- The Washington Times - Thursday, April 5, 2018


Cherry blossoms spoiler alert: The nation’s capital isn’t the only U.S. city adorned by the glorious blooms of spring, but if your blossom-watching plans include hitting Washington, move quickly.

Peak bloom began Thursday.

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More on that a bit later. It’s springtime, and that means Americans’ favorite warm-weather pastime — baseball — grabs headlines this time of year.

As a non-fan of baseball, I have to admit it was a bit disappointing the Nationals got spanked 8-2 by the Mets in our home opener on Thursday.

As a Redskins faithful, I’m used to heartbreakers.

I know well, too, that baseball as we know it today is as American as Mrs. Smith’s apple pie, a teensie stretch since the origins of the game crossed to this side of the Pond, where, shall we say, the New York Knickerbockers of 1845 and Abner Doubleday knocked it out of the park.

In Washington, even as signs of spring begin to emerge, there are no guarantees when it comes to sports.

Thanks to good luck, the Washington Wizards won a spot in the NBA East playoffs. Now all we have to do is pray that John Wall and the other guys stay healthy and that coach Scott Brooks devises a winning game plan that can get us at least past the first round.

If you’re looking for my two cents on the Mystics, the Capitals and D.C. United, sorry folks.

When it comes to those teams, I’m mostly concerned about how much of our tax dollars are used to keep them in play.

For sure, public financing for sports stadiums and arenas rub me the wrong way, which is why I’m a true booster when others spend their dollars at Nats Park and other city venues.

Jeff Clabaugh at WTOP.com breaks down the costs for you: “Nationals Park … with [a] cost to attend at $77.50. GOBankingRates said two tickets average $44, two hot dogs average $10.50, two beers average $13 and parking averages $10.”

If Uncle Abner, your sweetie and both kids tag along, well, do the simple math (and accept a tip of my locks to you).

Post-Easter springtime also means most college kids are back on campus, although not all are attending classes.

Students at Howard University, for example, are on a weeklong binge of demanding authorities to reform the school from the top following scandalous reports of financial aid malfeasance.

The students are staging an old fashion sit-in at an administration building and are not allowing anyone other than students inside.

Meanwhile, outdoors, the National Mall awaits the full-on blossoming of the Yoshino cherry trees, some of which were first gifted to the United States and received by first lady Helen Taft in 1912.

The Japanese government gifted an additional 3,800 trees to Lady Bird Johnson, first lady and wife of the other LBJ, in 1965, and many of them are planted near the Washington Monument.

The annual National Cherry Blossom Parade is set for April 14, and peak bloom only lasts a few days.

If, however, you’re not a fan of D.C., you can enjoy cherry blossoms in other U.S. cities such as Philadelphia; Nashville, Tennessee; and Brooklyn, New York, which boasts more than 20 varieties.

Still, I’m most appreciative of the money and other resources you fellow Americans send this way, and often wish other D.C. denizens felt the same.

This is the nation’s capital and fairly culture-centric — and better for it considering the political shenanigans that play out between the White House and the U.S. Capitol.

So, come and enjoy, and whether you’re a fan of baseball, know this as well: D.C. is the host of this season’s Major League Baseball All-Star Game on July 17, and don’t forget your wallet. As it is, the city is hoping for a $100 million windfall.

It’s not just my city, it’s your capital.

⦁ Deborah Simmons can be contacted at [email protected]

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