Nationals fans prepare for possible public transportation nightmare

Blake SchusterYahoo Sports Contributor
Big League Stew

Only in Washington D.C., can baseball fans witness their team win a do-or-die Game 4 on the road and go to sleep angry. Only the Washington Nationals owners would ensure that’s the case.

Yet again Washington fans will arrive in droves at Nationals Park for Game 5 against the Chicago Cubs on Thursday night mentally prepared to leave early during the biggest game of the season to date. That’s because, again, the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority will be shutting off service to train lines before the game is likely over.

Yep. The last train leaving Nationals Park will depart at 11:48p.m. for a game that starts at 8:08p.m. So far every game in this National League Division Series has gone over the three-hour mark. With a decisive Game 5, and both teams ready to pull out all the stops necessary to advance, you can bet Thursday’s action will blow well past that. And most infuriating of all is that this was avoidable.

WMATA’s schedule is permanent, but special event organizers — such as the Nationals — can pay extra to keep lines running for the benefit of their attendees. The Nationals have decided not to do so. Instead of paying the $100,000 per hour necessary to keep all stations operational after normal hours, the team is asking fans to use “alternate forms of travel,” like biking … at about midnight. Surely this won’t create any issues for fans who want to bring children to the game. Other options include paying for a cab, dealing with surge pricing on apps like Uber or paying parking fees.

Rather than extend metro train service for say, three hours, Washington would rather a national TV audience witness another rousing chorus of “Metro sucks” chants as was the case during the 2016 NLDS against the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Think about that. For all the money this team has spent trying to get to the postseason, it won’t shell out $300,000 to maintain the home field advantage it worked all summer to earn. The Nationals have payroll of $188.5 million for 2017.

The stands at Nationals Park might not remain this packed if Game 5 against the Cubs goes past 11:48p.m. (AP Photo)
The stands at Nationals Park might not remain this packed if Game 5 against the Cubs goes past 11:48p.m. (AP Photo)

This is a massive failure on all levels. It’s an affront to baseball fans in the region who now have to worry about leaving early. Even Nationals players have sounded off on the issue. Here’s what Max Scherzer had to say about it last year to 106.7 The Fan:

“God, I would hope to believe that playoff games here in D.C., would mean more than shutting down the lines for a couple hours. I mean, what, are we gonna have the seventh-inning stretch and then oh no, the Metro line closes and the fans can’t stay? It’s the playoffs, but nice seeing you?”

Well, yeah. That’s what you’re going to have.

It’s mind-boggling that a team set on winning a World Series won’t do more to make sure its fans are there to see it. Instead it would rather endure another year of being mocked for disrespecting the people who support them.

So long as they aren’t laughing at the on-field product, it doesn’t seem like the Nationals even care.

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Blake Schuster is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at or follow him on Twitter!

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