No hell below us, above us only sky...
The kings of the earth take their stand And the rulers take counsel together Against the LORD and against His Anointed, saying, "Let us tear their fetters apart And cast away their cords from us!"
He who sits in the heavens laughs, The Lord scoffs at them. (Psalms 2:2-4)
Across the country team owners, ballplayers, umpires, and sports writers and broadcasters were stunned. Responding to fierce criticism from some quarters, Team President Tony Tavares defended the decision:
"With major league ball back in DC, we feel the need not to squander our rather limited capitol, but to build on her in a way that will contribute to her well-being. If bipartisanship is the Holy Grail of the political process here in DC, why should it be so rare? We believe this is a small step for major league ball, but a large step toward healing our nation."
Acknowledging his franchise's less than stellar record at the end of the first season of major league ball in the city in thirty-three years (the Washington Senators left for Dallas in 1971), Tavares said: "As a franchise that's seen a good start evaporate, we know how embarrassing it is to lose. Adding the rather public humiliation of double and triple plays can be demoralizing. It's time to think of our players' feelings--not just the score. Our goal is to allow all teams playing at RFK to lose a little more gracefully. Why shove their noses in it?"
The move received some support within the Beltway. One committed fan, Rabbi Shmuel Herzfeld, leader of the city's oldest Orthodox synagogue, Ohev Sholom Talmud Torah, responded to the announcement:...
"Those of us who live inside the Beltway ought to celebrate this day. And for myself, I declare my solidarity with the Nationals. For too long this world has been separated into winners and losers. People that live in this city know what it means to be disenfranchised, and it's painful.
Elaborating on his remarks about being disenfranchised, Herzfeld pointed out: "As citizens of these United States, DCers have always been denied the vote. And with their roots for the past thirty-five years in French-speaking Montreal, the Expos also know what it is to be political losers. Then you've got the suffering we've gone through all these years, not having our own franchise and having to travel to Philadelphia or Baltimore to cheer. This thing gets right to the core of the synchronous psyche shared by this city and her team.
"If we're ever going to be taken seriously, it's time to demonstrate the sort of leadership that will resonate with the spirit of the downtrodden and oppressed that permeates this city. This step by the Nationals is the kind of move that history books will record. It took real chutzpah, but they did it--and I'm proud of 'em!"
Still, team members aren't expecting that they've set a trend. Said General Manager Jim Bowden, "We hope other franchises will follow our example but we're not holding our breath."
In related news from the Nationals' front office, team chaplain Jon Moeller has been put on administrative leave for comments he's reported to have made in the club's locker room following yesterday's heartbreaking loss to the Giants. Asked by outfielder Ryan Church why their pre-game prayers had gone unanswered, Church reported Moeller as answering, "That's what you guys get for keeping score! How many times do I have to tell you not to do that! You think God keeps score?"
Team President Tavares issued a caution to the press. "Chaplain Moeller has a right to his own opinions. But ridding ourselves of double and triple plays is a far cry from getting rid of the scoreboard. Reform is one thing; revolution another. We'll examine this matter carefully. Nobody should prejudge Moeller. But if he said what he's reported to have said, Moeller will be gone. How could you have a pennant race or a World Series without winners and losers? And what about Wall Street--where would it be without gains and losses? You know, social reform's usually a good thing, but you can't let it get out of hand."