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  • I was one of many DC area baseball fans who were just crazy for the Nationals when they came to DC in 2005. It had been 9 years since I had a baseball team close by, when I lived in the Philly area. For many here, it had been 34 years since they'd had a team. I went to a ton of games those first few years, with full season tickets those first 4 years. I got to know some of the players and the President, Stan Kasten.

    In 2008, I almost convinced the Washington Nationals to reenact a stunt that had been pulled in 1908 by the old Washington Senators. I wanted to do it on the 100th anniversary of the stunt.

    The stunt was this. They had someone go up to the very top of the Washington Monument, and throw a ball down that their catcher had to catch on the ground. The Senators catcher who did this was a chap named Gabby Street. It took 15 tries before he finally caught the ball.

    When interviewed after this stunt, Street was asked “Didn’t it hurt to catch a ball thrown from such a great height?” He looked back at the interviewer and deadpanned, “You’ve obviously never caught Walter Johnson!” (Johnson was known as "The Big Train", and is still renowned as one of the hardest throwing pitchers, ever.)

    I had spoken to Stan Kasten about the possibility of reenacting this stunt 100 years later, and he’d said to me, “If you can get (then Nats’ catcher) Brian Schneider to agree to do it, go ahead!” I spoke to Brian Schneider about it, and he was game. All that was left to do was to convince the National Park Service to allow it. I had a connection with them through my involvement with the Public Employee’s Roundtable, which put on the annual “Mall Event” as part of Public Service Recognition Week, which it sponsored.

    However, before I could get their approval to do it, Brian Schneider got traded to the Mets, and I didn't have the time nor werewithal to try to get to know the new catcher, and to deal with the park service.

    But, it would have been cool, don't you think?
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