Take Me Out To the (Space)Ball Game

The crowd at Spaceball 2024. Image: Scott Sadler

At Thursday afternoon’s Washington Nationals baseball game, the outs were out of this world and the umpires struck back. 

Spaceball is the most casual (and most fun) annual space community meetup. Every summer, DC space wonks dip out of work early for an afternoon of networking at the ballpark. 

The event was founded 10 years ago by Chirag Parikh, long before his days as executive secretary of the National Space Council. This year, nearly 1,600 people registered to attend—many of them wearing matching T-shirts emblazoned with a baseball shooting through the Death Star on the back to commemorate the event.

It’s called fashion: Amid the sea of Spaceball tees past and present and Nats jerseys, the Umbra team stood out, rocking pinstripe jerseys with the company name scrawled across the front that were custom made for Spaceball by the imaging startup’s marketing team. 

Friends in far-flung places: While the meetup originated with the DC space community, it’s now a fly-in event for some in industry. One attendee flew in from Austin just for the day to attend the game, noting that it’s one of the only opportunities each year that everyone is in one place for a couple hours, making it the perfect spot for quick check-ins with colleagues across the industry.

Job hunt: This year, event organizers shared the resumes of more than two dozen interns who attended the event, encouraging more senior attendees to reach out if they were interested in connecting. “This would make a great story of the beginning of their career arc, and it’s never too early to start impressing our future bosses and leaders!” organizers wrote in an email.

Box score: By the way, the Diamondbacks beat the Nats 5-2, though most of the attendees watched precisely zero innings of baseball. We’ll see you there next year. 

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