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The question of who should pay any extra costs associated with keeping Metro open for late-night playoff games has a clear and easy answer: the Washington Nationals.

LL’s position on this has been clear: If other sport teams pay for late-night service, then so should the Nats.

The team, owned by a billionaire, is probably the city’s biggest corporate welfare recipient, thanks to the super sweetheart stadium deal the city gave it. But the Nats have always been cheapos. Remember when they didn’t pay rent and complained that the stadium wasn’t “substantially complete” midway through a season?

This same team has now successfully shirked its civic responsibility to pony up not very much money, if any at all, so its fans can take public transportation home after weekday playoff games. Yesterday, online couponer LivingSocial scored some P.R. points by saying it would cover any additional costs it takes to keep Metro open for Nats fans. The announcement came after several weeks of the Nats digging in and refusing not only to pay for late-night Metro costs but also to provide a reasonable rationale for such a miserly position.

LL doesn’t mind LivingSocial paying for the service, so long as the city or Metro isn’t covering the costs. (And LL would not be surprised to learn that Ted Leonsis and Dan Snyder had already called LivingSocial to ask about expanding its subway subsidies.) But the fix still leaves unanswered the general principle of who is responsible for paying to keep the system open late in the future. Whether this becomes an issue to worry about depends on whether a) the Nats ever make it back to the playoffs and b) no corporate sponsor can be found to pay for playoff Metro rides in future years.

Photo by Darrow Montgomery