#openingdayathome

Opening Day looks a little different this year.

I’m sad about it but I’d be home today anyway. The Nats Home Opener wouldn’t have been until Tuesday. However, the season is suspended indefinitely as the world continues to fight a battle with an invisible enemy. Sadly, we haven’t even seen the worst of it in the DC area.

So today, what would’ve been opening day, baseball fans put on what they would’ve worn to their team’s home opener and celebrate #openingdayathome across social media instead.

A special thank you to the folks at YouTube for streaming Game 7 of the 2019 World Series today.

Because as we learned from last season, bumpy roads lead to beautiful places.

Stay safe and healthy my friends.

Baseball, I Miss You (Already)

Thursday, March 12, 2020

It’s your girl, Nika.

I had planned for this post to go something like:

It’s been a while. The postseason was crazy ya’ll! We are the 2019 World Series champions! I was therE! It was magical! Who would’ve thought?! Also, I just got back from Spring Training and this is what I did…

Instead, I’m here to talk about this Coronavirus pandemic and my feelings when I learned about MLB’s call to cancel all remaining Spring Training games and postpone the start of the regular season, by at least 2 weeks.

If you haven’t seen that announcement, here it is.

I just came back on Sunday from West Palm Beach. It was amazing! I’ll definitely post more details about it later.

Over the last few days, I’ve seen the number of confirmed cases rise and more businesses sending out emails regarding the additional measures they would be taking to prevent the spread of the virus. I’m not sure whether it was MLS or the NCAA that was the first sports organization that suspended or modified spectatorship, but I knew it wouldn’t be long before MLB announced similar measures.

But even when I saw the notification pop up on my phone screen, it didn’t make the blow any less devastating.

I was in the parking lot of a Wegmans, walking back to my car after returning the shopping cart. I stopped and gasped. It felt like what could only be described as the moment you find out some bad news about someone you really love.

I finally got back to my car but I sat there for a while…crying. How could this be?! Not baseball!

I am a huge fan of the Washington Nationals. Baseball has been in my life from as far back as I can remember. The new season is something I look forward to and have built an entire process around. It’s my stress relief and the one thing I don’t make nor accept any negotiations on.

Of course, this global pandemic is bigger than baseball and as a public health professional…I get it. The only way to slow the progression of this virus is to limit social activity, especially in mass gatherings.

So for now, we wait it out. I’m still on scheduled leave from work. Feeling copacetic since returning from Florida. Trying to do my part as both a potential carrier and victim.

Feeling extremely grateful, for many things, but definitely for having the chance to witness baseball in March.

FOLLOW ME & FINISH THE FIGHT!

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ICYMI: The Nationals are in the World Series!!!

Friday night, I was blessed to be at THE first World Series to happen in DC in 86 years and THE first ever World Series game at Nationals Park!!

Our road to to the World Series from a 19-31 record in May has been historical and nothing short of AHH-MAZING!

I’ll definitely come back here to write a full blog post about my experience at the Wild Card Game, NLDS and NLCS games, and Game 3 of the WORLD SERIES. In the meantime, make sure you’re following me on Instagram at @nikasonfirst for recent posts, real-time stories and highlights of the postseason!

FINISH THE FIGHT!

-Nika

#TBT – Super Heroes, Siths, and Saltiness

I know what you’re thinking…”Damn girl, you’re still here?!” Yes, yes I am. Listen keeping up with writing and everything else life throws your way is hard! I have much respect for those of you who do this professionally and/or with some level of consistency.

But I’m back right now and OMG so much has happened!

We A LOT of lost games.

…and at one point I never thought we’d get to .500 (meaning we have the same number of wins and losses). But we did… actually we’re .535 (8 games over .500) and look real good sitting at 2nd place in the National League East, 6 games behind Atlanta and 1.5 games in front of Philly! For the first time in Nationals history, we are Wild Card contenders. You see in the years we’ve won the National League East we had the wins and simply clinched it. This time is different because we’re coming back from a big deficit. But watching us play during this second half in pursuit of a chance at making the playoffs, certainly makes for good baseball and high blood pressure.

The BF and I had our first outing together at the ballpark…and then another!

May 25th – Marvel Super Hero Day

Although he had done the Spartan Stadion at the ballpark just two weeks prior (*ahem* on my birthday), this would be The BF’s first time at the ballpark for an actual game. I felt the pressure. Admittedly, I had my doubts. The ballpark is one of my happy places and I’m quite protective of that. Plus my past dating during baseball season (DDBS and yes, I just made that up) experience had been shitty at best. So just in case he wasn’t that into baseball or was uncomfortable with how much I am, I chose two themed games I knew he’d enjoy: Marvel Super Hero Day and Star Wars Day. To say he loves these two things, universes, cults, or whatever you want to call them would be a gross understatement.

We arrived at the ballpark a little late, missing the Ryan Zimmerman as Captain America bobblehead giveaway. It was hot and humid and I wondered how well, if at all, I would balance following the game and making sure The BF was comfortable. After all I had dragged him out to the ballpark on a hot and humid day to sit in the direct sun for several hours. Turns out that as usual I hyped that entire scenario…in my head. Things had been effortless with us up to that point and being at the ballpark was no different. It was perfect and by the end, I was looking forward to catching another game with him. I actually think he paid more attention than I did and I might have observed the beginning signs of conversion.

We walked away with a Curly W, beating the Marlins 5-0. The biggest win for me though was walking away knowing that I have someone who loves me, even when I’m a sweaty screaming fanatic at the ballpark.

June 15th – Star Wars Day

Star Wars Day was our second time at the ballpark. We arrived early enough to snag the Obi Sean Kenobi bobblehead. Before taking our seats we checked out battles between The Resistance and The First Order, fans young and old in cosplay, an inflatable Death Star, and a pretty cool R2D2.

I must say that while the Nationals did well with Marvel Super Hero Day, they just did a must better job with Star Wars Day. It was a completely different experience with Star Wars-themed sights, food, and entertainment all throughout. Which made up well for the 10-3 loss to the Diamondbacks.

I took my salty family to the ballpark too!

June 4th

Every year, I bring some of my favorite people out to a game and it’s always a good time. Usually Karl and Jen will join me for a Phillies game, and Kyle, an Orioles game, but this year everyone joined me when the White Sox were in town. This was during the time that neither team had reached .500. To be clear…they weren’t salty at first. Actually when they arrived at the ballpark, they were quite confident the White Sox would take the win to get them closer to .500.

I just checked…they are .451 and 18.5 games behind the Minnesota Twins so I’ll spare you the details of how that game went (we won 9-5).

Also since this post is super late and the cat’s finally out of the bag…

Congratulations Jennifer & Karl! 💙

 

I’m Still Team F*ck You Bryce!

Boy this guy really gives the term “money talks and bullshit walks” a new meaning…

https://www.nbcsports.com/washington/nationals/insulting-dc-sports-teams-continue-be-what-bryce-harper-does-best?fbclid=IwAR1w4sh7locIK-pYauYnLl6ZkElOjU_WXlS6Gpok8g-iiO6G3kfYr00JjyA

AwesomeCon over Baseball?

I’m currently on a metro train headed towards Navy Yard-Ballpark. The Nats have a 1:35p game against the San Diego Padres. It’s the last game of the already lost series. There are lots of people dressed in Nats gear and kids are bopping around with excitement. I should be headed there…but I’m not. I’m hopping off this train 6 stops before Navy Yard-Ballpark for Day 3 of Awesome Con!

I had a choice: go to the game or finish my 3-Day pass…absorbing myself in all things pop culture, gaming, fantasy, sci-fi, science, comics, etc.

I chose the latter…concluding I’d get more out of the experience. Plus the boyfriend is there so I’ve got that going for me.

The Nats are having a rough time and the fans are feeling it. Facebook group conversations are more negative. Cursing the Lerners, the bullpen, and Davey Martinez. Shit maybe even the Universe itself.

I love my team (Go Nats!) but no one walks into disappointment, knowingly.

Happy Sunday Folks!

NATS Plus – Player For a Day

Sunday, April 7th

(Yes, I’m behind, behind.)

One of the benefits of being a Nationals NATS Plus Member are the events the Nationals hold for members throughout the season. Player For a Day (PFD) didn’t happen last year but when I found out that it was a go this year, I new I didn’t want to miss out.

PFD is exactly as it sounds…for a few hours, fans get to roam about the park (in an organized fashion of course) as if we were a Washington Nationals baseball player.

Two years ago, my first time attending, I brought along my little cousin Korey. This time however, I brought an adult…Kyle. Kyle and I have a banter laden in sarcasm, especially around invites to the ballpark, so I know he would enjoy this experience. He happens to be a Chicago White Sox fan but trolled me prior to that Sunday, “Question, can I wear my Phillies Hat?”

We arrived at the ballpark with time to kill so we stood around chatting about sports in general, dating, places to eat, and his graphic design stuff.

Upon entering, I expected to see the warm up area where we get to do a few work outs in the outfield but that wasn’t there, folks were playing catch in the outfield but we decided to make our first stop at the Bullpen Car.

Bullpen Car


More popular in the 50s and 60s, the bullpen car brought relief pitchers into the game from the bullpen to the pitcher’s mound. In an attempt to help speed up the game, this cute little baseball-themed Herbie made its debut at Nationals Park on August 17, 2018. However, only a few pitchers have ever rode in it.

Speed Pitch
Oh yeah! So during the Speed Pitch activity, we got to throw 3 pitches in the bullpen. This was my chance to let my inner Max Scherzer out!


I totally forgot that in addition to professional football, that Kyle had played baseball before and he did pretty well. He would’ve nailed it had his ball stayed straight. Apparently, it’s all in the release.

As for me, I kept my expectations low.

Sometimes you have to be your own hype man!

Dugout
It was pretty cool sitting in the place where my guys hang out during the game.

In addition to this photoshoot we were apparently having, I spotted the cubbies of a few of my favorite players and made a call to the bullpen. Though when I made my call, I envisioned solid options on the other side. *sigh*

On Deck Circle
We made quick detour to the On Deck photo op before heading to the down to the batting cages. Even though this circle is way fancier than the rubber one the guys usually stand on before stepping into the batters box, it was still pretty cool to stand there.

Batting Cages

We then backtracked a little down towards the Nationals’ clubhouse and to the batting cages. I just knew the struggle was going to be real for me and initially opted out of participating. But hey, how many opportunities does one get to be in the batting cages of their favorite baseball team?!? It was a no brainer but the struggle was real:

I told you. I could use some work. It felt good though so you might see me in batting cages again soon!

But of course I’d look bad stepping into the cages after this show off (advance apologies for the video snafu):

Show off. Did you hear the guy ask if Kyle played before and that he should at least be on a softball team?! *eye roll*

After, we stopped by the Delta Sky360 Lounge for a quick rest and some refreshments. The set up was cute but if I could change one thing, we’d have less brick-like pretzels! We stayed for a few minutes, catching about an inning of the Nationals dealing it to the NY Mets at CitiField, then beelined for some real food.

Only while writing did I realize that we totally missed the Dress Like A Player stop in the visitors’ clubhouse.

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Parting Gifts
On our way out, I stopped to pick up my NATS Plus 2-Year Commitment gift: A replica All-Star Game ring. This baby had been available during the regular season but I kept forgetting to pick it up.

We topped the day off with ramen and drunkin’ dumplings at one of my favorite Japanese restaurants in DC.

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