Monday, October 28, 2019

The World Series. Up Close and Personal.

I don't know how our friend Grant did it, but he scored tickets to Game 3 of the World Series and invited us to join him. While I'm not much of a baseball fan, even I was jazzed to be attending this epic event.

We had standing room only tickets, but Shira and Grant had a plan. They knew of the perfect spot along first base where we could see all the action. In fact, this was their spot just last week at an NLCS game. We arrived early and hustled past the hoards of fans to find their perfect spot was occupied by TV cameras. Undeterred, we setup next to the cameras and found we had an amazing view:

Everything, minus the number of runs the Nationals scored, was awesome. The weather, the french fries, the camaraderie, much of the action on the field and of course the exhilarated fans. While there are plenty of interesting stats from the game, the one that stung the most were the 12 runners Left on Base. Every inning it seemed the Nats would get runners into scoring position and then leave them there. By the end of the game, you could just feel the energy lagging in the park. Curse you Nationals for getting our hopes up!

The Baby Shark craze was on full display at the ballpark, with costumes, signs and of course hand signals. Earlier in the day, the National Cathedral released a video of their organists playing the Baby Shark Theme Song; so yeah, our town couldn't be more Baby Shark obsessed.

A perfect metaphor for the night were the LED Wristbands that were found at every seat in the park. When we arrived, I noticed that the seats in front of us had a plastic bag containing a wristband. Because we didn't have seats, we weren't given one but we got there early enough so I could examine the one placed in the seat in front of me. At first I thought it might be a glorified NFC tag, but between examining the bracelet and doing some web searching, I realized it was an LED band.

From what I read on the web, we were in for a treat. The bands would be controlled remotely, and they should allow the packed house to be lit up in clever ways. One glowing wristband isn't much, but 43,000 of them would be awesome. I hoped I'd get to swipe one on the way out of the park so I could take it home and try hacking it.

Before the game started, a guy came around with a bucket full of wristbands and handed them out to us. Score!

This was going to be awesome: not only was I going to see my home team cruise to victory in a World Series game, but I was going to get a front row seat to a massive wearable tech extravaganza.

Alas, neither event happened. The Nationals couldn't continue their winning momentum, and my wristband while occasionally lit up, was a complete disappointment. Mine would come on, but those standing next to me wouldn't. Forget seeing sick LED patterns, the wristbands failed to do anything of real value. Not unlike the Nats offense.

I was probably one of the few people in the park that night thinking: man, whoever promised that these 40,000+ wristbands were going to work is in a heap of trouble. Thank heavens I'm not on that tech team.

The game was held on Shabbat, a night I don't typically drive. The game closed out at around midnight and I cajoled Shira into letting us walk the 5 miles home from the park. To her credit, even after spending 7+ hours standing at the game, she indulged me. We got home around 2:20am, and I have to say, it was a glorious walk. The weather was perfect, and we felt unexpectedly secure wandering DC and Arlington at night.

While not everything went our way that night, it was truly a joy to be there.

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