Grantville, PA -- Nats Country !!
I'm blogging to you live from Grantville, PA, a bucolic patch of rolling hills and farmland seven miles north of Hershey, PA, 11 miles east of Harrisburg, and 132 miles north, as the car drives, from Arlington, VA. The vista from our hotel room is quite nice, though it would have been nicer before the Eisenhower interstate highway system rolled through in 1950 or so, as I-81 South charges through right below our window.
Grantville, it seems, suffers from a bit of an identity crisis, with Harrisburg and Hershey dominating the area -- the local Perkins restaurant listed Harrisburg as its location, which probably steams the Grantville Kiwanis club that very likely meets there every Thursday. Even the Hanovers (East and West) draw more attention from the road signs and maps than Grantville. We have not had chance to find the town square to check whether the name was given in a spot of euphoria around 1865 or so in honor of old "Unconditional Surrender" himself. Somehow I think there is a more mundane story behind it, given Grantville's second-class status.
So it is with baseball, too. One would think that this is Phillies country. Indeed, today was "Phillies Day" at Hersheypark, with the Phanatic roaming the park, sitting in our stroller for a laugh, squashing my Nats hat and kissing Mrs. DM. Between the hours of 2 and 3 pm you could have had a free autograph from "World Series Pitcher" Dickie Noles. Dickie earned that title with about an hour's worth of work against the Kansas City Royals in a game the Phils lost. The line was about 4 deep, with the family in the fourth slot debating hard about whether to ditch Dickie and head for some cotton candy. Even with complications I could have had his autograph in about 7 minutes, but I walked right by, thus passing up an easy twelve dollars. Around 3:45 PM, his work day done, Dickie walked past us again, common citizen, clutching some "Chocolate Currency" and asking the lemonade vendor where he could redeem them for Kisses and the like. I didn't want to think that $5 of free chocolate was all Dickie pulled in for letting us into, oh so briefly, the world of a "World Series" pitcher, but it may be true. Though, if you think about it, does a 49-year-old man who stil goes by "Dickie" deserve better? I don't know.
I did see a few Nats hats at the park beside my own, but everyone wearing one looked like someone from D.C., College Park, Alexandria, but certainly not Grantville. The Wilco truck stop down the road offered no Nats garb for purchase.
But, according to Major League Baseball, Grantville, PA, 17028, is a teeming cauldron of Nats fever, thick with diehard fans that advertisers and broadcast networks would pay good money to reach through expensive exclusive territorial rights. Even though the UPN 20 signal is a bit weak in these parts, MASN still holds the ground firm here, refusing to surrender like the man Grantville might be named for. Because, you see, MLB.tv blacks out Nationals' games here, and thus I am forced to blog, rather than watch video of Grantville's beloved Nats fall behind by 7 runs early against the Rangers. I can only imagine how the locals here are taking the bad news.