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!

It WAS Lit…And Then We Lost

Hey guys! Sorry for the delay. Full plate but without further ado…here’s my rundown of Opening Day at Nationals Park:


In Rizzo We Trust! The energy for the day started with the early morning announcement hit that our GM Mike Rizzo would be sticking around for another two years.

I arrived at the park around 11:15a, not long after the gates opened and the lines were long as f*ck. The Season Ticket Holder line…you know the line with the red carpet that I should’ve taken…was super long so I opted for a shorter elsewhere. I got in, grabbed my Geico sponsored t-shirt featuring this year’s game schedule, and relished in the fact that baseball is officially back! There were things going on at every corner of the ballpark. DJs Flexx and Chris Styles were indeed spinning on the 1s and 2s which totally added to the hype of the day. The energy was live…red was EVERYWHERE! There were a few Mets fans sprinkled in but it was clearly our ballpark. You know…I love Opening Day for many reasons but the number of adults opting out of work and opting their children out of school for the experience just warmed my heart.

Team Store Finds

The fanatic that I am…I headed right to the Team Store to checkout what was new. That place is always a problem. However, this time I was prepared with budgeted cash (best way to stay on track with your financial goals IMO). But OMG! I was able to pick up what I feel is the perfect abbreviated version of my Nationals Hershel Supply Co backpack…THE HIP PACK!!! That thing had been sold out for most of the MLB teams online for a while now but the team store had it!!! I also picked up an Opening Series lapel pin for my lanyard and a pink toddler-grade bat/ball set for my bestie’s little girl…you have to start them early 🙂

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After the team store, my next stop was food because…although I enjoy and appreciate the socialization around the game…I do go to watch the game. So once I get to my seat…I usually don’t get up again. I’m that person.

Jammin Island BBQ! Man…the jerk chicken and ribs combo was SO good! Warning…it’s a lot of food but this is probably the best value in the park. For $17, you get jerk ribs, jerk chicken, and your choice of two sides. You can choose between plantains, rice and beans, coleslaw, and fried yucca. My recommendation: GET IT! But ask for extra jerk sauce and enjoy! Locations: Section 141 and Red Loft 244


Ceremonial Things

Awards were on deck:

  • Max received the 2017 NL Cy Young Award. Max is now a back-to-back Cy Young winner in the NL. He also earned the Cy Young Award in 2013 while playing with the Detroit Tigers in the American League.
  • Murph received the Silver Slugger Award…again. That would be his 2nd consecutive.
  • Mr. Washington National himself…the Face of the Franchise, Ryan Zimmerman, received the NL Comeback Player of the Year. In 2017, Zim was selected to the All-Star Game for the first time since 2009, hit the longest hit homer in Nationals Park, set a new Nationals/Expos franchise record with his 235th career home run, and set the Nationals’ franchise record for most runs batted in!

Heart-warming special guests were there too:

  • Deputy First Class Blaine Gaskill of the St. Mary’s County Sheriff’s Office and Great Mills High School threw out the ceremonial first pitch to a standing ovation.
  • Serving us Black Girl Magic, Maame Biney (Olympic short track speedskater) and uber cool Noah Groves (sled hockey gold medalist) delivered the lineup card.
  • The U.S. Army Chorus Quartet performed the National Anthem. There was no flyover though. Perhaps something more critical came up and they had to abort? Like impending travel that made the area restricted airspace? I dunno…there was never any mention of it after that terrible awkward silence following the last lined belt of The Star-Spangled Banner. Everyone I saw just looked around (and up in the sky) waiting…some took guesses at other opportunities for the flyover to occur as the game progressed. We’re still waiting.
  • Mayor Bowser and cute little Parker Curry gave us the green light to “Play Ball!”

The Game

Did I mention how dynamic the game of baseball is?

We started off good. Stras did Stras things. We had a 1-run lead…and then entered Jay Bruce. To speed things up a bit…Stras balked, Eaton left early on a minor injury sliding into home, the home base ump was on some bs (that whole crew can kick rocks btw), Trea was ejected (1st career), Cespedes homered on a 95 mph fast ball (gotta give credit), we loaded the bases but came up empty, Stras would end after 6 innings, and the Mets went on to earn a grand slam on Kintzler. That energy I spoke of earlier? Yeah…that faded and the reality of a loss on Opening Day and the fact that I had been outside in 42° weather hit…HARD.

Two hours and 57 minutes with 42,477 in attendance…we lost 8-2 and dropped to 3rd in the NL East behind the Braves and the Mets.


Although the Nats were never able to catch up…

I was able to catch up with Stephen! (See what I did there? lol) Stephen and I met last year at the Nationals Crab Feast and made it a point to stay in touch. We were passing ships during Spring Training but met up on Opening Day for a brief chat and of course…a pic!

Despite the loss(es) it was still a good day for baseball. It’s still early in the season. We have a long way to go but I’m excited to see how the season unfolds.

#onepursuit #ibackthenats

-Nika