DC Had a TV Dilemma Tuesday Night

A critical Washington Nationals playoff game or the Democratic debates?
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 16, 2019 8:04 AM CDT
DC Had a TV Dilemma Tuesday Night
Fans celebrate outside Nationals Park on Tuesday, Oct. 15, 2019, in Washington after the Nationals swept the St. Louis Cardinals and advanced to the World Series.   (AP Photo/Nick Wass)

Residents of Washington, DC, live and breathe politics, so a presidential debate has the cachet of a sports playoff. Except on Tuesday night, there was an actual sports playoff, in the form of the hometown Washington Nationals playing the St. Louis Cardinals in the National League Championship Series—meaning locals were left with the choice of either watching baseball or the verbal sparring of 12 Democratic candidates, the AP reports. It's understandable why the MLB event threw a wrench into a place where "alcohol-fueled debate-watching parties are a regular feature": As Politico notes, the Nationals have never played in a World Series before, with the only other DC team to have made it there being the Washington Senators, in 1933 (and the Senators lost that series).

Places where the debate and the playoff game were available seemed to be few and far between, though some local watering holes did advertise ahead of time they'd be showing both events to draw in "politically obsessed Nats fans," per the Washingtonian. It looks like if locals did have to make a choice, baseball won the night, based on the AP's "wildly unscientific street-level survey." One bar owner noted there was "no way in hell" he was playing the debate on his establishment's TVs; in other places, debate fans watched their show on mute, with closed captioning. As for the Nationals' fate: They did indeed win their playoff game, completing a sweep of the Cardinals, 7-4, and securing their World Series berth. The New York Times notes that the only MLB team that's now never worked its way to the Fall Classic is the Seattle Mariners. (Read more television stories.)

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