Things Are Finally Heating Up

Literally!

Also, it has taken me quite a while to finally get this post…well…posted. You can blame the delay on everything from writer’s block, to living my best life, work, and travel.

A lot of this is old news at this point so I’ll simply summarize what I initially planned to talk about in this post.

Quite a few changes have taken place the last few weeks including…what feels like (and I’ve got my fingers crossed) an actual season: Spring! Or is it Summer? Nonetheless, the weather in the DC-area had been consistently warmer.


Fck Pittsburgh

There had also been recent line up changes that set Bryce as our lead off which brought him more home runs and bats alive at Nationals Park in the series against the Pittsburgh Pirates Did you know? The last time Bryce Harper batted lead off was in 2013. Also during this time the Capitals were in Round 2 of the Stanley Cup Playoffs playing against the Pittsburgh Penguins. And as you can imagine, there was a full blown campaign against everything Pittsburgh. We swept the Pirates and the Capitals eventually beat the Penguins 4-2. Caps are currently leading the series 2-1 against the Tampa Bay Lightning. Full disclosure…I’ve never actually been to a Capitals game in DC. However, I did see the Capitals play against the Lightning in Tampa on an impromptu trip to Tampa a few years back. Action-packed is an understatement. 

Bryce Harper Field Dedication 

On Saturday, May 5th, the Nationals Dream Foundation along with Bryce Harper, DC Mayor Muriel Bowser, and DC Department of Recreation and Parks dedicated Bryce Harper field at the Takoma Park Recreation Center.

However, that day was also the 6th Annual Johns Hopkins in Action Day. On this day alumni, students, faculty/staff, and friends volunteer at sites in Baltimore and DC. I’ve committed to this event every year since graduating, as a way to give back to the school and the community. I definitely experienced slight FOMO (fear of missing out). But I knew my time was spent where it was most needed. That day we wrapped over 3,500 diapers and sorted and counted over 800 articles of clothing at ShareBaby to be distributed to undeserved babies and families throughout Baltimore City.


Fast Forward…

We took the series against the Phillies (2-1),  the Padres (2-1), and SWEPT the Diamondbacks in a 4 game series. Wins that would bring us to a 24-18 record, 3rd in the NL East, and just 2 games behind the 1st place Braves.

It’s been raining a lot this week. On Tuesday we were supposed to start a 2 game series against the Yankees. However, that game got suspended in the middle of the 6th inning with the score tied 3-3. The plan then was to finish the remaining innings of that game on Wednesday about 30 minutes before playing Wednesday’s regularly scheduled game. But that sucker got postponed due to the rain…to June 18th. Despite how silly it sounds for the Yankees to make a one-day trip to DC in between their own home series to make up this game, our bullpen at least gets a much needed rest.

Now the Dodgers are in town but tonight’s game has been postponed…yep it’s raining…and I just got an email that tomorrow’s game (to which I have tickets) has been pushed back to 8:05p to accommodate the doubleheader.


I Had a Birthday!

Oh and last but not least…I just returned from a solo trip to Providenciales (Provo), Turks & Caicos to celebrate my birthday!!

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Grace Bay, Providenciales, Turks & Caicos

Have you ever seen the colors azure and cerulean in real life?! This trip was too amazing not to write about it so I will under a separate post.

There! I think we’re all caught up!

-Nika

And We’re Back!

It’s been a week since my last post and sadly…nothing much had changed.

When we left off the guys got their asses handed to them in Queens the last game of the series against the Mets. They’ve been on the West Coast (cue problematic light) since last Thursday taking on the Dodgers and then the Giants.

We won the first game against the Dodgers 5-2 then lost the remaining 2 games of that series and on Monday, started a 3-game series against the Giants. And yes…we lost…and lost again. Actually we had lost 4 consecutive games at that point.

But boy did our bats come alive on Wednesday!

Yep! You read that right…we beat the Giants!! 15-2!

With that win…we sit 11-14 and 4th in the NL East.

It’s still early right?!

We’re back home now and tonight we take on the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Meet me there.

-Nika

Are the Nats in The Upside Down?

In Netflix’s Stranger Things, The Upside Down exists as an alternate dimension parallel to the human world. There is no recognizable life in The Upside Down.

It would seem that the Mets showed up at CitiField to play baseball yesterday. I thought I saw the Nats on the television at CitiField too but perhaps they were there…only in parallel…in The Upside Down.

When I finally tuned into the game, the Nats had a 2-run lead over the Mets. Somewhere around the top of the 8th inning. I was confident, as I sat with some friends in El Rey (smashing Thai shrimp tacos and knocking back a margarita pitcher). We only had an inning and a half left to play.  I just knew we’d ride that lead, the momentum from winning the two games prior, get another Curly W to sweep, and take alladat on the road to LA. We were going to wrap this up before 10p so this grandma could go home.

Oh it was a wrap alright.

The Mets scored 9…NINE! additional runs folks. Six of those off of Ryan Madson. Game. Nats lose 11-5.

I don’t completely blame Madson. That was his fourth time pitching in five days.

That’s baseball for ya!

But one thing’s for certain…we’ve gotta make some changes to our bullpen and come up out of The Upside Down.

-Nika

via Daily Prompt: Parallel

Fret Not…We Might Be On Our Way!

Wow! It was just a yesterday I posted about the string of losses the Nats were being dealt. #IBackTheNats but I’m also realistic sooooo full disclosure…I had very low expectations for how my guys would fare in New York. I mean come on…the Mets swept us during our opening series at home.

Why would anyone think being in New York but work out in our favor?!

But boy are they proving me wrong! Last night, the guys took down the Mets 8-6 and beat the Mets again tonight, 5-2.

Max earned NL Player of the Week and Bryce blasted his 8th home run while breaking the barrel of his bat! BOOM!

And while the Rockies recently took that series from us…they’re small potatoes. We have #OnePursuit and the Mets are currently standing in 1st place in the NL East…aka…in our way.

The Nats are now 9-9. Still ranked 4th in the NL East but only 4 games behind. I’m still on the fence regarding whether or not “it’s still early” but this pivot change and momentum the guys seem to have feels pretty damn good!

Also, shout out to the Phillies for taking down the Braves today!

Let’s Go Nats!

-Nika

via Daily Prompt: Fret

Cranking Out Losses and Home Runs

The post I had planned for today was supposed to be about my favorite Nationals things but after seeing today’s word prompt, “Crank”…I was inspired to pause and instead write about these losses my guys have been cranking out and where this fan’s feelings currently reside on the Nats Fan Spectrum.

It’s been a little over two weeks since the baseball season officially started and while my guys opened the season strong…it’s been a LONG two weeks. During this time, the Nats have played 16 games, lost 9 of those, and fell from 1st to 4th place in the in NL East. Fourth ya’ll! Just 2.5 games behind the Marlins aka…LAST PLACE! It’s a slippery slope! They’re in Queens for the next 3 games playing the New York Mets and they to LA for 3 game series against the Dodgers. But guys, we played the Mets during our home opener series and they swept us! If home field advantage didn’t work then…dare I say?

True, it’s still early in the season. There are still about 146 games left to play. But I wonder, with the consistent losses, have we passed the “it’s still early” point in baseball? Have the last 2 weeks been indication of how the rest of the season will likely go? Are major adjustments needed? Or are we still “warming up”? Either way…this string of losses sucks @$$! I’m ride or die…I’m rooting for the Nats no matter what!

On a more positive note, Bryce Harper currently leads all of Major League Baseball in Home Runs with SEVEN so far this season. So there’s that but Bryce can’t carry team. We need to make plays and take advantage of opportunities when they present themselves or it’s going to be an even longer season. Like that whole time on Game of Thrones we were waiting for winter to come.

-Nika

via Daily Prompt: Crank

It WAS Lit…And Then We Lost

Hey guys! Sorry for the delay. Full plate but without further ado…here’s my rundown of Opening Day at Nationals Park:


In Rizzo We Trust! The energy for the day started with the early morning announcement hit that our GM Mike Rizzo would be sticking around for another two years.

I arrived at the park around 11:15a, not long after the gates opened and the lines were long as f*ck. The Season Ticket Holder line…you know the line with the red carpet that I should’ve taken…was super long so I opted for a shorter elsewhere. I got in, grabbed my Geico sponsored t-shirt featuring this year’s game schedule, and relished in the fact that baseball is officially back! There were things going on at every corner of the ballpark. DJs Flexx and Chris Styles were indeed spinning on the 1s and 2s which totally added to the hype of the day. The energy was live…red was EVERYWHERE! There were a few Mets fans sprinkled in but it was clearly our ballpark. You know…I love Opening Day for many reasons but the number of adults opting out of work and opting their children out of school for the experience just warmed my heart.

Team Store Finds

The fanatic that I am…I headed right to the Team Store to checkout what was new. That place is always a problem. However, this time I was prepared with budgeted cash (best way to stay on track with your financial goals IMO). But OMG! I was able to pick up what I feel is the perfect abbreviated version of my Nationals Hershel Supply Co backpack…THE HIP PACK!!! That thing had been sold out for most of the MLB teams online for a while now but the team store had it!!! I also picked up an Opening Series lapel pin for my lanyard and a pink toddler-grade bat/ball set for my bestie’s little girl…you have to start them early 🙂

Good EatsIMG_9955

After the team store, my next stop was food because…although I enjoy and appreciate the socialization around the game…I do go to watch the game. So once I get to my seat…I usually don’t get up again. I’m that person.

Jammin Island BBQ! Man…the jerk chicken and ribs combo was SO good! Warning…it’s a lot of food but this is probably the best value in the park. For $17, you get jerk ribs, jerk chicken, and your choice of two sides. You can choose between plantains, rice and beans, coleslaw, and fried yucca. My recommendation: GET IT! But ask for extra jerk sauce and enjoy! Locations: Section 141 and Red Loft 244


Ceremonial Things

Awards were on deck:

  • Max received the 2017 NL Cy Young Award. Max is now a back-to-back Cy Young winner in the NL. He also earned the Cy Young Award in 2013 while playing with the Detroit Tigers in the American League.
  • Murph received the Silver Slugger Award…again. That would be his 2nd consecutive.
  • Mr. Washington National himself…the Face of the Franchise, Ryan Zimmerman, received the NL Comeback Player of the Year. In 2017, Zim was selected to the All-Star Game for the first time since 2009, hit the longest hit homer in Nationals Park, set a new Nationals/Expos franchise record with his 235th career home run, and set the Nationals’ franchise record for most runs batted in!

Heart-warming special guests were there too:

  • Deputy First Class Blaine Gaskill of the St. Mary’s County Sheriff’s Office and Great Mills High School threw out the ceremonial first pitch to a standing ovation.
  • Serving us Black Girl Magic, Maame Biney (Olympic short track speedskater) and uber cool Noah Groves (sled hockey gold medalist) delivered the lineup card.
  • The U.S. Army Chorus Quartet performed the National Anthem. There was no flyover though. Perhaps something more critical came up and they had to abort? Like impending travel that made the area restricted airspace? I dunno…there was never any mention of it after that terrible awkward silence following the last lined belt of The Star-Spangled Banner. Everyone I saw just looked around (and up in the sky) waiting…some took guesses at other opportunities for the flyover to occur as the game progressed. We’re still waiting.
  • Mayor Bowser and cute little Parker Curry gave us the green light to “Play Ball!”

The Game

Did I mention how dynamic the game of baseball is?

We started off good. Stras did Stras things. We had a 1-run lead…and then entered Jay Bruce. To speed things up a bit…Stras balked, Eaton left early on a minor injury sliding into home, the home base ump was on some bs (that whole crew can kick rocks btw), Trea was ejected (1st career), Cespedes homered on a 95 mph fast ball (gotta give credit), we loaded the bases but came up empty, Stras would end after 6 innings, and the Mets went on to earn a grand slam on Kintzler. That energy I spoke of earlier? Yeah…that faded and the reality of a loss on Opening Day and the fact that I had been outside in 42° weather hit…HARD.

Two hours and 57 minutes with 42,477 in attendance…we lost 8-2 and dropped to 3rd in the NL East behind the Braves and the Mets.


Although the Nats were never able to catch up…

I was able to catch up with Stephen! (See what I did there? lol) Stephen and I met last year at the Nationals Crab Feast and made it a point to stay in touch. We were passing ships during Spring Training but met up on Opening Day for a brief chat and of course…a pic!

Despite the loss(es) it was still a good day for baseball. It’s still early in the season. We have a long way to go but I’m excited to see how the season unfolds.

#onepursuit #ibackthenats

-Nika