Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Thousands of fans, savoring a perfect Washington spring day, flocked to RFK Stadium today for the Nationals’ home opener.

“There’s nothing like that sound,” said Craig London of Alexandria as he heard the calls of peanut and program vendors echo inside the stadium. “It’s one of the best things in the country; it’s what we are. There’s nothing like baseball.”

The Nationals have lost five of their first seven outings, and plenty of tickets still were available before today’s game against the New York Mets.

Just two hours before Vice President Dick Cheney threw out the first pitch, one vendor said about 1,000 tickets still were for sale.

“It’s the second season, so the glamour and novelty has worn off,” said Bob Gordon, a defense contractor from Centreville.

Still, fans from all around the region set up tailgate parties and played catch in stadium parking lots as soon as they opened at 10 a.m.

Families and friends posed for photographs, while others wearing the red and white colors of the Nationals shared beer and barbecue around smoking grills.

“We are psyched,” said Tony DiLeo of Laytonsville, part of a large family of tailgaters. “This is like the weather from God. I took the day off from work, turned my cell phone off, and no one can get in touch with me.

“We are loving life,” he said.

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