Mother Nature Puts Damper On ‘Planet Green’ Parade

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Heavy thunderstorms rained out the Washington Nationals home game Wednesday night, scrubbing the festivities Discovery had planned there for Planet Green’s network launch.

Discovery Communications had nearly 1,000 employees come out to the game, where CEO David Zaslav was to throw out the ceremonial first pitch and an interview with network general manager Eileen O’Neill was to be shown on the stadium’s 4,500-square-foot high-definition video scoreboard.

The Discovery Home network switched over to Planet Green at 6 p.m. Wednesday.

Nationals Park, which opened in March, has been called the first environmentally friendly sports venue in North America, and the evening was marketed as “Get Your Green On” night, the Associated Press reported. The Nationals had green caps for the occasion, and even the ushers were wearing green shirts.

“The nice thing was it looked like Planet Green stadium,” said Annie Howell, Discovery’s senior VP of communications and public affairs, who was at the game. “Everywhere you looked there was signage and we had a lot of exposure on the [scoreboard video screen]. But it was just a torrential downpour.”

Thunderstorms caused havoc throughout the Washington, D.C., region, and Howell said her drive home from the ballpark (which normally would have been 25 minutes) took an hour and 20 minutes, with traffic lights out and fallen trees. Tornado warnings were issued during the storms, and some areas were still without power this morning.

“It was fun. People were very excited and happy,” Howell said of the Discovery crowd at the park, some of whom ducked into hallways near the stands if they weren’t among the executives in the two VIP suites. Emeril Lagasse, host of the network’s new show Emeril Green, was one of the VIP guests who joined representatives from advertisers and distributors in the suites.

“Like we say, we can’t control Mother Nature. That’s what this whole channel is about,” Howell said. “We put a fine point on that last night.”

The game, against the St. Louis Cardinals, was officially cancelled at 9:47 p.m., the A.P. reported. By then, most people had left.

The festivities have been rescheduled for Monday, June 9, Howell said, including Zaslav’s first-pitch throw and O’Neill’s ceremonial handing of the Nationals’ lineup card to the umpires.

"We'll have the green night on Monday," Nationals manager Manny Acta said wearily last night, the A.P. reported. "Go green.”