Washington's Nationals Park, where the power elite goes to relax

Sun Apr 5, 2015 8:09am EDT
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By Steve Ginsburg

WASHINGTON, D.C. (Reuters) - While the Los Angeles Lakers have Jack Nicholson and the Hollywood crowd sitting courtside for their games, the Washington Nationals have attracted a set of high-profile groupies of their own: the nation's powerbrokers.

Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito is a frequent visitor to Nationals Park in the nation's capital. So is Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and his Democratic counterpart Harry Reid.

Even former Federal Reserve chairman Alan Greenspan and his successor Ben Bernanke let off steam after a rough day by putting their feet up at the ballpark, where the Nationals open their season on Monday against the New York Mets.

"Washington is a hard-working town and people are awfully busy," said Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist George Will, a season-ticket holder who often sits just in front of McConnell. "But even within that restriction a number of them do get to the games."

The Nationals, one of only two Major League Baseball franchises that has never appeared in a World Series, have played in the nation's capital since 2005 when the financially strapped Montreal Expos relocated from Canada.

The team filled a void left by the Washington Senators franchise, which left town in 1971 and became the Texas Rangers.

Former Republican Virginia congressman Tom Davis is a season-ticket holder who sits several rows in back of the Nationals dugout, near Bernanke, NBC journalist David Gregory and former Washington D.C. Mayor Anthony Williams.

When he was chairman of the House Oversight Committee, Davis was key in paving the path for the team to come to the nation's capital, getting the subway stop opened on time and solving a host of other issues.   Continued...