Enlisting in the 7 Line Army

Letterer Dan Nakrosis, an old pal, seen directly between our heads.

Letterer Dan Nakrosis, an old pal, seen directly between our heads.

Yesterday, Deb and I joined an army.

We were among the 1100 New York Mets fans to stuff Nationals Stadium for the final matchup between the Mets and Nationals for the regular season. (We’re still expecting to see them play one another in the League Championship series.) We sat in section 107, directly behind the left field foul pole, with the 7 Line Army, a Mets booster club of sorts.

We knew nothing about the Army until we saw them arrive en masse at Camden Yards last august, when the Mets visited the Orioles. Their orange shirts caught our eyes and we inquired about the group and I soon after signed up for their newsletter so I could find out when they intended on coming to D.C.

Once they announced they were coming, Deb and I grabbed tickets (complete with t-shirts, lapel pins, and $8 concession credit). As luck would have it, Kate had already accepted a friend’s invitation to join her for the game so she sat almost directly opposite us.

The day seemed to be filled with missed opportunities for me and the team. As fate would have it, letterer Dan Nakrosis and artist Tom McWeeney were seated two rows behind us and I didn’t realize it until Ken Branch pointed it out on Facebook.

Thankfully, the foul pole didn't spoil watching the game.

Thankfully, the foul pole didn’t spoil watching the game.

Similarly, former-SNL comedian Jim Breuer was in attendance. A hug Mets fan, he is a regular with the team and I’m told he regularly posts YouTube videos after the games. His last one was in August, which is a shame since I’d love to know his thoughts on the game. More, since I am studying standup comedy in grad class, talking to a working comedian would have been insightful.

The Mets themselves missed chances to score and win the rubber game of the set. They left bases loaded early on, a total of 6 LOB, all too typical for the team. I predicted a low scoring game and sure enough, the Nats won on a Wilson Ramos homerun. Robert Gsellman pitched a solid game but it was far from a pitchers’ duel.

Being with the Army was a whole other experience. There was an energy and camaraderie you can’t replicate when you go in a small group. We were loud from the outset, chanting and cheering. Clearly there were regulars because they knew all the unique chants and when to do them. While there was no clear leader in the section, someone would start and we went with it. Unfortunately, there was a real jerk directly in front of me, relentlessly heckling Nats outfielder Jason Werth and a fan in a Bryce Harper jersey. Other than him, the fans were lusty and loud despite the heat.

Since it was Air Force Day, the section adjacent to ours was filled with uniformed soldiers and between innings we chanted, “Thank you, Air Force” which got us a few tipped caps and waves. The four-jet flyover at the end of the National Anthem was perfectly timed, low and impressive.

It was hot and disappointing for a game, but still was a very enjoyable outing with the Army.

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