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Column: Nationals Park MLB All-Star Game showed Washington, D.C. shining in national spotlight

D.C. sports fans should be proud.

MLB: All Star Game Amber Searls-USA TODAY Sports

A cold chill ran through my body when I entered the Third Base Gate at Nationals Park for the 2018 MLB All-Star Game on Sunday.

It was the same feeling I had when my parents took me to Disney World.

I remember being a little kid, watching the All-Star Game every year with the hope of attending the Midsummer classic during my lifetime.

As I walked around the stadium and brushed past baseball fans from all over the country, the little kid inside me was unleashed.

It was like a dream. Mike Trout and Aaron Judge taking batting practice. Max Scherzer warming up in the bullpen.

Fans filling up the team shop to spend their money on all-star gear. Jets flying over Nationals Park and fans going nuts when Bryce Harper’s name was called during the opening ceremony.

It got to the point where I asked myself, “Is this really happening? Am I really here?”

The game lived up to the hype. Scherzer came out firing, striking out the first two batters he faced. A record 10 home runs were hit en route to a competitive game that saw the American League come out on top and Houston Astros’ third baseman Alex Bregman take home the MVP award.

MLB: All Star Game Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

But what was more important than the game itself was having the All-Star game in my hometown.

Growing up in the Washington, D.C., Maryland and Virginia area, I have grown accustomed to playoff failures and heartbreaks.

Fans spent years praying their teams could escape mediocrity and become relevant.

With the Capitals winning the Stanley Cup and the Nationals hosting the MLB-Star game, the past two months showed D.C. sports’ capability of handling the national spotlight and being a legitimate sports town.

D.C. sports fans should be proud.

“For everybody, it’s been an overwhelming experience in the best sense of the word,” Nationals principal owner Mark Lerner told the Washington Post.

“It’s a special moment for everybody in the family, the city. I think everybody’s done it right, and the city is responding in incredible fashion. There’s a buzz around here that you don’t see very often. It’s just great. It truly is a dream come true.”

Years from now, I will be able to look back at how the MLB Star All-Star came to the nation’s capital and put D.C. at the center of the sports world.