The Washington Nationals enter 2015 with massive expectations. The 2014 NL East champs added Cy Young winner Max Scherzer to an already dominant starting rotation. Their potent lineup features a blend of youth and experience, and their bench seems to be much improved compared to last years roster.
Within their division, the Braves and Phillies have imploded and are in full rebuilding mode. The Mets and Marlins have pieces in place, but both still seem to be at least a year away from seriously contending with the Nats.
The oddsmakers in Las Vegas have Washington as the odds on favorite to win the World Series (6 to 1) and have also installed their win total at a whopping 94 wins (at 92.5 wins, the Dodgers are the only other team in majors with a win total over 90).
DC is an event town, and nothing brings a crowd like a star studded, winning ball club that has a legitimate shot at bringing a championship parade to Constitution Avenue. Everyone from K Street lawyers to Metro buskers to your garden variety transient government worker are rocking a curly W lid these days.
However, I’m hear today to talk specifically to one demographic in DC that has almost as much pull and influence as Congress.
From organic dry cleaners to artisanal, fair trade falafel food trucks, business owners and developers all over The District are constantly brain storming on how to draw the unshaven, bespectled masses out of their Columbia Heights apartments and into their places of business.
With summer (finally) around the corner, the Nationals are set have the city in the palm of their hand for what could be a historic season. With the bandwagon nearly full, DC hipsters are likely reticent to climb aboard. Getting in on something well after it’s become popular? Not very hipsterish.
Still, what else are you going to do this summer, noble wearer of ironic t shirts and keychains that would impress even the most seasoned janitor? I’m pretty sure the beach is out, since wearing shorts is apparently against your religion.
I’m here to help, and also convince you that you can keep your hipster status while becoming a Nats fan. Besides, you can’t possibly see a show at the Rock & Roll Hotel every night, can you?
Here’s 4 ways to make your potential Nats fandom an endeavor that would even make the crowd at a Coachella after party proud.
Buy some Expos gear:
Clothes make the man, and they also make the hipster. You wouldn’t go to a tUnE-yArDs (yes, that’s how they stylize their name) concert and wear a tUnE-yArDs (ugh) t-shirt, right? You’d lose your hipster card faster than you can say “Our drink special tonight is an Old Fashioned with house made bitters, organic maraschino cherries and artisinal ice.”
So you have two options; you could show up to a game in your best H street costume which would definitely be very hipsterish of you. However, there’s a solution where you can support the team without looking like you are trying too hard: Expos gear.
Prior to their arrival in our nations capital in 2005, the Nationals were the Montreal Expos from 1969-2004. They actually sell Expos paraphernalia in Nationals Park and they give you plenty of options. If you’re looking to stay low key, an Expos hat will go great with your flannel shirt and skinny jeans on a 95 degree August afternoon.
Feeling a little more adventurous? There are plenty of jersey options, each more ironic than the next. May I suggest a vintage Delino DeShields home jersey? I’m sure it’ll go great in your closet next to that Larry Johnson Charlotte Hornets throwback you wear to Firefly every summer. You can tell your friends you picked it up at an antique market on your last trip to Canada. They will love that.
Keep score at a game:
If there’s one thing hipsters love, it’s anachronistic hobbies. Sure, you could go to the store and buy canned tomatoes. But why would you do that when you can plant your own garden, grow a small batch of tomatoes, buy some antique canning equipment, take a class at the local community college on how to operate your canning equipment and then can the tomatoes yourself? No brainer, right?
Keeping your own scorecard at a game is a baseball tradition to goes back to the 1800’s. Even today at Nationals Park, you will see lots of people keeping score. It’s definitely a generational thing, which is totally something a DC hipster can latch onto. Go spend like $80 at Paper Source on different notepads and field guides made from locally sourced paper and keep score at Nats Park with an antique fountain pen. You’ll be the envy of all your hipster friends.
Learn about the RFK Stadium era teams:
Because any Johnny Come Lately can yak about Harper and Strasburg. But dropping some John Patterson or Dmitri Young knowledge on your clueless hipster friends? Priceless.
Also, Nats fans who were going to games prior to Nats Park love to talk about it. To put it in hipster terms, it’s like knowing about Real Estate before Atlas was released. Any good hipster knows it’s not only important which bands you like but how early you discovered said band. Same thing with the Nats.
The ideal scenario would be to find an old Nats fan and make a Kramer/J. Peterman story purchase. Name your price man! In lieu of that, do your homework.
Bonus points: Get a faded Christian Guzman t-shirt jersey to pair with your plastic neon sunglasses.
Keep your ironic facial hair:
Baseball players can be strange birds. Grizzly Adams beards? Questionable sideburns? Era specific mustaches? Everything is in play for the boys of summer. Good news for hipsters, since you are probably twirling your handlebar mustache as you read this. You see, baseball is a bastion for strange facial hair, so you can keep the handlebar ‘stache (as well as the DIY organic mustache wax you made this winter) and feel a hipster connection with the players on the field. Just pretend the Nats are an obscure band from Austin to help bridge the gap.
So fear not hipsters, your ilk and baseball are more suited for each other than you may realize. Follow these steps and always remember to tell anyone within earshot, “I liked the Nationals before they got good.”