The Washington Nationals are in the World Series and it has consumed the D.C. area. This post is just a brief reflection on the Nats and baseball in D.C. Plus I figured it was appropriate to talk about a famous musical that dealt with the last Washington baseball team the Senators immortalized into the American conscious in Damn Yankees.
“Baseball, it is said, is only a game. True. And the Grand Canyon is only a hole in Arizona. Not all holes, or games, are created equal.”
“It was great when the Nats were lousy, and great when they made the playoffs, and it’s great now that the World Series is back in town. Yes, it was worth the wait.”
Washington Post editorial ending on the World Series back in D.C.
Washington, D.C is abuzz with the Washington Nationals being in the World Series. Currently D.C. is awash in an impeachment investigation and so many other scandals. The Nationals entering the World Series is a wonderful development of good news. As someone who calls the Washington, D.C. area home I am going to cheer for this team. When I moved to the D.C. area we didn’t have a baseball team in 2005, that changed in 2006. To grow up alongside the Nationals has been neat to watch. The Washington Post had a good editorial that captured some of my feelings as well about what its like to have baseball in the nation’s capitol. Let me quote from the Washington Post.
“ When the Washington Nationals succumbed, ingloriously, to the St. Louis Cardinals in the divisional round of Major League Baseball’s 2012 playoffs, Tom Toles, The Post’s editorial cartoonist, captured the city’s misery by drawing a tormented, tearful Teddy Roosevelt, at the time an unofficial team mascot. In his hand was a pennant (sadly not the pennant) with the words “Next Year.”
The Nats’ faceplant that year — they’d been within a single strike of a series victory before their ignominious collapse — was a “rough ride,” as Mr. Toles’s mini-caption had it. Alas, there was no redemption the next year. Or the next year. Or the year after that.
Yes, the Nats have been much better than the perennially hapless Senators, who played all those decades at Griffith Stadium (where they last made the World Series in 1933). Still, the tired old gag from the Senators’ era — Washington was “first in war, first in peace and last in the American League” — kept coming to mind. And the shabby, shaggy environs of Nationals Park, and that stroll past stacked shipping containers on Half Street SE from the Navy Yard-Ballpark Metro station to Center Field Gate, didn’t exactly stir dreams of postseason glory.
Still, the fans kept coming. Hope didn’t fade. The team was exciting, lovable, maddening. The vision of baseball in Washington — a great team, adored by fans, playing along the Anacostia in a pulsating patch of the city animated by surging summer crowds — never died.”
On Friday afternoon I poked around online and looked into the possibility of getting a Nationals ticket. Even if it was just a nosebleed seat, I thought if would be a neat thing to see and be a part of. So I was stunned when the starting rates for standing room tickets were at $1,000. Then I saw that there were warnings about ticket scammers by Fairfax police. So in honor of the Nats playing in the World Series I thought I would do something different. The original baseball team the Washington Senators (which moved in Minneapolis) were a source of frustration for many people in the D.C. area. The problems that the team had in winning were fictionalized in a book called, “The Year the Yankees Lost the Pennamt.” In that book a die hard Senators fan is so desperate for his team to beat the New York Yankees that he makes a deal with the devil. In the deal he becomes a 22 year old baseball player who who leads the Senators in hitting. With an escape clause the devil, known as Mr. Applegate works at corrupting Joe Hardy. That book became a Broadway musical that is legendary. Damn Yankees by Richard Adler and Jerry Ross entered the national culture in a smash musical in 1955. It has had multiple revivals and is quite popular today. With the Nationals playing against the Houston Astros I thought this would be a good segment of American cultural and sports history to bring up an feature in a fun post. So who know if the Cubs in Chicago broke their curse then perhaps there is hope that the Nationals will bring home a win to Washington, D.C. That is what I am rooting for. The rest of this post will be clips and songs from Damn Yankees.
Goodbye Old Girl
Whatever Lola Wants
Whatever Lola Wants
Two Lost Souls
Those Were the Good Old Days
Jerry Lewis Those Were the Good Old Days
A Man Doesn’t Know
6 Months Out of Every Year