Through a series of events I owed my dad a nice dinner out. Not to one of our usual meeting spots: Fireside Grill, Hard Times, or Lucky’s Sports Bar. I owed him something like Morton’s or Ruth Chris, a nice place. So what I decided to do instead was take him to see the Nationals play and buy him a hot dog for dinner. When I told him of my plan I started it off by saying I would buy him a hot dog. I could hear it in his voice he was a little disappointed, he was hoping for something more. Once that settled in I told him the hot dogs would be at Nationals Park for a ball game.
Now, what game to see? I checked the schedule real quick and was not impressed with the home games I saw for June. Unfortunately the Nationals have some crappy teams in their division and I didn’t want to see any of them. However late in the month I saw a ray of hope, the Nats would be playing the Red Sox. Official tickets were sold out so I had to use a ticket broker to find a pair in the outfield. Later while at the game I found out it was an inter-league game and the Nats don’t play the Sox often at all.
We were going to see the last in a three game series. The first two were looses for the Nats, in fact the first game was a complete blow out with the Nats loosing 3 to 11, 6 of those runs coming in the eight inning alone. The Wednesday game was still a lose, but not nearly such a beat down, loosing 4-6. My Dad and I were not holding out much hope for a win, but we had luck on our side. Even with the worse record in baseball the last game my Dad went to, the Nats ended up winning. We where hoping his luck would hold and we could get a little revenge.
We meet early at my Dad’s house and drove up to Pentagon City to catch the Metro to the stadium. If you are going to see the Nats play, Metro is the only way to travel. Yeah you can park on site, but it’s $40 and in my opinion a rip off. The Metro was packed with fans making their way to the stadium. Tuesdays game was record attendance, then Wednesday broke that record. Thursdays was sold out and would be close to a record, if not breaking the record.
We had time to kill before the first pitch so we walked around the stadium and got some food. I was very impressed with the new stadium. If it right on the water and the whole area around the stadium is being revitalized. Currently things have slowed down because of the financial crisis, but all that will turn around soon and the place will be hopping. After I bought my Dad hot dogs, and fulfilling my obligation for dinner, we took our seats in anticipation of the game. I was shorta shocked by the number of Red Sox fans in our section, and in the stadium period. When the Nats were introduced I heard more boos then cheers. When the Sox took the field I could have swarn we were in Boston by how loud things got.
When the game finally started I was excited for the team, I had a feeling. We were surrounded by Red Sox fan, clearly out numbered. Our only compatriots where a group of six right in front of us, a great group of drunks. Not sure why but during the first inning things were looking really good for the Nats. They scored 4 runs immediately, everyone was getting a hit and getting on base. Only downer of the whole inning was I believe they left the bases loaded, but with 4 runs scored it was alright. This certainly had a psychological effect for both teams. The Nats were flying high on cloud nine and the Sox tried for the rest of the game to climb out of the hole they found themselves in.
With the four runs in the first scored the crowd was also knocked out of the game. It was a shame that more Nat fans didn’t show up, the stadium was unusually quite for most of the game. It was not till the sixth inning that the Sox fans had something to cheer with, they scored their first run. But in the botton of the sixth we scored two more, way to steal their thunder guys!
It was at this time that I went for my last beer and meet a lovely lady in line. After we confirmed from others around us, Michal Jackson was in deed dead. With that downer we changed the subject, back to the Sox. I told her I was amazed by the number of Sox fans in the stadium, she was not at all surprised. She was from Boston but had been living here for several years. She said it is so difficult to get tickets to Fenway that fans travel to see them play. It is actually cheaper to travel than get home tickets, shocked the hell out of me.
When I returned to my seat we had put another two runs on the board. Now the score was 9 to 1 and needless to say I was feeling pretty confident about our win. Not so confident as to walk out screaming at the Sox fans saying they suck or anything, but darn close. As the game went on they had a ray of hope in the 9th inning. One guy got on base and another player hit a home run. Just like that life was breathed into this dying team. What fans still remained were getting all excited, they thought maybe, just maybe their beloved Sox could pull a ninth inning come from behind victory. But thanks to some great closing piching, finally, the Nats were able to pull out a win with the final score 9-3.
My Dad and I stuck around for a while, waiting for the other fans to leave before we started to make our way home. It was just after 10pm when the game ended and we were not quite ready to leave yet. We wanted to revel in the victory just a little longer. Eventually security came along and forced us out of our seats. “You don’t have to go home, but you can’t stay here.” So we shuffled along with the rest of the fans, out the stadium and onto Metro. Within minutes we were back at the car in Pentagon City, still not wanting to head home.
To celebrate a little more we headed to Shirlington and the Capitol City Brewery for a victory beer and wings. Since it was after 10pm, it was happy hour all over again. We walked out of there for less then $12 bucks, with tip! What a great way to end the perfect day. Long live my Dad’s streak of Nat victories.
June 25, 2009