The difference between a club downtown and a club way out by Dulles International Airport is the difference between a diverse fan base of all economic stripes taking public transportation to the games regularly and a mostly affluent, mostly white fan base driving their S.U.V.’s to the games between trips to Eddie Bauer. The fatter wallets of the latter demographic may be more appealling in the short run, but they’ll never develop the rabid faithfulness that a population of baseball lovers with an urban base will. Just look at the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Close Is Not Good Enough
What’s more, having no baseball club is better than locating a baseball club outside of the District of Columbia — even within the same region — because doing so will effectively extinguish all hopes of restoring the national pastime to the nation’s capital. I’m saying this as someone who grew up in the suburbs of the Metro area and who lived in downtown D.C. for several years after college. I spent all of that time more or less oblivious to the beauty of the sport, but even then it was hard to miss the quiet passion with which District residents longed for a baseball team.
There’s a poetic and, yes, a patriotic rightness to the idea of a diamond within the confines of the nation’s capital that comes to life for one hundred and sixty-two games starting each spring. Especially given the barely disguised mendacity with which Congress and the rest of the nation have treated the District over the years, bringing ballgames back to the city would rank as one rare, gallant gesture of respect for the people who live there.