Why Won't the Washington Nationals Pay for an Extra Hour of Metro Service?

As the Washington Nationals march toward the postseason, the problem of late night Metro service is looming large. The Nationals have so far refused to pay for an extra hour of Metro service in order to make sure fans have a safe ride home on games that go late. (Other teams in Washington pay for service.) Reports today state that MLB policy may be to blame.

“From the Nationals’s point of view, it’s more Major League Baseball,” DC Council member Jack Evans said, citing discussions with team officials. “Major League Baseball has made it clear that in no city in the country does the team have to pick up the tab for games that go beyond.”

The league, Evans told a local news station, “is quite concerned about a precedent being set in this city that will carry out [to other cities]. … Major League Baseball plays a bigger role in the background than people understand, and I think that’s something we have to work on.”

It’s unclear whether the Nationals want to avoid paying for the Metro or MLB or both, but it’s clear that a team that already received tremendous public subsidies for its stadium should ensure that it’s fans have a safe ride home on games that stay late. That’s just simple good public relations. Why are the Nationals (and MLB) risking the good will of the people of DC, who are finally beginning to show up to games at Nationals Park?

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