WASHINGTON — Want to hear murmurs of discontent at Nationals Park? Wave Jayson Werth around third base when he has no chance of scoring.
Want to get boos cascading down from all corners of Nats Park? Tell them when the last Metro Green Line train leaves Navy Yard-Ballpark station before the end of the game.
Such was the case on Thursday night, as a weeks-long war between Nationals ownership, fans and WMATA management yielded no results for late night service. With first pitch of the series-clinching Game 5 taking place after 8 p.m., there was no way this was going to end well.
As D.C., L.A. and national media folks learned, no team inspires vitriol like the hometown public transit system:
Such is the postseason in the nation’s capital.
Metro service has long been at odds with professional sports teams in Washington, but it only becomes a focal point during the postseason when teams don’t want fans to leave early.
In years past, it was an option for the team or other deep-pocketed entity to pay for service to stay open later. However, given the critical infrastructure upgrades to the Metro rail lines, no such option was given to the Nationals this year.
Even after ownership offered to pay, they were told the extended service was not for sale.
“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.”
Game 5 starter Max Scherzer agreed.
“It’s going to look foolish if 15,000 people have to get up and leave the game,” he told the media. “It’s just an embarrassment that as the nation’s capital, one of the major cities in the world, our subway system closes. It’s crazy.”