#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

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

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