WASHINGTON – The first World Series game in the nation’s capital since 1933 had all the trappings of a modern-day big event: exceedingly expensive tickets, massive traffic jams and long lines at the entrances and concession stands.
No one seemed to care about all that, not with the Nationals holding a 2-0 lead in the best-of-7 series heading into the biggest baseball game this city has hosted this generation.
“This is a once in a lifetime opportunity!” declared 43-year-old Colin Miller, who paid $849 for a standing room ticket that provided him a spot far beyond the right field wall for Friday night’s game.
The hottest seat in town did not come cheap. Miller was standing next to a guy he’d never met, 39-year-old Paul Crickenberger, who plunked down $2,400 for two 40-game season tickets in 2020 for the right to spend $350 for a standing-room slot.
“Well worth it. You never know the next time this is going to come,” Crickenberger said.
Hard to imagine that anyone at that 1933 World Series game against the New York Giants figured it would be 86 years before D.C. hosted baseball’s premier event again. But that’s exactly how it played out, so Nationals Park was the place to be on this lovely fall night.
As the fans streamed into the stadium from the entrance beyond center field, many posed for selfies with the traditional big-headed participants in the President’s Race: George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and Abraham Lincoln.
Not far from there, 28-year-old Reid Williams watched batting practice. He was wearing a Nats jersey with the No. 34 on the back. That’s Bryce Harper’s jersey, but Williams taped over the name because this town wants nothing to do with Harper after he left as a free agent to Philadelphia last offseason.
“Isn’t it ironic? After he leaves, we make it,” Williams said, clutching a beer while smiling broadly.
This was a party surrounding a baseball game, a bash for all ages.
“I’ve never been to a World Series,” 73-year-old Vicki Langbein said. “It’s a lifetime experience.”
After pitching in relief in the Series opener, Nationals lefty Patrick Corbin was poised to start Game 4 on Saturday.
Whether it’s the clincher or a game Washington needs to stay ahead in the series, Corbin can’t wait to get started.
“These are games I want to pitch in,” he said Friday. “This is what you prepare for all offseason, to pitch in these games and just to have the opportunity to go out there, give it my best.
Signed as a free agent during the offseason, Corbin went 14-7 with a 3.25 ERA in 33 starts for Washington.
He’s 1-2 with a 6.91 ERA in six appearances this postseason. Much to his dismay, he has accounted for both the Nationals’ defeats.
The Astros, meanwhile, appear poised for a bullpen game. Asked if he’s decided on a starter for Game 4, Houston manager AJ Hinch replied, “Nope.”
Houston’s George Springer made history with his first-inning homer on Wednesday, his fifth consecutive game with a long ball. That breaks a tie with Reggie Jackson and Lou Gehrig.
“Obviously, those are two of the most historic names in the game. Iconic names,” Springer said. “It’s great to be among them. It’s great to be in company like that.”
Some things, though, are more important that baseball records.
“At the end of the day, I’d much rather win,” Springer said.
Nationals star Juan Soto finally reached the legal drinking age Friday. On the occasion of the kid’s 21st birthday, former major league stars Alex Rodriguez and David Ortiz, now television analysts, presented Soto with a birthday cake during the pregame festivities.
Soto took a .571 World Series batting average into Game 3.
He had three homers and 10 RBIs over 11 postseason games, one big reason why Washington had an eight-game winning streak entering Friday’s game.
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