Saturday, July 21, 2007

Labor Night at the Ballpark

Last night I had the thrill of my life – something that I’ll probably never get to do again. I was out on the field of a major league baseball team, hanging out on the sidelines watching Screech, the Nationals’ mascot, observing some of the ballplayers’ wives as they were interviewed on TV, and seeing the singer who was going to open the game with the National Anthem prepare for her big moment.

It was the First Annual Labor Night with the Nats, co-sponsored by the Northern Virginia Central Labor Council and the Washington DC Metropolitan Central Labor Council.

So, on a balmy July evening, I got to see my husband, Dan, who is president of the NoVa CLC; Josh Williams, his counterpart on the DC-Metropolitan CLC; and Kathleen McKirchy, Executive Director of the Metropolitan DC AFL-CIO Community Services Agency as all three were awarded the Nationals’ Team Spirit Award. It’s why we were all out on the field.

In addition, somebody from the Ironworkers local threw out the first pitch. And any union local that sold 50 tickets got to see their name on the scoreboard.

The First Annual Labor Night with the Nats was one of the biggest ticket sales programs for the Nationals, with tickets costing six dollars and one dollar of each ticket sale earmarked for donation to the Community Services Agency. That amounted to $5,600 for the charitable arm of the DC Metropolitan Central Labor Council. Union members who attended were also urged to bring unwrapped toys to be donated to Toys for Tots at the game.

I hope to be able to post some pictures of this in a few days.

Then, we joined about 5,600 union fans as they munched on hot dogs, drank beer and cheered on their favorite team. I spotted Delegate Adam Ebbin and Brian Moran shaking hands, chatting with union members and their families and enjoying the game.

In fact, I was sitting next to Brian, in the nose-bleed section, and talking with him when we stopped mid-conversation because it looked like the Nats would turn around a 3 to 1 defeat in the 8th inning. But after a heart-stopping rally, with a man on 1st and another on 3rd, the Nats blew it with a dumb mistake. Unfortunately, Ryan Zimmerman lost count of how many outs the team had and thus assured that the game would end in defeat.

Here’s a sad description from the WaPo of what happened:
Thinking there were two outs in the bottom of the eighth inning, Ryan Zimmerman took off from second base as soon as the ball connected with Austin Kearns's bat. The Washington Nationalswere down by two runs and Ronnie Belliard already was on third. Representing the tying run on a night when runs were precious commodities, Zimmerman knew he could make it home, assuming the ball fell safely.

The ball, though, was caught by Colorado Rockies second baseman Kazuo Matsui. The play would not have been noteworthy but for the fact there was only one out, not two. Matsui fired the ball to shortstop Troy Tulowitzki, and Zimmerman was doubled off to end the inning.

"It was a bad mistake," Zimmerman said. "You can't do anything about it now, but you can't let that stuff happen."
Well, there will be other games. And other labor nights. But on a beautiful mid-summer night a large group of labor folks got to contribute to charity and enjoy a ball game with their families. And they got to see their unions’ names in lights on the scoreboard.


Catzmaw said...

Well at least they pulled out a nice little win today.

AnonymousIsAWoman said...

That they did. And congrats to them. I've seen them win some other good games too.