WASHINGTON – Keegan Conway sat in the last row of section 301 here on Friday night, down the third-base line and near the large yellow foul pole in nearby left field.
A season-ticket holder for three years, Conway wore a white No. 12 Nationals jersey of Kyle Schwarber – who at the time was manning nearby left field for the playoff-hopeful Red Sox.
Schwarber, of course, had a monster month of June as a power hitter for Washington – before he got injured and then was traded to Boston in late July.
“He is one of my favorite players,” Conway said of Schwarber, who entered Friday with 32 total homers on the season. “I liked when [the Nationals] signed him and then, obviously, how he played.”
“He is a personable guy, that is why I like him a lot,” added Conway, who lives just a few blocks from Nationals Park. “In his interviews, it resonated with me.”
Conway, who has several jerseys, wasn’t the only Nationals fan near section 301 on Friday night who wore the jersey of a former Washington star.
And other fans, while missing their heroes, realized the the necessity of GM Mike Rizzo and his staff trading away veterans for young prospects as the Nats dropped out of the playoff chase.
Brad Ryan, who lives in Rockville, Maryland, was watching Friday’s game while having a drink and wearing a white No. 31 Nationals jersey of Max Scherzer, the former ace pitcher for Washington who was dealt in late July to the Los Angeles Dodgers.
“It was a business decision,” said Ryan, who said he understood the need for the trades.
Ryan was chatting with his sister, Shannon, a resident of Capital Hill. She has been coming regularly to Nationals Park for about five years.
“My favorite player is Ryan Zimmerman. I hope he comes back next year,” she said of the former University of Virginia standout, who was drafted in the first round by the Nats in 2005.
A few feet away a young man, sitting in row G of section 301 wore a white No. 7 Nationals jersey of Trea Turner – traded with Scherzer to the defending World Series champions.
Conway, three rows above the Turner fan, was eager to see Schwarber play on Friday.
“It is exciting, that is why I am here,” he said. “I hope he hits a home run at some point.”
With 94 losses through Thursday, the Nationals have fans who are now rooting for other players – the state of the franchise in a weird, non-contending season for the Navy Yard Nine.