Today’s Strike 4 Statehood festivities at RFK were very disappointing. While the marquee outside of the stadium say that you are allowed to bring in signs, once in the stands, this is not true. Maybe it was because the game was being televised by FOX, or maybe the MLB management really doesn’t want people to entertain their freedom of speech while at the stadium, but when you are threatened to be kicked out of the stadium numerous times for holding up signs on the 4th of July, it’s really a sad sad sight.
The plan was the same as at the last game, we were going to hold up the signs that spelled out “S T R I K E 4 DC S T A T E H O O D” every time the pitcher struck out someone from the opposing team, or if the player is walked, we’d flip the signs to say “B U S H P L A Y B A L L W I T H DC.” Alas, this form of signage is not welcomed at RFK stadium, nor was ANY type of signage.
After our first display of the signs the RFK stadium security was on to us and told us that we were not allowed to hold up the signs and we needed to put them away. They said they were either going to kick us out of the stadium or take our signs, and of course we weren’t going to budge an inch- it was the 4th of July, the day we are supposed to celebrate freedom of speech and all that has came with 229 years of independence.
As we were being heckled by security, the Washington Post photographer approached us and we were able to tell him the story. He snapped a few pictures of us and took some of our names, and hopefully we’ll make it into the Post.
We pointed out to the security that there were others with signs that were not being heckled and they approached those people and told them that they needed to put their signs away as well. But of course, those people didn’t put up much of a fight like we did! We eventually put the signs away and the security left us alone.
Brendan brought his DC flag to the game as well (itâ€™s the same flag you can see hoisted on Senator Strauss’ boat in the Examiner Article) and decided that he would hold up the flag during applause. And who would have thought that you are not allowed to hold up the DC Flag at the baseball game in Washington, DC? He, too, almost got kicked out of the stadium for refusing to not wave his flag. Can you believe the banality of censorship on the 4th of July at RFK stadium? I am still recoiling!
Eventually the second tier security came and told the security guard, who ended up being posted behind us the entire game, that it was okay to wave the DC Flag! Oh the fun of flags on the 4th of July!
During the 7th inning stretch we defied the RFK stadium security and held up the signs for the stadium to see, which they did! It was quite funny seeing the entire stadium looking up at us to read the sign. The powerless security guard who was stationed behind us came down to us and told us to take down the signs and we just ignored her. We held up the signs two more times before our critical mass of 20 DC Statehood supporters decided to head on home for the night.
As we were leaving the stands, I noticed that RFK stadium security had added a police officer to the ranks of those monitoring our 4th of July festivities in the stands.
We learned through this whole ordeal that the signs are not going to work, but we also noticed that people with letters on their shirts can do the exact same messaging, and itâ€™s a bit more “legal.” There was a gaggle of folks who had “Happy 4th of July” on spelled out on their shirts and they were not given any hassle by the RFK security. We also learned that the DC flag is legitimate, so that means I need to get one for myself! (maybe one with “Taxation Without Representation”)
I came to the stadium dressed as the DC Colonist, which was perfect for the 4th of July, yet I realized that I need a bit more visible messaging on the outfit for it not to be misconstrued as “patriot” that some suburbanites told their children I was. Regardless, everyone got a kick out of seeing me in such a timely costume! I was able to rally our section of the stadium into doing the wave :) This was the first time I’ve actually partaken in the activity of getting people to literally follow the leader. Very fun!
This will definitely be the last time I attend a Nats game for a while. My next foray will be highlighting the fact that RFK stadium does not recycle. I believe that we’ll be able to make a strong case for adding recycling bins to the stadium to make sure PETE finds a home other than a landfill or an incinerator. There is no reason why RFK stadium is not recycling, and my only guess is because no one has pointed out this fact. Time to do so.