As the Nationals get closer to October, and therefore the playoffs, a big question surrounding the transportation of fans to and from the stadium has yet to be resolved. The DC metro system and the Nats are still without agreement on how they can keep the trains running late when the games begin to run later.
Recently we heard the team has the responsibility to pay to keep the trains going after hours, possibly more than 25,000 an hour to do so. Now, D.C. Councilmember Jack Evans (D-Ward 2) has explained exactly why they hold that stance.
"MLB is quite concerned about a precedent being set in this city," he told Bruce Depuyt of Channel 8 news.
As of now the DC metro trains run until just 12 a.m. during the week, a time that cuts it close already when games go late. In the postseason games may not start until after 8:00 p.m. and, with extra time for commercials, will likely leave people stranded in Southeast.
D.C. officials themselves have said they won't pay the price, that it is the responsibility of the team itself. It has been known the Washington Capitals and other event organizers have footed the bill in the past to keep the trains open late.
It looks like the league and the Nationals will have to come to a compromise at some point. The playoffs don't start for about a month, but crowds could get larger as the pennant race heats up. There remain ten home games at Nationals Park including a three-game set against the Dodgers and a season-ending series against the Phillies. Both series could be huge draws.
As more pressure mounts, something will have to give. But if you take Evans' word for it, he sounds optimistic.
"I think we'll get this issue resolved," he said.
No further details have been released on the league's policy and their thoughts on setting the "precedent." Hopefully there is more clarity to the issue soon.
Ivan "Pudge" Rodriguez became the first former Nationals player (2005-present) to be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame on Wednesday. He was inducted in his first year of eligibility, marking the 52nd first-ballot hall of famer in history.
Rodriguez, who was the first free agent signed by current Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo, played the final two seasons of his career with Washington in 2010-11. During his time in D.C. he hit .254 six homers and 68 RBI. Pudge's greatest contribution to the Nationals came from his leadership and work ethic. He guided Stephen Strasburg through his rookie season and also helped develop Wilson Ramos so he could pass the torch to him.
During his 21-year career, Pudge made 14 all-star teams, won 13 gold gloves, won seven silver slugger awards, led his league in caught-steeling percentage nine times, and was named American League MVP in 1999 with the Texas Rangers. He became a World Series champion in 2003 with the Florida Marlins. Pudge's 13 gold gloves are the most ever by a catcher, and his 2,844 career hits are the most ever by a player who appeared in 50 percent or more of their career games as a catcher.
In addition to Rodriguez, former Montreal Expos great Tim Raines was inducted to the Hall of Fame. Raines is the franchise leader (Expos/Nationals) in walks (793), runs (947), stolen bases (635) and triples (82). Raines was an all-star seven times and he won a silver slugger in 1986 with the Expos. He is the only player in MLB history with at least 100 triples, 150 homers and 600 RBI in a career, and the only player to steal at least 70 bases in six consecutive seasons.
Related: Bryce Harper wants Nationals to spend money on players, not team store
Bryce Harper isn't one to keep his opinions to himself. The Nationals slugger is outspoken about what he wants, whether that's to "Make Baseball Fun Again" or to make at least $400 million on his next contract.
On Wednesday, he gave his take on how the Nats should be investing their money this summer. Here's Harper responding to a tweet from ESPN's Jim Bowden.
Harper's message: Players over everything else. Sorry, gift shop.
It's plain to see where the 2015 NL MVP is going with this. Obviously, he wants as much talent around him as possible for a chance to win the World Series.
Matt Wieters, a four-time All-Star catcher, and Greg Holland, a two-time All-Star closer, could be significant additions to Washington's roster.
Harper is set to become a free agent in 2018, at which point an organization like the New York Yankees will be prepared to offer him both a massive salary and a massive investment in the players around him.
The slugger probably hopes his current team will try to surround him with winning pieces in an effort to keep him. But if a report about the Nationals' reaction to his contract demands proves accurate, they may have another agenda.
There's Harper drama around the Nationals? Just a regular Wednesday here in Washington.
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