Thursday, April 27, 2006


Wednesday was a busy one, in the best possible sense. I put in a half-day at the office, switching into my Friday routine. I skipped out and went home to get into my play clothes and catch a bus. So began my Bus Adventure. I ride Metro enough to be familiar with the rail system, but I almost never take the bus. So, naturally, I got on the wrong bus. Turns out I wanted the 10A, 10P, or 10E, I think. I took the 10B. My goal was to get to a Metro station and ride to RFK for the game, Cincinnati Reds at Washington Nationals. But the 10B (Northbound) doesn't go to Braddock Road, or Crystal City, or the Pentagon. It goes to Ballston, out on the Orange Line. Okay, that's fine, I left early so I could catch a little of batting practice, so I've got time to spare. But the Orange Line was single-tracking yesterday for maintenance, so I sat around, underground, for about half an hour before a train showed up. And since Ballston is farther west then I planned on picking up a train, the ride was longer than I anticipated. So I missed the first inning.

Robert F. Kennedy Stadium

I didn't miss much in the first; both pitchers had 1-2-3 innings. The game was fantastic. Some of the interesting points:

  • Alfonso Soriano, one of the National's most potent power threats, was leading off. Kind of unusual, I thought, but he has a pretty good On Base Percentage (OBP), which is critical for leadoff hitters
  • The Reds started their regular lineup, sans Ken Griffey Jr. who is still on the DL, and Dave Ross catching in place of Jason Larue.
  • Ross had a pretty good day, hitting an upper-deck homerun to left field for the first run of the game, and getting 2 intentional walks (so DC could get the easy out off the bat of Reds pitcher Bronson Arroyo)
  • Cincinnati benefitted from 2 errors and some misplays by the home team.
    • A throwing error by the pitcher, former Red Ramon Ortiz. He lobbed what could have been a double play ball (1-4-3) over the second baseman's head into center. A run or two scored, I think.
    • Ryan Church, the centerfielder, couldn't make the catch on a fly to centerfield, then dropped the ball when he tried to pick it up and throw it to the infield. Two runs scored.
    • 2B Marlon Anderson couldn't get the ball out of his glove on what should have been a double play, getting only the lead runner.
    • Felipe Lopez made it to first after striking out, when Brian Schneider allowed a passed ball.
  • Reds 2B Brandon Phillips made a great play on a sharp hit grounder, very quickly turning to make the throw to second to just catch the runner for the out.
  • Adam Dunn is a mountain of a man, and when he makes good contact the ball rockets off his bat. He hit a foul ball to right that was like a bolt of lightning, it moved so quick.
  • A ball was fouled back towards the luxury boxes just up the 1B side of the press box. It came to rest on a ledge about in front of the box, about 4 feet down. Upon urging from the crowd, the Air Force Major General seated there leaned waaaaaaayyy out and managed to scoop it up. We all cheered.
  • Ryan Freel made a great running catch in the 8th to haul in a fly ball to deep center.


Bronson Arroyo begins his pitch




During the 8th frame I toured around RFK, walking a circuit of the upper deck. It's not a bad stadium, really. It's just not fancy. It is functional. Pretty good views, all around. The front row of the upper deck seems very close to the field - it's not as high as most upper decks, since RFK has two decks vice the usual 3. Also, only one small row of luxury boxes (which don't look especially luxurious). The concourses are nothing special, and the concessions are... adequate. They have food for you to buy - mission accomplished. I was disappointed that my hot dogs were a little on the cool side, but that's minor. Comfortable seats, okay scoreboards (poor out-of-town scores, no interesting sabremetric stats shown anywhere), bathrooms that are clean enough, and good mass transit access. RFK is a pretty good deal - the super cheap upper deck outfield seats especially. The view is surprisingly good, and it is not crowded - attendance was about 19000, less than half full. Entire sections up there were empty, as you can see in the photos.

Dan at the Baseball Game

Emptying Out

Architecturally, RFK is interesting. It's a 60s space donut multi-use facility. The first of its kind, I think. But the swooping roofline is interesting - it is caused by the axial assymetry of the upper deck. The stadium is a perfect circle. But the first row of the upper deck is not a circle, it follows the foul lines, creating a secant line. Since the deck begins further away from the outer edge of the circle along this line than it does where the first row is circular, it has space to rise up farther, creating the smooth, visually pleasing curved roof.

Also interesting to me was the cantilevering design of the upper deck. This is almost a universal feature in modern stadiums, but it is very visible in RFK. To access the upper deck in the infield, you must cross catwalks over the lower seating bowl, and from there you can see the beams. Everything on the upper deck, from the entrances down, is cantilevered, balanced by the weight of the roof and the rest of the upper deck.

The game was fantastic, especially since the Reds won 5-0. Arroyo pitched 8 full innings of one-hit ball, walking 2 and getting 8 strikeouts. And the win means the Reds swept the series against the Nationals, and remain a half game out of first.


Nearing Completion Posted by Picasa

I had another Bus Adventure on the way home. I got on the wrong 10B at Braddock Road, taking the Southbound down to the end of the line. I got kicked off, and had to walk to another stop to try and find a Northbound 10A or 10B. I have a lot to learn about public transportation. On my walk home I took a few more neighborhood photos. The second of the two above shows the house around the corner from me. There should be an earlier view in the archives - they've made a lot of progress.

After a quick dinner, I went over to pick up Steph and go see Love, Sex, and the IRS at the Little Theatre of Alexandria. I was very glad to catch Steph, since she is extremely busy right now, with all of her training for the triathlon as well as a very busy work schedule. She was underway for two weeks recently, then had visitors for a few days, then was up in Philly, and next week leaves for a vacation in Hawaii. It was a good time, and I got to hear about her recent adventures and plans for her trip. Though it sounds like it's been a tough week - her rent got raised, her OER (Officer Evaluation Report) is due soon, and it sounds like she's got some allergies acting up. Definitely a good time for a vacation.

The play was pretty good, a farce with switched identities and genders, plenty of dramatic irony, and a very quick pace. Some of it was very broad humor, but it worked. I was very impressed with the 3 leads - they had a massive amount of dialogue, as well as challenging character aspects. Steph and I both had a really good time.

So it was a pretty full day for me.


Kelly said...

Did you take Stanley (i believe that was his name) to the ball game? I'm almost positive he would have enjoyed a nice cold beer with a red hot!

Dan said...

Flat Stanley had to move on shortly after I took pictures - he went to Tokyo, then on to Korea, England, and parts unknown.