. And, we all know if the Nats are losing in the late innings many fans will leave early anyway.
As for fears of national scorn over half-empty stands in the late innings because the Nats are once more playing a four-hour marathon – who cares? The country hates Washington anyway during this endless presidential campaign. Are Washingtonians now middle schoolers who worry over what others think?
Cries that Metro should extend its hours for a Nats game are selfish and shortsighted. The Washington Redskins have two more night games this season and nobody’s whining.
Metro is amid a crisis. It can’t make exceptions for every major event and there are plenty that impact far more people than a Nats crowd. The Marine Corps Marathon on Oct. 30 draws 30,000 runners who like to get there well before the 7:55 a.m. start. Metro opens at 7 a.m. on weekends. How’s that going to work?
Wreaths Across America drew 70,000 to Arlington National Cemetery in Dec. 2015. The cemetery opens at 8 a.m. With increased security measures beginning Nov. 1, this will be a major logjam and participants can’t arrive earlier to avoid heavy delays to lay wreaths on veterans’ graves on Dec. 17.
This is a city of major events. The only Metro exemption is the presidential inauguration on Jan. 20 when opening one hour earlier. And frankly, that seems needless given the swearing-in is shortly before noon.
Metro shouldn’t make an exception for the Nats even if reaching the World Series. Bend the rules for the Nats and suddenly other events will cite it as basis for extending hours for their affair. And don’t think it wouldn’t be cited as reason in a lawsuit. This is a city of lawyers after all.
The rebuilding of Metro is painful. The only way out is through perseverance and sacrifice. If that means finding a way home for one night or hopefully more postseason games, then so be it.
Certainly, city leaders should find solutions. Why not open RFK parking lots and run shuttle buses to the game like other major events? Mayor Muriel Bowser and City Council members should remember votes are won and lost on such events. Then again, District politicians know many Nats fans come from the Maryland and Virginia suburbs so they face little fallout by non-residents. It’s why there are so many speed cameras on city borders catching non-resident speeders.
Ultimately, a real fan stays to the end of a frozen 18-inning postseason marathon. The rest are bandwagoners who can leave whenever they like.
Rick Snider has covered Washington sports since 1978. Follow him on Twitter @Snide_Remarks.