Once again, Washington’s Metro will close before a Nationals playoff game ends

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We’ve seen this before: the Washington D.C. Metro system is part of the narrative in the runup to a Washington Nationals playoff game.

The Metro always closes at night — it’s usually midnight if I remember correctly — but now it’s earlier than that due to ongoing renovations to the increasingly antiquated subway system. And, it should be noted, by the transit authority’s (WMATA) refusal to extend service for late Nats games. As a result, the last train out of the Navy Yard Metro station, near Nats Park, will be 11:20 or so. The Dodgers-Nats game tonight will not start until after 8PM so, in all likelihood, the train will shut down before the vast majority of the 41,000 or so baseball fans would prefer to leave for home.

As this story in the Washington Post notes, the Nationals blog TalkNats.com has established the Twitter hashtag, #NatsRide, to help connect Nats fans for carpooling and stuff. Which, in addition to being nice, helps the optics of it all, as Nats fans took a shellacking in the press and on social media in 2014 when there was a mass exodous during Game 2 of the NLDS against the Giants, which went 18 innings.

Hopefully that’s successful. And, even if it’s not, hopefully people will not engage in fan-shaming those who do have to leave early. It’s not their fault that the Nationals built a ballpark that depended greatly on an overtaxed and, in many ways, inadequate transit system. And it’s worth noting that the people who tend to do the most shaming about such things — the press — don’t pay to go to games, get to expense taxi rides and uber rides or, if they park, get free media parking, that they don’t have their kids in tow and that they don’t have to wake up early the next morning to go to work and get those kids off to school.

It’s a tough situation all around. Here’s hoping Nats fans are able to get through it OK.

Colin Poche, Rays go to arbitration just $125,000 apart

Colin Poche torn UCL
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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – Reliever Colin Poche went to salary arbitration with the Tampa Bay Rays on Tuesday with the sides just $125,000 apart.

The gap between the $1.3 million the pitcher asked for and the $1,175,000 the team offered was the smallest among the 33 players who exchanged proposed arbitration figures last month. The case was heard by John Woods, Jeanne Vonhof and Walt De Treux, who will hold their decision until later this month.

A 29-year-old left-hander, Poche had Tommy John surgery on July 29, 2020, and returned to the major leagues last April 22 after six appearances at Triple-A Durham. Poche was 4-2 with a 3.99 ERA and seven saves in 65 relief appearances for the Rays. He struck out 64 and walked 22 in 58 2/3 innings.

Poche had a $707,800 salary last year.

Tampa Bay went to arbitration on Monday with reliever Ryan Thompson, whose decision also is being held until later this month. He asked for $1.2 million and the Rays argued for $1 million.

Rays right-hander Jason Adam and outfielder Harold Ramirez remain scheduled for hearings.

Players and teams have split four decisions thus far. All-Star pitcher Max Fried ($13.5 million) lost to Atlanta and reliever Diego Castillo ($2.95 million) was defeated by Seattle, while pitcher Jesus Luzardo ($2.45 million) and AL batting champion Luis Arraez ($6.1 million) both beat the Marlins.

A decision also is pending for Los Angeles Angels outfielder Hunter Renfroe.

Eighteen additional players are eligible for arbitration and hearings are scheduled through Feb. 17. Among the eligible players is Seattle utilityman Dylan Moore, who has a pending three-year contract worth $8,875,000.