#TBT: Baseball and Framily

Hey ya’ll! So I’m back for another throwback!

When I started this blog last year, the purpose was clear: share my experiences as a Washington Nationals fan with the hope of encouraging the “baseball averse” to join in on the fun. I’ve been doing just that but as I recently scrolled through my camera roll, I realized I haven’t shared those outings. Be it some work colleagues, family, or friends, I’ve been lucky to have several people join me at one of my happy places.

Of course I tend to be super hype when I’m not alone. Governing myself as THE (unofficial) expert on Nationals Park amenities and happenings, as if I’m the Official Fan Experience Advisor. If that’s not a thing, it absolutely should be. No arrogance of course but I’m definitely proud of our ballpark. The way I carry on, you’d think I was hosting an episode of MTV Cribs or showing a home for sale. But that’s what it is, the ballpark, my second home during baseball season and I’ve spent enough time there to know it quite well.

So this Throwback Thursday I’m sharing some of my favorite ballpark adventures with some of my favorite people.

The Kids

No not my kids (at least not yet). But I believe that kids should be given opportunities to experience new/different things, when possible. During the year, the Nationals host special events for season plan holders. I not only make it a point to take advantage of that perk but I also make an attempt to bring along someone’s child(ren) along for the experience.

Player for a Day was a real treat for my little cousin and me! We threw pitches in the bullpen, swung in the batting cages, hung out in the dugout, and pretended to be up next to bat on the on deck circle. And of course Star Wars Day at the park was a hit!

This past summer, baseball fans celebrated the 25th Anniversary of the baseball classic The Sandlot. The Nationals hosted Movie Night at Nationals Park for an on-field experience to watch the movie and my heart was overjoyed when my girlfriend Stephanie and her two girls (I call them The Littles) joined me. We smiled and giggled while eating our picnic dinner and then laid back and munched on snacks when it was movie time. I remember looking over and being so happy to see the girls watching the movie so attentively. I mean it came out when I was 12 years old! To be honest though, I don’t know who had more fun: the The Littles or Stephanie and I. This was such a great experience and I certainly hope they remember it for years to come.

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Framily

You know there are friends and then there’s family…and then there are your friends that you consider family. Some have joined me for the occasional game, some come out annually for the Nationals Crab Feast, or for games like the Battle of the Beltways between the Nats and Orioles and even when the Phillies are in town. Then there’s the framily that say they’re coming out and haven’t. Not pictured. Obviously. But I’m not giving up!

Work Colleagues

Then there’s the couple of times I’ve brought or met up with my scientific work peeps.  We’re all biologist, toxicologist, chemist, microbiologist, and biotechnologist. Just out at the game for some relaxation, a little fellowship, and beer (of course).

Whether I’ve been able to fully convert them into fans or not, I’m truly grateful for the people in my circle that accept me and my baseball antics.

“A friend is someone who gives you total freedom to be yourself.” – Jim Morrison

– Nika

Love and Baseball?

Okay so…I’m dating!

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Yes…get hype for this one! I’ve had my share of ups and downs with online dating but my new guy has been a breath of fresh air and I am open to all of the abundance this new relationship has to give! Now of course there were things that caused other dates/relationships to never take off, but would you ever think liking baseball would be one of them?

In the essence of time and boundaries, I’ll share just this one experience. I was attempting to get to know a guy this past summer. It was right at the start of All-Star Week. I guess in hindsight maybe that wasn’t such a good idea because it was a super busy time. However, I did what I thought was my best in communicating upfront my agenda for a particular day and when I would likely be available to talk. I don’t know, but it became obvious that he didn’t care to understand all that All-Star Week was or allow some flexibility. I found myself defending why I liked baseball so much and traveled to the ballpark day after day that week. This guy also reminded me that I’m a woman and I’m Black…like I wanted to forget or be something different or that it excluded me from being a spectator.

Unfortunately, that wasn’t my only bad experience with dating and baseball and for some guys (clearly not the right one), it can be hard to understand a woman’s affinity for any sport…especially a sport like baseball. What is this the Republic of Gilead?!

Let’s do some math: There are 162 games during the regular baseball season and about half of those are home games. So if you’re a full-season ticket holder that’s roughly 81 home games. I have a half-season plan with the Nationals so that’s still 42 games. We haven’t even factored in the Postseason into this equation. Now that doesn’t mean folks go to every single game they have tickets for, because I surely don’t. That’s a lot of freaking games! But the probability of being at the ballpark and/or watching the games on tv multiple days out of the week is kinda high. Would only someone who loves or at the minimum can tolerate baseball understand and accept that?

Well given my past experiences with baseball and dating, I figured it was time to throw out a disclaimer to my new guy. It was the day after the Super Bowl. As I do most mornings, I jumped into Google Hangouts to chat with him. He sent a few messages about the Super Bowl and how low viewership was this time around. Good. I was still in my feelings about the outcome of the Saints/Rams game so I was pretty much done with football. Baseball season was coming and I finally had something to look forward to! I sent a few messages about baseball to change the subject (sorry babe) and to provide a segue to my disclaimer:

Me: I apologize in advance…baseball will become a huge part of my life over the next few months.

My New Guy: No apologies needed! Baseball will become a huge part of my life then.

Me (to myself): I’m sorry, what?!

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Told ya…breath of freaking fresh air! Am I lucky or what?!

So after picking myself back off the floor I wondered: How important is it that your significant other like baseball (or insert any other interest) too? Do we just need the freedom to enjoy what we like or would we prefer their willingness to learn about and occasionally join us at what we’re interested in?

Have you had an experience (good or bad) dating during the season of your favorite sport or otherwise trying to enjoy something of interest? We want to know so feel free to share in the comments!

-Nika

My 2018 World Series Prediction

Hey!

The 2018 World Series is officially here and I’d like to go on record now:

The Los Angeles Dodgers – Game 7.

Don’t debate me.

-Nika

#TBT NAT for Life!

Do blogs participate in #ThrowbackThursday too?! This one does!

It’s been a LONG time and there is much catching up to do. What better day to throw it back to one of my favorite highlights this season than Throwback Thursday?

Continue reading “#TBT NAT for Life!”

Happy Independence Day!

Hey y’all! I’m still here!

Happy Independence Day!

It’s never easy being a DC sports fan but it has definitely been a rough time for this Nats fan…and I know I’m not alone. Not to mention it’s TOO DAMN HOT to sit at the ballpark and watch the team fail night after night.

I skipped the 11a too-hot-to-be-disappointed game today to spend time with my Mom and Godmother instead. Somehow we still ended up near the ballpark, enjoying the scenery at The Yards, where I ran into a couple of Red Sox fans shortly after the game.

Nats lost to the Red Sox AGAIN today 3-0. Sweep for Boston. FIFTH straight loss for us.

In other news, I received my All-Star event tickets a couple of weeks ago. So I’m looking forward to that at this point because unlike a Curly W(in) from the Nats, it is certain.

-Nika

Fried Fish and Crab Cakes

Thursday, May 31st

While definite favorites of this Maryland girl, today’s post is about how the Nats are now the hottest team in Major League Baseball!

No kidding!

The Nationals have gone 21-6 in the past 27 games and are now 1st in the NL East. Talk about comeback kids!

You’re probably scratching your head wondering how this happened considering we have 11 of some of our best men on the disabled list. Additionally, 10 currently active players…weren’t even with us at the start of the season!

Following a homestead against the Yankees, Dodgers, and Padres (and in that order), we hit South to Miami to take on the Marlins in a 3 game series. The Nationals filleted and fried those fish! 9-5, 4-1, and 5-2. After which, my guys came back to the DMV for the (in my opinion) much anticipated Battle of the Beltways. Perhaps it’s not the big deal some of us hype it up to be, but it makes for a good time when I can troll my brother on social media who happens to be an Oriole fan. 

We went on to blank the Os in 2 games out of three, 6-0, 3-2, 2-0 and swept the series. Can I just say how AWESOME Max Scherzer is?! I mean your fave could never pitch 8 solid innings without breaking a sweat!

Although Baltimore doesn’t appear to be much of a contender this season, the National’s series win in Baltimore was the first since 2015…enough to put the Nationals back where they should be: 1st in the NL East! It only took 57 days. This is the first time we’ve been in first place since April 3rd (when we were 4-1) in the grand scheme of the season… a millisecond after opening day.

Wednesday’s win against the Orioles was the Nat’s 6th straight win, 9th straight win on the road (20-8). Home is a different story where we are currently 12-14. However, I’m sure the energy and momentum will translate well at Nationals Park when the guys come back from Atlanta to face the Tampa Bay Rays (FYI – Denard Span is now with the Seattle Mariners).

Of course because in baseball much like in life…one day you’re up, the next you’re down.

And this blog post couldn’t keep the pace.

On Thursday night, the Braves jumped back to 1st with the Nats loss in Atlanta 4-2. This put us a half game behind the Braves. Record: 32-23

As of the time I am still writing this…Friday, June 1st at 11:07p EST…the Nats have dropped to 3rd. THIRD! Braves completely shut us out tonight 4-0. Our loss, a Phillies win knocks us back 1.5 games from 1st. Record 32-24 (OTR 20-10).

That’s baseball for ya!

We’re halfway through this series with the Braves, so let’s see if we can get back on top by winning the next 2 games and split the series.

-Nika

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