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.

Yep…Rain Will Do It!

I received the alert from WTOP not long ago that tomorrow’s Opening Day game between the Nationals and Reds in Cincy has been postponed due to inclement weather.

Instead, the game will be played and all of the Opening Day festivities held, on Friday 3/31 at 4:05p.

Scherzer is still expected to take the mound.

I just hope the boys bring back plenty of Curly Ws from this upcoming run on the road.

-Nika

Days until Opening Day: 12

Wheels up! West Palm Beach Here I Come!

Reesie, my good friend and colleague, and I are headed to West Palm Beach, FL for a quick getaway from the erratic DC weather and of course…Nationals Spring Training games!!!

With NATS Plus, 4 tickets to a single Spring Training game are included in the membership. So of course we pooled resources to get the best experience. We’ll have a chance to catch some batting practice (BP) and the games against the Marlins and Astros home at the FITTEAM Ballpark of the Palm Beaches.

Ironically, it’s a pretty mild day here in the District, but winter weather is headed this way, so this trip couldn’t be more timely.

I’m excited to see Adam Eaton and the rest of the guys back in action, as well as the new additions to the team!

See you in WPB!

-Nika

Days until Opening Day: 11

When Did You First Fall In Love With Baseball?

My oldest (and I’m talking at least 30 years old) memory of baseball starts in southern Anne Arundel County, Maryland (“down the country” to anyone who lived North) in a small town called Galesville.

About 14 miles south of my hometown, Annapolis, and located along the short of the West River (an arm of the Chesapeake Bay), Galesville was a historic waterman’s village and believed to be the first Quaker settlement in Maryland. If you’ve never heard of Galesville, it’s okay…had my ancestors life in America not start there…neither would I.

For reference purposes…it’s here-ish:

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Growing up, I spent a lot of time with my family down the country.

Playing outside (the old-school way) with my cousins in Edgewater; going to church with my grandmother in Harwood; cruising on boats with my grandfather off the coast of Shady Side and around the Chesapeake Bay; and in the Summer, on any given Saturday or Sunday afternoon, going to sandlot baseball games at Geno’s and Drury’s ball fields in Lothian or Tracey’s in Deale, with my mom and aunt.

However, the ball field in Galesville felt like home…the place to be. Perhaps that’s because every time we were there, we always ran into a cousin “so-and-so”…which turned into a long-winded conversation about how life was going, the family, the church, etc. I was a kid! All I wanted to do was run around in the dirt, watch some baseball, grab a grape soda and a hot dog or fried fish, look for fly balls, and play in the dirt some more.

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Hot Sox dugout | Photo credit: Galesville Community Center

As a kid, I had very little knowledge of the game itself or that that ball field was set on property owned by Mr. Henry Wilson, a former freed slave and one of the first black men to own land in Galesville. It was the Home of the Galesville Hot Sox, and had even hosted a few Negro League teams back in the 1930’s and 1940’s.

My love of baseball would evolve from those days as I caught games at the Y in Annapolis and Orioles games at Camden Yards; or at the Os’ AA Affiliate the Bowie Baysox; even travelling to Woodbridge, VA for the Nationals’ own Class A Advanced Affiliate, the Potomac Nationals.

But it would be from my time down the country as a kid, that I would start to associate the sport of baseball with family, the summer heat, good cooking/food, and the feeling of…home. It’s no wonder I find the ballpark serene.

So, when did you fall in love with baseball?

-Nika