2019 Opening Day Checklist (FREE Printable)

We’re in the home stretch ya’ll!

The 2019 MLB season low-key kicked off yesterday when the Mariners and Athletics played the first of a two-game set in Japan.

However, Opening Day (the official national holiday for baseball fans) is happening on Thursday, March 28th for all 30 teams. It’s just ONE week away! This Opening Day will mark the 150th Opening Day and the earliest EVER in baseball history.

Needless to say…I’m getting ready!

Now it won’t be my 150th Opening Day (obviously) but I’ve experienced enough of them to know how important it is to be prepared for what will be a long, yet exciting day at the ballpark.

Check out my list of must-haves sure to help ensure that you have successful Opening Day (sorry a win isn’t included):

NOF - Opening Day Checklist

Need this checklist on the go? Download it here: Opening Day Checklist (PDF)

Like it or hate it? Leave a comment!

Also don’t forget to check your favorite ballpark’s website for Opening Day details and specific ballpark do’s and don’ts before you go!

HAVE FUN!

Special Delivery

Ladies and Gentlemen:

I FINALLY RECEIVED MY SEASON PLAN HOLDER PACKAGE!

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If you recall, I experienced a few highs and lows related to this package. I was excited, cursed FedEx, I felt left out knowing others had already received their packages, I was excited again, then nearly had a panic attack, and also cursed FedEx again.

And for what?

A lanyard and a flimsy piece of laminated paper known as “credentials”.

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You might be wondering, “Well after all of that what’s up with your obvious disappointment?!” Thanks for asking! Well in previous years, season plan holders actually received A GIFT before the start of a new season. Last year it was a Curly W Flag in a Curly W aluminum tin and the year prior, it was a nice Curly W-debossed, leather-like box with our season plan holder card inside.

I believe the club is operating under the luxury tax…a small token of appreciation for the commitment wouldn’t have broken the bank.

See the thing about the “credentials” is that they can only be used to gain access to the Season Plan Holder entrances and to access stored eCash for concessions and purchases at team stores. Cool. But that’s it…that’s all folks. The barcode on the back doesn’t even house our tickets for the season and therefore, can’t actually be used to get into the park. It’s for aesthetics really and there will be those plan holders who will wear that thing around the ballpark like a badge of honor. I guess I get it. However, they could’ve just not changed the previous system where the card we carried not only got us through the SPH entrances, but housed our seats/tickets for the season, was used throughout the ballpark for concessions and other purchases, could be worn around the neck if you chose to do so, and was even personalized!!! 

“If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” – Said Some Wise Person

On a positive note, I don’t have to carry around a card or those damn credentials if I don’t want to. The team has gone fully digital, utilizing the newly updated (and it was in desperate need of an update) MLB Ballpark App. Enhancements to the app allow us to forward, scan, and buy tickets, load and use eCash, earn and redeem Red Carpet Rewards points, and access exclusive content like walk-up music (clutch), interactive games, rosters, trivia, etc.

Here’s a sneak peak:

Admittedly, I don’t always readily embrace change and despite not receiving a gift, going digital will definitely make my ballpark experience more convenient. Oh improvements have also been made to the entire Nationals Access, Red Carpet Rewards and Ticket Exchange programs for 2019.

To be honest, if the Nats would just go ahead and offer Rendon AKA Tony Two Bags AKA one of the league’s best 3rd basemen a long-term extension, I’d forget all out this gift absent-mindedness.

#Natsfans4Rendon

Fed Up with FedEx

My issues with FedEx date back to when I first moved to DC so I don’t know why I expected anything different.

They delivered my season plan holder package today.

Yep…the one that I specifically asked to be held for PICK UP. That one. You’re probably thinking, what’s the big deal?! Am I right?

Well you see I didn’t receive a call on the callbox outside my building in order to buzz them inside. In the past, that meant the driver left my package outside…exposed to the elements and susceptible theft. Did I mention that I live in DC?

I jumped into a group text with my neighbors hoping someone was home to grab the package before the package thieves got to it or at least confirm that it was in fact safe.

Someone was home and ran downstairs to find that FedEx had actually left the package just inside the front door and even brought it upstairs to my door. Guys my neighbors really are THE best!

Whew. Crisis averted.

FedEx is still on my list though. BECAUSE. THEY. DON’T. FOLLOW. INSTRUCTIONS!


Also: The Nationals held auditions today to sing the National Anthem. If you or someone you know has what it takes…the final demo submission deadline is May 15th!

Waiting on my Season Plan Holder Package like…

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Oh FedEx.

It was supposed to be delivered this past Friday. It wasn’t. So I asked that it be held for pick up on Saturday, thinking it’d be easier to just pick it up. I arrived at the FedEx facility in NE to find that they were experiencing a power outage with no idea when the issue would be resolved. Wait…

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It’s Sunday now and of course…they are closed. I’ve been avoiding Facebook group posts from others that have received their packages but I’m feeling pretty confident it’ll happen tomorrow. *fingers crossed*

West Palm Beach – Last Day

Wednesday.

This is it. My last day in the West Palm Beach area. So many things had worked out in my favor. The weather had been perfect, I spent time with one of my favorite humans enjoying one of my favorite things, I ate very well, and it appeared I’d be heading back home with only TWO mosquito bites. How’s that for winning?!

My AirBnB host was super flexible on my check-out time, so I took my time packing. Recounting what I did in the days prior in a way to not only hold onto those memories but to also hold onto that feeling of peace and accomplishment.

Packing, I realized I brought way more stuff with me than I actually wore or needed. I’m not typically an over-packer (I don’t think) so I’ll chalk it up to just being excited for the trip. However, these are some of my favorite Nationals things.

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I eventually gathered all of my things, loaded up the Jeep, and headed 15 minutes south to Delray Beach to finally check out that one vegan spot before going to the airport.

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Don’t worry…I kept one hand on the wheel the entire time.


I arrived at The New Vegan to find it busy but without any wait and received a warm welcome and a glass of alkaline water. Having peeped the menu a number of times, I knew I was going straight for the kale burger. A kale patty served on millet and flaxseed bread with lettuce, tomato, and vegenaise. I added pickles and avocado and decided to add the side salad and rice for an extra $3. There were several OMG moments while eating. I’m not usually one to boast but I really did save the best for last.

Before leaving, I had a chance to chat with the owner and thank her for such a delicious meal. Come to find out, there are no soy or gluten products on the menu, and the restaurant serves and cooks in alkaline water. Also, they have a location in West Palm Beach that is open on Tuesday!

I ordered a green veggie smoothie for the road and made my way back up 95 N towards the airport. 


The rental pick-up at Budget was a cluster but I for certain thought returning the vehicle would be seamless. It was, actually. However, Budget had to get one more screw up in before sending me back home, and it came in the form of the USELESS airport shuttle driver. The man barely assisted me in lifting my ONE piece of luggage up the steps and onto the shuttle. He asked which airlines to where we would need drop offs (and there were many) however, when he made his one (and apparently only stop) at the airport, he failed to make any sort of announcement. The nail in the I’ll-never-patronize-Budget there-again coffin was when he stood by, carelessly, as a woman mistakenly carted off with my luggage, despite my yelling to get her attention. I literally had to run her down. You better believe I fired off my frustrations in a Google Review! He did get us to the airport safely, so I guess that’s what was most important.

Touchdown!


…until next Spring!

West Palm Beach – Day 3

Tuesday.

I woke up like a kid on Christmas morning or like adult me on Opening Day. It was too soon for either of those days. Instead, I was beyond hype because it was finally my day to take in a Nats spring training game and my sister Cassie was coming to join me!

img_2024She would be driving almost 3 hours from Longwood, Fl to my AirBnB in Boynton Beach, just to spend the day with me. Although we keep in touch via phone and of course Instagram, it had been far too long (October) since I actually saw her.

Needing to get in a workout before we started our day, I decided to take that energy to YouFit Health Club in located at Boynton Beach Mall. There I worked biceps/triceps/legs and spent a little time on the treadmill. 


Cassie arrived a little before 1p. After many hugs and a few approving looks, we hopped in the Jeep and decided on lunch. I had wanted to take her to a vegan spot in Delray Beach but when we realized they were closed on Tuesdays, we settled on pizza for lunch at Pizza Rox in Boynton. Another spot I had on my list of places to eat while here. Their website said that they had both vegan and gluten-free options but we remained skeptical…at first.

We both went for identical 12-inch pies with gluten-free crust. A crust which surprisingly didn’t taste as distinguishable from regular crust like most gluten-free crusts/breads or that imploded as soon as you touched it. I nixed the cheese (although they had various cheese options including vegan cheese) and loaded up my pie with BBQ sauce, vegan chicken breast, red onions, spinach, green peppers, and pineapple. Washing it down with a bottle of Acqua Panna spring water.

For a minute, and only half way through the pie, I thought about picking up another before my return flight home the next day.

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However, I erred on the other side of gluttony and instead saved the other half for later.


After lunch, we made our way up 95 North to FITTEAM Ballpark of the Palm Beaches to watch batting practice before the 6:35p game against the Astros. It was the first time I would be attempting to catch spring training BP and boy did I get it wrong. I assumed BP would actually be in the ballpark. Instead, it appeared to happen in one of the practice fields to which we really didn’t have access to or visibility of. We arrived around 3 and found the gates wouldn’t open until 4:30p. So we chatted about everything under the sun, took some pics, and did a lap or two along the walking trail.

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We also managed to spot Justin Verlander (‘Stros starting pitcher that night) arriving on campus in a sort of grey muscle car with Virginia license plates. Full disclosure, it was only after Googling rosters did I realize that’s exactly who that was. You know what they say about hindsight.

They opened the gates promptly at 4:30p and we went straight for the giveaway table to collect our Nationals hoodie, a freebie we weren’t even aware we were getting until we were standing in line. Interesting how the Universe works in your favor.

To my surprise, a familiar face was at the table: It’s Mike! Mike was at the table doing Mike things…handing out hoodies and later tossing t-shirts into the stands. Quick intro: Mike (Ploger) is the in-game host of Inside Pitch Live and in-game promotions at Nationals Park. I asked him if he’d take a selfie with me and he jumped right in!

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I later posted this pic to Instagram to which he commented, “Your energy is contagious!” Oh Mike.

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I hit the team store next, determined to stick to my budget by sticking to the plan of picking up my must-haves: a Sprint Training-themed magnet for my fridge (I guess that’s becoming a thing) and this year’s Spring Training hat. Have you seen it?!

You’re welcome.

After making our way around the concourse a couple of times to kill time, grab some water, and snacks…we made our way to our seats. Well the section our seats were in. We chose to sit 10 or so rows back (out of the sun) from where we were supposed to sit and remained there until we left.

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I ended up walking over by the bullpen to take a couple of pics and vids of Strasburg and Gomes warming up before first pitch. This would be my first time watching Gomes catch since the Nats acquired him back in November. I was excited about that but mostly just excited to finally see some baseball!

Astros were the first to go out in front. Until 21-year-old Carter Kieboom launched a 2-run home run in the 2nd putting us in the lead. Carter is our No. 2 prospect and while he struggled a bit at second base, he killed his at-bats. Going 2-for-2 and hitting another home run in the 4th…scoring both those home runs off the Astros’ ace pitcher, Mr. Muscle Car himself, Justin Verlander. 

We would eventually remain in the lead, beating the ‘Stros 5-3 in 9 innings.

Stephen Strasburg pitched 4.67 innings, striking out six and allowing two runs, five hits and four walks.

Our No. 1 prospect, center fielder Victor Robles went 1-for-2 with 2 walks, 2 stolen bases,  and a run scored.

 

 

West Palm Beach – Day 2

Monday.

Yesterday was my first full day in the West Palm Beach/Boynton area. Although I’m actually staying in Boynton Beach, WPB is just a 10-15 min ride on 95 North from Boynton.

One of my goals for the 3-ish days I’d be visiting, was to workout at least 2 of those 3 days. And I knew I wanted to get those workouts in and out of the way before I truly started my day. I dropped in at Fitness Hub Studios in WPB after finding them on

ClassPass. There, I took a 45-min virtual cycle class. It was my first time taking a virtual class and I must say, it was great! Now I was the only person in the class, but it didn’t stop me from challenging myself or from having a good time.

*UPDATE* How could I forget that I paid TEN DOLLARS to park for 45 minutes near Fitness Hub?! However, they do validate parking if you park in the parking garage behind Duffy’s (Olive and Banyan Streets) and in the City Center garage (Banyan and Dixie Streets).

Knowing that Tuesday would mostly be spent at the ballpark and I would be heading back home on Wednesday, I wanted to make sure I also got in some time at the beach to read and recharge. So after a much needed shower and change of clothes, I headed straight to Oceanfront Park. Last year, I spent a few hours at Oceanfront Park and really enjoyed the amenities and cleanliness of the beach. There, I laid out a towel, spread across it, and dug further into Becoming. I occasionally looked up to see and listen to the sounds of the other beachgoers, and let my mind wander at the meditative sounds of the waves crashing ashore.

I also wanted to catch the sunset. However, Oceanfront Park is East facing so I hopped in the Jeep to travel just a mile down N Ocean Blvd to Ocean Inlet Park. I don’t know why, but I am rarely aware of the sun as it sets back home. Maybe it’s because I’m too busy trying to meet a deadline or run from one place to the other (geez I should really should do better). But watching the sunset on the water was something  I did every evening while here last year and it’s become a must-do. It’s almost as if my body needs it by the time it happens. SOLITUDE and PEACE To sit peacefully with nothing but my own thoughts. To reflect on the day’s events, the year-to-date, life so far, as the day ends with hope to live another one.

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FEED ME!

I scoped out a few places I wanted to try before arriving to WPB. One of those places was Prime Catch right here in Boynton, to where I headed just after the sun set. However, please DO NOT confuse Prime Catch with Prime – Delray Beach, which in full disclosure, is exactly where I made my reservations. The hostess was cool though…apparently I wasn’t the only one that’d made that mistake before and after about a 10 minute wait…I was seated.

I was greeted and taken care of by Andrew. Because I’m fancy, I ordered a glass of Malbec and an order of Veggie Fries for starters. Man those veggies were delicious! Tempura-fried asparagus, eggplant, and zucchini, drizzled with honey, and a lemon garlic aioli for dipping. It was like a dance party on my taste buds.

I went all in on the seafood for my main course, opting for the Prime Mixed Grill of lobster tail, scallops, jumbo shrimp, in a garlic herb butter. For sides, I chose the mashed potatoes and substituted the grilled asparagus it came with for sautéed garlic spinach.

I also didn’t skip dessert. My eyes zoomed in on the menu at the Flourless Swiss Chocolate Tort and it did not disappoint.

I didn’t eat all of my dinner or dessert but I wasn’t left feeling hungry or miserably full. The meal truly hit the sweet spot. Signaling the end of my meal, I was offered a slice of lemon and warm towel to rid my hands of the seafood smell. 

I’ll definitely be back and I would highly recommend Prime Catch…in Boynton…not Prime – Delray, to anyone looking for good seafood, welcoming environment, and outdoor seating.