[March 29th] -- It's a few hours away from the first Nationals' game at their new stadium, and I am feeling both fantastic as well as forlorn.
About as I suspected I'd feel.
Those of you who have been regular readers of The Beltway Boys know that I haven't posted for more than two months. That may same strange to some of you, since I have posted almost every day since the team's inception in late 2004. Why blog about the bad times, why write about a bright future if you don't cover it when it finally arrives?
Because I know longer have a connection to Washington baseball.
Regular readers know that I live in Idaho, and haven't resided inside-the-Beltway since the mid 1980's. My guess is that I wouldn't recognize much of what I left behind. There is - or was - two things that connected me to the Nationals, even from 2,500 miles away. First, the "Curly W" on the team's cap is the same one from my past. I watched that same hat - or a version thereof - on my television in the late 1960's while Ray Scott and Warner Wolf described the goings-on to me. Secondly, I had watched perhaps 150 games at RFK, and I know every cinder block, every concrete ramp, every parking lot like the back of my hand. My brother even took me to stadium when it was little more than a construction site. So I could relate to a Nick Johnson home run as well as I could one of Mike Epstein's. A Nook Logan sprint-and-catch was no different from what Del Unser did out in center field. Chad Cordero trudged to the pitcher's mound from the bullpen using the same path that Darold Knowles used (except for those couple of years where the relief pitchers were delivered in a gleaming white Lustine Chevrolet Corvette).
So it's as if I've been at RFK these past three summers.
Today, the new park opens and I have no connection to it or the neighborhood it's helping revitalize. It is as foreign to me as those ballparks in Philadelphia or Cincinnati. Suddenly, those 2,500 miles seem an even greater distance than they did just a few months ago.
Yes, I'll resume blogging daily one day soon, but until then, I wanted you to know why I've been away. Someone once said that you can't go home again, and I understand that. My hometown of Washington D.C. is the one I lived in growing up in the 1960's and '70's.
I'm happy for the players and proud of the team and giddy for the city. I can't wait to visit again.