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That 1PM start time is gonna mess up traffic in D.C.

Oct 10, 2012, 8:23 AM EDT

Traffic Jam

That 1PM start time for today’s Nats-Cards game continues to exact a heavy price from innocent victims in our nation’s capital:

Massive crowds are expected to descend on the Navy Yard area Wednesday for the first playoff game at Nationals Park, but the big problems could begin after the final out.

The game is scheduled to start at 1 p.m., which means that tens of thousands of baseball fans will be flooding Metro and the roads to head home after it ends just as the evening commute gets underway.

That’s funny. I was told yesterday that tens of thousands would be unable to make it due to Major League Baseball’s draconian scheduling and employers’ Scrooge-like unwillingness to unchain workers to attend the game. Huh. In any event, thoughts and prayers to Washingtonians. Who have never had to deal with massive crowds descending on the city before.

OK, I’ll take my troll cap off for one minute and make an observation in all seriousness: as I mentioned after I went to Nats Park back in August, that Metro Station gets overrun when there are big crowds. While there will be more trains running when today’s game ends than there usually are after Nats games thanks to it being a weekday rush hour, it’s still likely to cause a mess.

  1. lessick - Oct 10, 2012 at 8:31 AM

    As a Baltimorean who used to work in that region, I can verify that DC traffic is one of the circles of hell even on a normal weekday..

    • indaburg - Oct 10, 2012 at 8:48 AM

      Saying the game is going to mess up traffic in our great nation’s capital is like saying a flashlight is really going to make the sun appear brighter. I have had the pleasure of visiting DC and yes, the beltway is actually the frequently omitted 10th Circle of Hell.

    • stex52 - Oct 10, 2012 at 9:11 AM

      I love visiting DC. Always have a good time. But if it is humanly possible in my travel plans, I turn in the rental car and I do not try to drive in the city. Hae done it twice. It was not fun.

    • psuravens19 - Oct 10, 2012 at 9:16 AM

      Live in Baltimore, but working just outside the DC beltway and you accurately describe this place. Thanks MLB, now I may miss the the O’s game tonight because of the DC Traffic.

  2. finnhutton - Oct 10, 2012 at 8:43 AM

    For a city that’s about to enjoy their first playoff game in years, I hear a ton of complaining…

    • kevinbnyc - Oct 10, 2012 at 1:23 PM

      It’s the manifestation of their subconscious frustration that Strassberg won’t be starting the game.

  3. heyblueyoustink - Oct 10, 2012 at 8:46 AM

    That’s craaaaaaaaaa-zy

  4. goskinsvt - Oct 10, 2012 at 8:49 AM

    DC is the worst designed city in the nation, from a commuting standpoint, hands down.

    • Dan McCloskey - Oct 10, 2012 at 8:57 AM

      Boston might have something to say about this.

      • goskinsvt - Oct 10, 2012 at 9:05 AM

        look at that. L’enfant must have been on crack when he drew that up.

      • natstowngreg - Oct 10, 2012 at 9:20 AM

        So Pierre L’Enfant messed up by not designing a city for automobile drivers, more than a century before the automobile began to replace the horse? Lame.

      • mississippimusicman - Oct 10, 2012 at 10:31 AM

        Pierre L’Enfant just pulled off the greatest troll in the history of trolling, and in only took a couple of centuries to pay off. Truly visionary.

  5. dwrek5 - Oct 10, 2012 at 8:53 AM

    Am I the only person in the world with paid vacation? Wanna go to the game, take off work. Don’t like the traffic, take off work.

    • stlouis1baseball - Oct 10, 2012 at 9:25 AM

      Valid point dwrek5. I will say that most employers would typically like to see a week or two notice for any Vacation requests. I know (from a Business perspective)…when my employees give me a day or two notice it really puts things in a bind (just from a workload/planning situation).
      But personally, I am a huge Baseball fan.
      As a result, if any of my employees asked for a V-day a day or two in advance to watch Baseball I would most likely honor it (while busting their balls over the lack of notice of course).

  6. natstowngreg - Oct 10, 2012 at 8:55 AM

    Usually, when large crowds descend on a big event in Our Nation’s Capital, there is plenty of notice. Even then, Metro can struggle, in part due to not having enough railcars (a function of its chronic funding problems).

    Unfortunately, MLB doesn’t exactly give teams (and their local transportation systems) a lot of lead time to prepare. Hopefully, the game will not extend too far into the evening commuting window, and the problems will be minimized.

  7. greymares - Oct 10, 2012 at 9:07 AM

    for a 1pm start Philly fans would be there at 6 am. (granted some would be there to party) but they would all beat any type of traffic jams. but back to the Nats, are they actually going to sell this thing out?

    • Alex K - Oct 10, 2012 at 9:24 AM

      You know they’re talking about the commute after the game, right?

      • greymares - Oct 10, 2012 at 9:50 AM

        no i didn’t but if thats the case wait around the parking lot a few hours and talk about what could have been.

  8. proudlycanadian - Oct 10, 2012 at 9:09 AM

    Baseball or no baseball, I thought that Gridlock was the normal state of affairs in Washington.

    • natstowngreg - Oct 10, 2012 at 9:22 AM

      True, but this is not the usual political gridlock. This is the usual apolitical gridlock, where both Democrats and Repulbicans have trouble getting from Point A to Point B.

    • DelawarePhilliesFan - Oct 10, 2012 at 10:02 AM

      Carefull there, Dudley Do Right

    • stlouis1baseball - Oct 10, 2012 at 10:47 AM

      Easy P.C. Pink Floyd is gonna’ go all Occupy Wall Street on that ass! (See game times article).

  9. salvomania - Oct 10, 2012 at 9:13 AM

    I’m trying to think of a big-city transit stop that ISN’T overwhelmed after a ballgame.

    My favorite is Boston on Patriot’s Day, when the a.m. Red Sox game ends just as the first pack is finishing the marathon a few blocks away. Trying to even cross the street takes about 15 minutes.

  10. chadjones27 - Oct 10, 2012 at 9:18 AM

    I’d pack food and beer and hang out for about 2 hours after the game. Is it still considered tailgating “after” the game is played?

    • gamecock24 - Oct 10, 2012 at 9:54 AM

      no open containers allowed within DC city limits, they’re incredibly strict about tailgating around there. almost got busted for it once, but we were from Baltimore and unaware of the insane rules they have down there.

      • chadjones27 - Oct 10, 2012 at 10:21 AM

        Well, then, in that case, good luck with traffic

  11. willclarkgameface - Oct 10, 2012 at 9:24 AM


    • Jason @ IIATMS - Oct 10, 2012 at 11:31 AM

      Ditto NYC

  12. napoleonblownapart6887 - Oct 10, 2012 at 9:25 AM

    Why are we passing judgment on folks who are expressing concern about what will be an extraordinary inconvenience to them? I imagine you would be equally frustrated if I told you that your commute was going to be tripled by something outside of your control – less time with family, less time to unwind, less time to actually watch a baseball game starting later in the evening.

    There were two playoff baseball games last night, two playoff games today, and you’re writing about traffic.

    • sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - Oct 10, 2012 at 10:14 AM

      People are whining that it will take a long time to get home from the playoff baseball game. Do you know where else that happens? Everywhere. This is the way playoff baseball has gone for quite some time. Welcome to the party, grab a chair and quit yer b!tching. There are 4 games today, and 4 time slots. The vocal contingent of Nats fans and press would have something to complain about with each:

      **The Nats are starting at 1:00, so the fans can leave work at lunchtime and possibly leave the game before the evening rush gets up to full speed.

      **If they started at 4:00 it would be rush hour coming and going
      **If they started at 7:30 it would be the end of rush hour coming and the Metro shutdown at night
      **Oakland is home on the west coast so the Nats are not going to start at 9:30.

      • napoleonblownapart6887 - Oct 10, 2012 at 11:32 AM

        It’s not just about the fans getting to and from the game, but it includes the normal commuters just trying to get home.

        I’m not saying that the Nats game should be moved – obviously its a bad situation for anyone playing at 1pm on the East Coast in a major city, I’m just saying there isn’t a need for a snarky post about this. Traffic sucks – people will bitch. I have a hard time believing none of us have almost ripped off our steering wheel when staring at tail lights for miles (I know I have).

        While I don’t think the game needs to be moved, since you brought up the time slots I’ll point out a couple inaccuracies:
        1pm: the game (unless its a pitchers duel) won’t be over before 4pm. That is the beginning of DC rush hour typically.
        4pm: definite rush hour coming, but not really going.
        7:30pm: very little coming, and the METRO wouldn’t shutdown at night. LivingSocial (based in DC) worked out a deal with WMATA to pay for the overtime on the METRO – so it would stay open.
        9:30: Dead on – no sense in starting an EST game that late when you’ve got West Coast games. Completely agree there.

      • forsch31 - Oct 10, 2012 at 12:40 PM

        A few words about the DC metro rush hour for the uneducated:

        1. The DC-Baltimore area constantly ranks as one of the top if not the worst traffic congestion regions in the country. It’s not the amount of people; it’s an outdated infrastructure overwhelmed by a two-decade’s long population growth. Bad traffic is a normal, everyday occurance here; something that makes that situation much worse is going to raise hackles.

        2. I live in Frederick and work in Rockville. It’s about 25 miles one way. Taking public transportation (two stops on Metro plus a commuter bus), it normally takes me an hour to get to work. When I worked in downtown DC (Dupont Circle), it took me an hour and a half each way. When traffic’s gummed up or Metro is overwhelmed or broken down, forget about any plans you may have that night.

        Most professional games are scheduled in the early evening, when fans would be either leaving work or traveling against traffic (the rush hour here is extremely one-sided). Any afternoon games are usually on the weekend. An afternoon weekday game is extremely rare, and it’ll be interesting to see how 40 thousand fans dumping out into the beginning of rush hour traffic will go.

        Snarking on the situation doesn’t change the fact that there’s probably going to be a major mess.

      • sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - Oct 10, 2012 at 4:04 PM

        I don’t think anyone is denying that it could be messy. But it is a situation people in other major cities deal with every year. Some people in Washington are acting like MLB is out to get DC area residents by forcing people into thier baseball stadium to watch a baseball game.

  13. brazcubas - Oct 10, 2012 at 9:26 AM

    Unlike the gripes yesterday, this one is actually fairly reasonable. Whenever there’s marches, or other large events in the mall, Metro, the National Parks Service, DC police and others usually have plans in place at least weeks in advance. Here, they have what, Two days? It should be more fun than usual on the roads near the Navy Yard this evening.

    Still, if traffic is the worst thing you have to complain about, then your day can’t have been that bad. Besides, it could be worse:

  14. tomtravis76 - Oct 10, 2012 at 9:30 AM

    Great day for baseball in DC. No need to stress about the traffic, just deal with it, its playoff baseball. The Metro is going to be packed, but who cares, so you wait an extra 20-25 minutes, its playoff baseball.

    • greymares - Oct 10, 2012 at 9:56 AM

      thanks for some common sense the franchise qualified for the playoffs for the first time in most of the fans lifetimes and they’re worried about traffic!! if that’s your concern stay home like you did most of the year. will there be more Nats fans than Cardinal fans?

  15. ericwmichael - Oct 10, 2012 at 9:49 AM

    This start time is the reason my buddy and I sold our tickets to this game. We are season ticket holders that live a hour and half away from D.C. The traffic today is going to be awful, the last sold out game we were at this season against the Orioles, took us four hours to get home and that was Friday 7:05 start, I can only imagine the problems this afternoon.

    • stlouis1baseball - Oct 10, 2012 at 10:49 AM

      It sure would have been nice to have a shot at those tickets Eric.
      Man…how hard would it have been to ask a guy? Thanks a lot.

  16. Tick - Oct 10, 2012 at 11:22 AM

    I’m pretty sure playoff games screw up the traffic in every city. The Oakland Colesium is right next to the most congested freeway in the Bay Area and the game starts right around rush hour and right after the Giants game ends. Pretty sure that’ll be a nightmare too. Traffic is traffic. Who cares if your city is hosting a post season game.

  17. simon94022 - Oct 10, 2012 at 11:29 AM

    These supposed “complaints” are just manufactured Washington Post stories. From the same paper which once tried to create a Democrat/Republican divide over the Nats’ red and blue hats. Some editor decides, “let’s find people who don’t like the 1 pm start time and use it as our angle for an off day story.”

    I’m not a Nats fan but am in the DC area, and the excitement here is palpable. Nobody is anything other than thrilled to have postseason baseball in Washington for the first time since the Nats lost the World Series to the NY Giants in the year when John McGraw retired. It’s all great for DC, and great for MLB.

  18. Jason @ IIATMS - Oct 10, 2012 at 11:33 AM

    Jeebus, complaining about traffic or having to take a day off to attend a playoff game in DC is like bitching about a huge tax bill.

    The costs of success, baby, are not always cheap.

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