September 29, 2004

Dispatches from Mt. Vernon Square

Today's Musical Selection: "The Boys Are Back in Town" by Thin Lizzy

Hello, friends! Oh, boy, I just got back from the celebration. The minute I got off work, I clapped on my Senators cap and dashed with lightning speed over to the City Museum, where we got official word that the Expos are coming to town. When I arrived, there was already a throng of humanity, undeterred by the late announcement. They were driven by a desire to be part of history.

I met up with Papa Shaft and a group of fans in Senators garb, caps and shirts and jackets and jerseys. I saw pennants and "Baseball in '87" buttons and tributes to the departed Washington teams and the one yet to come. I raised my cap in tribute as Mayor Williams walked by. I spotted Winston Lord, one of the Washington Baseball Club bigshots. And reporters galore! You may well have seen me on the evening news; I posed behind the "City Museum" sign with my fellow revelers whooping it up.

We all high-fived and shook hands and sang "Centerfield" and chanted every baseball-related slogan we could think of. Just a joyous, wonderful occasion. Seeing the groundswell of support, the widespread joy, was simply glorious. I looked at the older fans, the ones who remember the club's departure and have waited, with varying degrees of patience, for 33 long years.

And after the ceremony was over, I went with Papa and a group of Senators fans to a local bar to hoist a few (okay, more than a few) in honor of our team. We talked about the past and the future, the failed plans in Virginia, Portland and Vegas, and we toasted everyone we could think of. Frank Howard, Mayor Williams, Eddie Brinkman, Shirley Povich, Jerry Reinsdorf, Commissioner Selig... if it was someone or something related to Washington baseball, we probably toasted it at some point.

It still hasn't quite sunk in, to be honest. But it was that barroom gathering with my fellow fans that really brought it home for me. Here, on a mid-week night, was a cluster of baseball fans toasting and talking about their team. Our team. This is an opportunity we've been denied for so long, and it's as if we were determined to make up for the lost generation in one night. I love the free-flowing chatter and easy banter of serious baseball fans, and I was surrounded by some of the most serious and dedicated fans in the country. These are the people who've kept hope alive during the dark era. These are the people who kept the candle burning all these decades. They haven't forgotten, and we picked up right where the city left off in '71.

I look forward to future gatherings with these guys, before our home games. If this is what fans like me have to look forward to, I can't wait to get started.

And on the Metro home, Papa and I were chatting about the team and the game, and some nearby folks chimed in. Casual conversations like these keep a sport living and vivid. I can't wait to hear the city buzzing over this team for years to come.

We deserved this day. For our 33-year wait, we definitely deserved a glorious, crazy, dizzy moment like this. Even if the new team never wins a championship -- hell, even if something goes haywire and the deal falls through -- they can never take this day away from us. It's a top of the world feeling.

Now we can worry, if we want, about the RICO lawsuit, the wrangle over stadium funding in City Council, the search for new ownership, the rush to assemble a front office staff, and oh yeah, how we might field a compeititive team. And I'll worry about all that. Tomorrow. Tonight we celebrate.

That's all for now. See you tomorrow!

Posted by Fred at September 29, 2004 11:18 PM

While I'm less than thrilled about what happened to Montreal, I'm happy for you Fred. Will these guys replace the Brewers for you? And how did you become a Brewer fan for that matter?

Lastly.. if they do go ahead and name the team after the Homestead Grays, I might even have to pick up a jersey.

Posted by: frinklin at September 30, 2004 12:29 AM

Did you toast Peter Angelos?

I already have a Homestead Grays jersey, albeit an NLBM updated-logo one, not particularly authentic. Got a Montreal jersey too. I am READY.

Posted by: Carl at September 30, 2004 09:16 AM
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