Friday 23 Feb 2018 | 19:32 | SYDNEY
Friday 23 Feb 2018 | 19:32 | SYDNEY

America and 'sports'



2 April 2008 08:35

You might think Washington is all politics, all day. At the moment, though, there’s also a lot of sport (or 'sports', as the Americans prefer). We’re coming towards the end of March Madness, the annual nationwide college basketball tournament. Everyone’s up for the Madness – even in think tank world. At the beginning of the tournament, people submit their ‘brackets’, their picks for how the games will play out. My own bracket bears little resemblance to reality, in part because my team, Georgetown, lost out in a tough match to the Cinderellas of 2008, Davidson. Davidson is a tiny college with only 1700 students and no particular basketball pedigree but they managed to defeat several favoured teams before losing out, at the final buzzer, to Kansas.

Americans love the Madness. But Washingtonians are particularly excited this week about baseball, because the Washington Nationals have just moved into their superb new $600 million stadium, Nationals Park. The new ballpark is located on the Anacostia River and boasts views of the US Capitol and the Washington Monument. The national pastime has not had a lot of luck in the national capital, but it appears that’s changing. President Bush threw out the first pitch this week, and the Nats won their home opener against the Atlanta Braves with a home run in the bottom of the ninth inning.

You may think this has no international policy relevance at all. But have a read of this story in the Washington Post about a former State Department employee whose seat at the baseball has been reserved since 1981. Elizabeth Montagne survived the Iran hostage crisis, and on her release she and all her colleagues received lifetime entry to all Major League Baseball games.

Sounds to me like someone needs to take a research trip to Nationals Park.

Photo by Flickr user afagen, used under a Creative Commons licence.

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