Saturday: What a Beautiful Day for Baseball

Saturday, March 30th.

I started the morning attending my favorite cycle class then ran a few errands. I was still debating about going to the 1:05p game because I also had plans in Reston later in the evening, so rushing to the ballpark was the last thing on my mind. On the other hand, it would be the first Saturday game of the season, it was still Opening Weekend, and the forecast was calling for clear skies and a high of 77˚. I knew if I didn’t go to the game, I would regret it and maybe not spend as much time outside enjoying the weather.

So I decided to go, going all the way in by choosing to walk the mile to the metro toward Navy Yard – Ballpark.

I arrived late, missing the 106.7 FM Radio Lanyard giveaway. It was the 2nd of a 3-game series against the Mets. Stephen Strasburg (#37) was up against Noah Syndergaard aka Thor.  A nice match up for a beautiful day!

The score was 4-1, and the bottom of the 3rd inning. 

Victor Robles (#16) made his mark, hitting our first home run of the season to left field. 4-2. Juan Soto cleaned that up with a base hit that brought Adam Eaton home. 4-3.

That was it! We seemed to have gained some momentum, closing in on the Mets to just a 1-run deficit.

But then Robles the same guy who made mistakes on Opening Day and earlier in this game, but had just secured the team’s first home run of the season, got his @$$ tagged off the bag on 1st base! He’s out. *sigh* 

I’d like to pause here for a second to just let you know that Adam “Spanky” Eaton is like my favorite “right now” player!

Okay back to my story.

Soto comes to the rescue with a ground ball in the middle where there wasn’t a Met in sight. Soto hustle’s toward 2nd base. The Mets’ Conforto throws the ball toward 2nd base in an attempt to get Soto out, but over throws it and Soto is safe on 2nd base. This results in a double for Soto and an error for the Mets. Man I love how this game can change at any minute!

It’s the bottom of the 6th inning, Kurt Suzuki (#28 and Jayson Werth’s old number) is at bat. He hits a fly ball to center field and is caught, but it’s just enough to bring Soto home to tie the game. 4-4.

Like I said, it can change at any minute. As has been the theme since last season, I don’t know what happened or where the time went, but at first the score was 4-4 and now at the top of the 8th it’s 7-4. When did the Mets score 3 more runs?! Oh that’s right…as our bullpen collapsed again. Seriously, our bullpen is trash at the moment. However, I can’t remember a time when we actually had a solid one.

Anyway, after Strasburg pitched his 6 innings we ended up bidding time and not productively. Relief pitchers Tony Sipp, Trevor Rosenthal, Kyle Barraclough, Matt Grace, and closer Wander Suero would all make visits to the pitchers mound.

Here’s the thing: not ANYONE of them pitched for more than 1 inning. I’VE NEVER SEEN SO MUCH PIECE MEALING TO GET THROUGH A GAME IN MY LIFE! We have to get this together. We cannot have starting pitchers that keep runs to a minimum all for it to be erased by the rest of the pitching staff.

Anyway, then it was 11-4.

Yes…WHISKEY….TANGO….FOXTROT?!

Eventually we got what I thought was a perfect moment to come back. Bases were loaded, I’ve forgotten what inning this was at this point, but Davey had finally made a smart decision by having Matt Adams hit in place of Brian Dozier. I still hadn’t seen Dozier produce anything worthwhile so to me this was great. Big City was hitting and I was hype. The Mets decided on a pitching change mid-hype. Fine…get it over with. However, Matt’s bat just didn’t get the ball out of the field. Ball height was there, not enough depth.

We loaded the bases again in the bottom of the 9th inning. I paid attention this time…it was go hard or go home. When at home, the bottom of the 9th is the last chance for the Nationals to score runs. I mean we didn’t have a chance in hell of winning this game but we could at least try to lessen the gap, right?

The bases looked something like Trea Turner on first, Victor Robles on second, and Andrew Stevenson on third. We had only 1 out. Anthony Rendon was up next. Rendon was walked to first, which meant Stevenson walked on home.

The score was 11-5.

Juan Soto (#22) was next. It was a tight high pressured situation. It was a moment reminiscent of Bryce Harper. Twenty-year old outfielder at bat, with the bases loaded, and the potential to close the gap. But he struck out.

First baseman Ryan Zimmerman (#11) aka Mr. Walkoff aka Mr. Franchise came next. This guy is an OG. He’s the the ONLY remaining National from the 2005 inaugural season. He hits to left field off the wall and it’s just enough for Robles, Turner, and Rendon to come home…in that order.

The score was now 11-8 and would remain that way. Suzuki (#28) got the last out for the team. So…we didn’t win but we did take a 7-run deficit to come out behind by only 3! 

There were 33,764 other people enjoying the game and the weather with me that day. The game was 3 hours and 50 mins long.


Record | 0-2

Opening Day 2019

On Opening Day, you wake up SUPER hyped!

After what seemed like the longest winter…EVERRRRRR, Opening Day had finally arrived!

The best way to describe Opening Day is that it’s like the First Day of School or even Christmas morning. I’ve experienced Opening Day before but there I was, surprised I managed to sleep at all the night before. It’s like a ball of energy in anticipation for the day, that’s just waiting to be let out. I needed to tell someone…anyone. So I jumped onto Instagram to declare my excitement but then realized despite having over 800 “followers” on my personal my Instagram account, majority knew or cared little to nothing about baseball. I’d have to wait until I got to the ballpark.

I grabbed the remaining items I needed for the day then went into my closest to figure out what I was going to wear. I tend to leave what I wear on Opening Day to what sparks joy, harnessing my inner Marie Kondo. I opted for my red Curly W hat with “Nika” embroidered on the side, a red player-less jersey over a blue henley, jeans, Curly W argyle socks, and my red Converse sneakers.

It was 10:20a when I finally got in my car and made my way to the metro. At first I thought I might have missed the wave, as there’s usually other Nats fans on the train with me. However, as the train chugged along, the presence of Nats fans and the color red increased. Nine stops later (and around 10:50a), I arrived at Navy Yard Ballpark.


On Opening Day you get re-adjusted and maybe make a new friend.

Making my way down Half Street, I remember how happy I was to see that the street vendors selling bottled water, peanuts, hot dogs, and other snacks hadn’t been img_2785-1completely displaced by the development and construction going on in the area….yet.

I was surprised to find that the lines were a lot shorter than I expected given that gates would be opening at 11:05a. I decided to stand in one of the the Season Plan Holder lines so I put on my new NatsPlus 2019 lanyard and credentials for access. Despite my previous thoughts…this thing…it grows on you.

Waiting in line, I couldn’t help but jam to the sounds of DJ Flexx from WPGC 95.5 deejaying just inside the park. I also struck up conversations with fellow Nats fans, in particular Ms. Nettie. I’d never met or seen Ms. Nettie before that day, but I believe particular people are placed into your life, not just for a reason, but also at the right time. We immediately clicked. Like me, she’s a Black woman that loves baseball and was also at the park by herself that day. What’s even more awesome about her is that in addition to being a baseball fan, she’s a big hockey fan too and holds season tickets for the Capitals!

Ms. Nettie and I bid each other a “see you later” shortly after entering the ballpark. Once through the gates, I grabbed the giveaway for the day: a red DC Flag/Curly W t-shirt with the team’s home schedule on the back, then made my way over to take a pic in front of a Curly W made of balloons. Seriously, how cool is that?!

My next stop before doing anything else, is always the team store. My toughest budgeting test really. But before I could get there, I ran into Ms. Nettie again. Like a giddy school girl on the first day of school, I told her all about the Curly W balloon photo op and that she just had to get her picture taken too. So we decided to come back to the team store together.


On Opening Day you get new merch.

There were people, people everywhere in the team store. The line literally wrapped a couple of times around itself. But like with Spring Training, I have must-get items on Opening Day. One being a lapel pin for my lanyard and the other, whatever additional item catches my eye. This time I chose a navy hat with a red block W, a nod to the Washington Senators.

 …and more merch.

I left Ms. Nettie again, but not before exchanging numbers and making a deal to keep in touch. I then ventured upstairs to look around and scope out new places to eat. I didn’t make it far at all before I came up on the Breaking T kiosk and some pretty dope t-shirt designs. I grabbed two. If you’re keeping track, I’ve now acquired 3 shirts, a hat, and a lapel pin.

Avoiding further damage, I went straight to my seat to enjoy the program.


On Opening Day you catch up with old friends like on the first day of school!

I caught up with the usual suspects like Tripp, Captain Obvious, my section/row mate Beverly, and of course Matt, the beer man…oh and Stephen! I met Stephen back in 2017 at the Nationals Crab Feast on the Field. We made it a point to keep in touch and Thursday marked Opening Day #2 that we caught up and of course took a selfie!


On Opening Day your Ace pitches.

Max Scherzer (#31), a 6x All-Star, 3x Cy Young award winner and a definite for the Baseball Hall of Fame, was our starting pitcher for the day. He would be going up against the recent Cy Young award winner, Jacob DeGrom of the New York Mets. Before taking my seat for good, I went a few sections over to snap some pics of Mad Max warming up near the bullpen.


On Opening Day there’s pomp and circumstance.

Opening Day is ceremonious. We had the pleasure of having James Brown from CBS News emcee the event. There was an emotional tribute to the late Frank Robinson, the first Black manager in MLB history and a former manager of the Nationals, followed by a moment of silence.  The Mets and Nationals players, coaches, and managers were then introduced.

The Star-Spangled Banner was performed by the U.S. Army Chorus Quartet as a United States-shaped American flag was spread across the outfield by the U.S. Coast Guard Color Guard. A white star was creatively used to depict Alaska or Hawaii or both? Anyway, the Nationals Opening Day ceremony never disappoints.

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Unlike last year, the the Star-Spangled Banner was capped off by a flyover performed by the 113th Wing Capital Guardians. I wasn’t prepared, so I missed getting a pic/video of it but believe me it was glorious!

D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser gave us the the green light when she shouted “Lets Play Ball!”

GAME TIME!


On Opening Day, it’s totally normal to drink beer for lunch.

Trust me, it was 5 o’clock somewhere. There’s nothing like a cold can (or two) of Bud Light from your favorite Beer Man, on a beautiful day, while enjoying your and America’s favorite pastime.


On Opening Day your team either wins or it loses.

First pitch was at 1:07p. Both pitchers were starting the season and this series with a record of 0-0. Max would strike out his first batter, Brandon Nimmo but Robinson Cano would hit the very first home run of the season and the first run of the game, in the 1st inning.

It was good to see former Nationals catcher now Met, Wilson Ramos who received a warm welcome when it was his time at bat. Nats fans shouted “Wiiilllllllson!” the way we used to when he was behind the plate for us.

The game went on and by the 6th inning Max had 10 strike outs but our offense had yet to score a run.

Road Runner Trea Turner (#7) stole his 2nd base in the bottom of the 6th. He was challenged by Manager Davey Martinez to steal 80 bases this season. At the pace from Opening Day, he’s on track to stealing upwards of 500 bases this year!

It was such a beautiful day for baseball. The only thing more we could ask for was a run or two!

(On Opening Day you’re also reminded your team still has the same issues from before.)

I’m not exactly sure why Davey decided to allow Max to hit for himself after already pitching 7 innings and we were trailing 1-0. In the American League, there’s a player known as the Designated Hitter (DH) that always bats for the pitcher. However, in the National League (where the Nationals play), there is no DH. Managers and pitchers can decide whether the pitcher will hit for himself or bring in a pinch hitter (PH) to hit for the pitcher. Max ended up striking out during a moment that could have been pivotal for us had Davey simply played a PH. I don’t blame Max, he has the tendency to rake (hit well) but Davey should’ve made a play that would have gotten us closer to scoring a run.

Max would pitch 7 and 2/3 innings before being relieved by Hellickson…and then the bullpen just fell apart. That on top of a lack of offense kept us scoreless.

There’s no half time in baseball but the 7th Inning Stretch provides an opportunity to…well…stretch and reclaim your hype. As custom, we sang Take Me Out to the Ball Game. After which, there’s usually an up-to-date popular song guaranteed to get us moving. I was surprised to hear Take On Me! Take On Me used to be a walk-up song for Michael Morse, a beloved former National turned San Fran Giant, who saw his career ended way too early after suffering a concussion during an on-field brawl. That song always got crowd participation and brought back all the feels of that time when Morse was on the team.

(Ignore the abrupt ending, there was a t-shirt being thrown my way.)

We would return to the game. Leaving runners stranded in scoring position (2nd or 3rd base) several times. Victor Robles lost on what would’ve been a run after hesitating on a ground ball. Robinson Cano would score on a single off Matt Grace in the 8th inning.

All in all, two GREAT pitchers pitched that day, recording historical double-digit strikeouts so the game was low scoring, each team having only 5 hits. At the end of 2 hours and 44 minutes, we lost 2-0. Max ended that game 0-1, DeGrom 1-0.

On Opening Day, there are 161 games remaining…still.


Record | 0-1

Waiting on Opening Day like…

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It’s An Exhibition: Yankees vs. Nats

Last night was my first time back in the ballpark since last season. It’s funny because during the off season, when I thought about the ballpark I could literally do a mental POV scan of the ballpark as if I was just there yesterday.

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No, baseball season hasn’t officially started yet. Yesterday was an exhibition game against the New York Yankees. It’s like that very last Spring Training game but not in sunny West Palm Beach or any other Spring Training facilities. Opening Day, the official start of the baseball season, is only 2 days away.

I arrived after first pitch after a mad dash home from work to change then hop on the metro. Matter of fact it was the top of the 2nd inning when I arrived and I found is already on the board with 2 runs to nothing. Apparently, I had missed Anthony Rendon’s (#6 and again, one of the leagues best 3rd basemen…PAY THE MAN already!) 2-run home run that put us on there (the board).

Having brought everything I needed with me, I went right to my seat after grabbing a free Curly W drawstring bag being handed out. img_2530It’s cute…basic…and I’m probably right in assuming they were handed out as an attempt to make this new No Backpack Policy easier to swallow. It kinda sucks. I have this really cute Nationals Hershel Supply Co. backpack I spent some decent money on sometime last season (I think) and can’t even carry it into the ballpark.

While at my seat, I spent time talking to a couple (L & K) who I’d never met before but who are also NATS Plus season plan holders. We talked about Spring Training, swapped demonstrations on navigating through the new MLB BallPark App and the Red Carpet Rewards function (we really needed to know how to access our eCash), and of course the game itself. We even briefly talked about this baby blog of mine.

I took in the view, challenging myself to identify what was new about the team and around the ballpark. Things like the Scoreboard getting an updated look and Catcher Kurt Suzuki playing for the Nats for the second time around and sporting #28, Jayson Werth’s old number. There’s even a Curly W topiary-like thing hanging out in the outfield:

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Cool, right?

Oh! The Nats are also stepping their social media game up. Hashtag NatsParkEats is live! A hashtag that speaks to the foodie in me. There’s some new concessions at NatsPark this year. Last night someone posted a pick of an oyster po’boy from Hank’s Oyster Bar (a new addition to the park) using #NatsParkEats and was featured on the scoreboard. I’m sure there’s so much more in store!

All in all, I’m pretty happy with my choice to keep my seats in Right Field for the view, the fellowship, and also…Adam Eaton!

It got colder as the evening went on and an occasional sprinkle would visit but the Nats were keeping the lead. It eventually got so cold that I exhausted all of the extra items I brought to keep me warm, so I jetted. It was the bottom of the 6th inning and the Nats were up 4-2. As I was leaving my seat Matt Adams aka Big City was at bat. I hadn’t even made it to the metro before I heard the ship horn followed by our adopted post-home run cheer: “N-A-T-S! NATS! NATS! NATS! Woo!” He had blasted a homer to center field and the Nats were up 5-2. The Yankees would go on to score one more run in the 8th but the Nats won the game…5-3.

It felt great being back in my home away from home and I’m definitely looking forward to what this season will bring!

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!