WASHINGTON — The Nationals did not play in their scheduled home opener Thursday.
In fact, there's been no baseball played since Major League Baseball suspended play during spring training due to the rapid spread of COVID-19.
Thursday's scheduled home opener was supposed to be a joyous occasion.
It was supposed to be the team's first home game since winning the World Series last October.
In addition to the usual pomp and circumstance that comes with home openers like introducing the whole team, the Nationals were supposed to raise a banner to commemorate the franchise's first World Series title.
But even though there was no baseball played, fans in Northwest Washington took part in the seventh inning stretch tradition of singing "Take me out to the ball game."
The inspiration to sing the baseball song came from a trip abroad for some residents.
"My wife and I traveled to Italy together, and we were so struck by the Italians singing from their balconies," says resident, Dick Lasner. "[It] brought tears to our eyes. One evening I woke up in the middle of the night, and I thought if the Italians do something morale lifting like singing from the balcony we can too."
"We might have been a little off-key, but in our hearts we had a lot of spirit," adds resident Kathy Didden.
And while there was no Juan Soto home runs or Stephen Strasburg strikeouts, this was the next best thing.
"It was almost like Opening Day," says Mike Curtin. "Not quite, no game, but we were there, we enjoyed being part of something."
The singing of "Take me out to the ball game" helped take peoples minds off the coronavirus pandemic.
"In these terrible times, to have something uplifting and happy like this I think will help a lot of people," says Lasner.