Patrons at the Hawk 'n' Dove sit in front of television screens televising Game 4 of the NLCS between Washington Nationals and the St. Louis Cardinals and a debate by Democratic presidential candidates, Tuesday, Oct. 15, 2019, in Washington. Tuesday night presents a quandary for many Washingtonians: the Democratic presidential debate on a night when the Washington Nationals have a chance to make it to their first-ever World Series. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)

What to watch in Washington: The debate or the Nats?

October 15, 2019 - 11:05 pm

WASHINGTON (AP) — Tuesday night presented a genuine televised quandary for many Washingtonians.

On one hand there was the fourth Democratic presidential debate in a town that follows politics like other places follow sports.

On the other hand, there was actual sports: the underdog Washington Nationals seeking to make their first-ever World Series by completing a sweep over the St. Louis Cardinals.

And judging by a wildly unscientific street street-level survey, sports won the night by a fair margin. Normally, public alcohol-fueled debate-watching parties are a regular feature of Washington during the presidential season. But on Tuesday it was hard to actually find a bar showing the debate.

The management at Bullfeathers, a historic Capitol Hill watering hole, had originally intended to show both events, but ended up just showing the game. Down Pennsylvania Avenue, the manager at legendary local dive bar Tune Inn said there was "no way in hell" he would put the debate on any of his screens.

The only place where politics definitively triumphed may have been at Gypy Sallys in Georgetown — but that was an event sponsored by Sen. Bernie Sanders' campaign, where more than 50 people exclusively watched the debate in total silence.

One of the few places The Associated Press could find where people were watching both events was Capitol Hill's Hawk and Dove tavern. And even there baseball won the popular vote.

"We thought everybody would want the game on mute until after the debate finished. But we asked everybody and only two people wanted the sound up for the debate," said bar manager Neptaly Escobar. "People are really excited for the Nats. This has never happened before."

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