A sea of red and white Nationals jerseys flooded toward the Walter E. Washington Convention Center. But there wasn’t a Bryce Harper signing. And there wasn’t even a game. The Nationals are in New York to play the Mets.
Then, as I turned and walked down the street I began to see random jerseys: Phillies, Yankees, Astros and Mets, among others.
It all clicked.
As I walked inside the building and looked around, there was everything from memorabilia to interactive games like a speed gun, home run derby and more.
MLB fans filled the building and the once-sea of red and white thinned out into a blob of colors. Fans from all different teams came out for the weekend’s festivities.
This left me curious: Could I find a jersey for every MLB team?
It was easy to find the big name teams. Going down the escalator, I was hit with a couple Jacob deGrom jerseys and a Carlos Correa one, as well.
Mets, check. Astros, check.
A right turn and there was an Aaron Nola jersey, the All-Star phenom who surprised this year for the first-place Phillies. Check.
The Yankees and Red Sox weren’t far behind.
As the day went on, my notepad of teams kept getting crossed off. The National League Central was the first division to go, and the American League Central followed suit. Surprisingly, it took me a couple hours — of course, I wasn't searching the whole time — to find the Marlins. Every other NL East team was easy.
Three hours later, I had found all but five teams: Colorado Rockies, Arizona Diamondbacks, Oakland Athletics, Tampa Bay Rays and Los Angeles Angels.
I decided to take another lap before I left. And standing, right by the stolen base activity, stood a man in a Randy Johnson throwback Diamondbacks jersey.
We both look at the kids running down the line toward the base before a purple jersey caught my eye. It was another kid, waiting in line, wearing a Nolan Arenado jersey.
That left me with just three more teams. As I headed toward the exit, I was shocked I had not seen a Mike Trout jersey. One of the greatest players in modern baseball and not one Angels fan.
Then a co-worker pointed toward the MLB shop area. Finally, a Trout jersey. And then I turned around to grab my backpack and notebook. Another Trout jersey. Weird. I crossed off the name and looked up. Another Angels jersey. OK, enough.
With just two more jerseys left and me being the stubborn person I am, I walked around the FanFest for another 20 minutes, looking for that green A’s jersey, or dark blue Rays one.
Then, I finally found Stomper, the Athletics mascot taking photos with kids. On him was an A’s jersey — ironic, right?
After about 10 more minutes I gave up. There were no Rays jerseys. The best I could do was a Tampa Bay tank top a woman was wearing while her kids played. But, that doesn’t count. We’re looking for jerseys.
Oh, and here are other sports apparel that I saw before that non-existent Rays jersey.
- Atlanta Falcons Matt Ryan t-shirt
- San Francisco 49ers Jimmy Garoppolo jersey
- A Texas Longhorns athletic shirt
- France soccer jersey
- Philadelphia 76ers shirt
- Montreal Expos Vlad Guerrero jersey
- Oakland Raiders Bo Jackson jersey
- Golden State Warriors Steph Curry jersey
- DC United Wayne Rooney jersey
And so, the search for a Rays jersey continues.
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