Rich Galen

According to the Washington Post, in the years between Major League teams the population of the region went from 2.9 million to 5.8 million; ticket prices went from top price of $6 to a top of $95; and gasoline has gone from 36 cents per gallon to nearly three dollars.

As you are all too aware, gasoline is now about $4 per gallon and, for today's opening day game at National's Park, the top ticket price on StubHub (not counting crazy talk) is about $660.

At 6:52 AM, the morning of the Nationals' first game - exactly 12 hours before President Bush was scheduled to throw out the first pitch - The Lad came through the arrival doors at Dulles airport, returning the favor of my flight to Austin for a baseball game a decade earlier.

Fathers and sons - parents and kids - have been going to baseball games for over a hundred years. This father and this son have been blessed to have shared unique opportunities over the course of our 37 years together. That Opening Day was one of them.

Baseball has been a continuing thread in our relationship, The Lad and I.

On Opening Day 2005, we sat along the first base line and watched a ballgame together, ate hotdogs, worried over defensive alignments, ducked foul balls, and went home happy.

Reed now lives in Southern California with his wife and two daughters. Our days of travelling cross country to watch a baseball games are probably over.

But that one day in 2005, at creaky old RFK Stadium, watching that one baseball game with Reed is burned not just into my memory, but into my soul.

Life might get better than that. But, it doesn't have to get much better.

On the Secret Decoder Ring page today: A Mullfoto of Reed and me at the ballpark, nine years ago.

Rich Galen

Rich Galen has been a press secretary to Dan Quayle and Newt Gingrich. Rich Galen currently works as a journalist and writes at