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Monday, October 23, 2017

Looking Back At Five Great Baseball Moments At RFK Stadium

Sunday night was quiet around the baseball world in anticipation of the World Series, but it was also quietly the end of a small era connected to the sport’s history. Robert F. Kennedy Stadium, which was previously home to the Nationals and the second iteration of the Washington Senators, bid farewell to its last tenant, Major League Soccer’s D.C. United club.

And the movable left field stands were a-bouncin!

 

Bote Man Posted: October 23, 2017 at 03:45 AM | 16 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: nationals, senators, stadiums, washington

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   1. RMc's Unenviable Situation Posted: October 23, 2017 at 08:11 AM (#5560249)
Fun fact: In the movie X-Men: Days of Future Past, there's a scene where Magneto lifts up the entire stadium just as the workers are preparing it for a baseball game. But the movie is set in 1973, two years after the Senators left for Texas.
   2. Rennie's Tenet Posted: October 23, 2017 at 09:23 AM (#5560271)
RFK hosted the most dismal afternoon I've ever sat through half a ballgame:

1987 exhibition
   3. ajnrules Posted: October 23, 2017 at 10:00 AM (#5560296)
I've been to a half dozen games at RFK Stadium when the Nationals first moved to Washington, and I was at the Zimmerman Walk-Off Game that was listed as the #1 moment. I had gone to cheer on Wang Chien-Ming because of his Taiwan heritage. He pitched well, but Nats lefty Mike O'Connor kept pace for seven innings. Yankees finally break through in the 8th, but with Mariano unavailable Wang came out for the ninth, and we all know what happened then. I was pretty devastated at the time when Zimmerman hit the home run, but looking back I felt that if anybody was to walk-off against Wang I was glad it was Zimmerman. We both went to UVA and I always enjoyed seeing his success. That still didn't make it hurt less 11 years ago, especially after Wang finished with 19 wins.

Anyways, here are the other games I've gone to at RFK Stadium:
7/22/2005: Roger Clemens makes his only regular season start in DC, striking out 10 while the Astros score 14 runs to give him an easy 336th victory. Adam Everett and Brad Ausmus execute a successful double steal/steal of home.
8/7/2005: Jake Peavy strikes out 10 while throwing a complete game shutout and even drives in the game's first run.
4/6/2007: The Diamondbacks came one out from throw a one-hitter against the Nats, but then Juan Cruz allows three hits including a home run by Ryan Church. Micah Owings makes his major league debut and actually goes hitless.
6/1/2007: The Nationals face off against Peavy again in his Triple Crown Cy Young season, and actually score three runs in seven innings, and wins in extras.
9/22/2007: The penultimate Nationals game at RFK features the Nationals hanging tough against the Phillies. Ryan Howard strikes out four times but then drives in the go-ahead run in the 10th.

RFK Stadium was definitely showing its age and its cookie-cutter design. Still, it was the first stadium I was able to get to on my own, and I have some pretty fun memories there. So here's to you, RFK Stadium.
   4. Bote Man Posted: October 23, 2017 at 11:58 AM (#5560352)
Baseball fans in D. C. suffered through many false starts as news of baseball's return coupled with a random exhibition game at RFK would get our hopes up only to dash them cruelly again. It was usually a joke anyway because they were either unwilling or unable to swing the movable seats from left field back to their baseball position behind the 3rd base dugout, leaving a 220 foot home run porch down the left field line. Don't try too hard, guys!

Still, like others have said, even though it was a dingy tank it was OUR dingy tank where the exploits of the Redskins and even the few Senators good memories were made. The first half of the inaugural 2005 season at RFK was as wildly magical as it was improbable, and in the established pattern raised our hopes only to crush them again.

Maybe it was the "just us chickens" feel of those early years at RFK when the Nationals were barely a blip on the D. C.
sports scene, but Nats Park just seems more sterile and reserved. I'm glad they have a modern ballpark, but it's made all the sweeter when contrasted against the tank called RFK Stadium.
   5. Swoboda is freedom Posted: October 23, 2017 at 12:32 PM (#5560382)
I went to RFK to see a game when I was a very young boy. All I remember about the game was that the Senators lost, it was helmet night, Elliot Maddux made a great catch, and Frank Howard hit a homer.

I used those to search and I think this is the game. Maddux only played for Washington in 1971. This is the only game I found that hits all those parameters- Senators losing (which didn't eliminate many games), Maddux playing, at RFK, summer (as I was off school) and Hondo homered (only 26 that year)game
   6. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: October 23, 2017 at 12:38 PM (#5560386)
I skipped school to see the 1962 opener at DC Stadium,** and went to the 1962 All-Star game, but the best part of baseball at DC Stadium before it became RFK was that it was so easy to sneak into for just about any game other than opening day or that All-Star game. You just jumped up to grab the overhanging crossbars at the entrance, pulled yourself up, and climbed over the chain link fence above it and hid in the centerfield women's bathroom until the gate opened. Did it many times, and never got caught. Even Redskins game were easily crashed in the first few years before sellouts became routine.

Alas, gatecrashing and hitchhiking are now both long gone pastimes. Further signs of our Decline.

Of course with the Senators I got what I paid for, but that goes without saying.

The only memorable Nationals games at RFK I went to were the 2005 opener and a Yankees game where Ryan Zimmerman hit a walkoff homer off Chien-Ming Wang. By that time there was too much security and my joints were too creaky for me to try that old gatecrashing move.

** You can see me in the upper deck in this photograph, right behind home plate, marking down the last play in my scorebook.
   7. eddieot Posted: October 23, 2017 at 01:57 PM (#5560449)
I was always tolerant of the Grateful Dead and my friends who were Deadheads, but it wasn't until I saw them in the summer of '89 at RFK Stadium that I became a fan. The band was tight and Bruce Hornsby was sitting in on accordion for a couple songs, including a stellar version of "Stuck Inside of Mobile with the Memphis Blues Again." Jerry was in fine voice (and relatively decent health at the time) and it was the last tour for Brent Mydland before he passed away. The weather was hot and rainy but I walked in a skeptic and walked out a believer. Good times.
   8. The Yankee Clapper Posted: October 23, 2017 at 02:30 PM (#5560467)
Seems like everyone here was at the Zimmerman Walk-Off HR Game. Quite memorable, and probably the highlight of the Baseball Returns season. The franchise stubbed its toe a few times, and dissipated some of the momentum of that 1st season, but it also overcame a lot of hurdles, including RFK as a temporary home. I arrived in DC just after the expansion Senators left, and observed the failed effort to buy the Padres, the failed Baseball In '87 Campaign, and the repeated expansion snubs. Washington is actually a pretty good baseball town, although the Nationals do draw heavily from Northern Virginia.
   9. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: October 23, 2017 at 02:39 PM (#5560470)
Seems like everyone here was at the Zimmerman Walk-Off HR Game.

Not all that surprising, considering that that was their biggest crowd of the year, beating opening day by about 5,000 fans. In fact the three largest Nats home crowds in 2006 were the three games of that Yankees series.

Washington is actually a pretty good baseball town, although the Nationals do draw heavily from Northern Virginia.

For much of Upper NW DC, Montgomery and Anne Arundel Counties, it's easier to drive to Camden Yards than it is to get to Nats Park.


   10. John M. Perkins Posted: October 23, 2017 at 03:46 PM (#5560514)
For me:

A massive home run by Mike Epstein which was the longest wood bat HR I've seen live.

I have attended two forfeited MLB games, the second game of a double header at Old Comiskey after Disco Demolition which I got in free for donating "In the Navy", and the Senators final game at RFK, before which I got a free copy of "My Turn at Bat."
   11. Bote Man Posted: October 23, 2017 at 06:26 PM (#5560671)
and the Senators final game at RFK

Wow. You were at that game? That had to be crazy at the end, although looking at the people tearing up seats for memorabilia yesterday at the final soccer game maybe it was tame by comparison?

Here's the Washington Post account from 1 October, 1971 "Rowdy Fans Hand Senators Final Loss"
   12. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: October 23, 2017 at 06:38 PM (#5560677)
Jolly Andy, #6:
I skipped school to see the 1962 opener at DC Stadium,** and went to the 1962 All-Star game


The 1962 All-Star Game? No, Andy, you went to A 1962 All-Star Game. #letsplaytwo


** You can see me in the upper deck in this photograph, right behind home plate, marking down the last play in my scorebook.


Is that a number three pencil you're holding?

   13. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: October 23, 2017 at 08:23 PM (#5560693)
I skipped school to see the 1962 opener at DC Stadium,** and went to the 1962 All-Star game

The 1962 All-Star Game? No, Andy, you went to A 1962 All-Star Game. #letsplaytwo


Well, it was the only All-Star game that year that was played in DC Stadium.

** You can see me in the upper deck in this photograph, right behind home plate, marking down the last play in my scorebook.

Is that a number three pencil you're holding?


Actually at that point in my career I was only allowed to use a flesh colored crayon.


   14. Bote Man Posted: October 23, 2017 at 11:09 PM (#5560736)

S S S
H T T
O I I
R L N
T L K
      S
   15. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: October 23, 2017 at 11:20 PM (#5560737)
S S S
H T T
O I I
R L N
T L K
- - S


Obligatory
   16. VCar Posted: October 24, 2017 at 10:40 AM (#5560840)
No games there for me, but 2 great Genesis shows in 87 & 92. (Would have rather seen a show at the Cap Center or DAR when Peter Gabriel was still with them, but I would have stuck out like a sore thumb out as a 9-year old fan in the audience...)

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