My old company Van Metre sponsored a day at Nationals Park for anyone in the company. I got two tickets and invited my brother out for a fun afternoon. While I am no longer technically an employee of ICM, I was able to still go. I still get invited to all the company events which is nice. I already miss working for ICM and it has only been a couple of weeks.
Game day my brother meet me at my old office and we headed up to the city early for lunch and drinks. I went to Bluejacket the last time I saw a Nats game so we headed there again. Last time I didn’t get any of the food so we ate lunch and I had several beers, all of which were good.
We eventually made our way to the stadium, honestly I was no in any hurry to get to the game. Our tickets were in nose bleed so we headed up and found a couple of seats near our ticketed seats. It was a mid-week game in the afternoon so it was not even close to selling out. Thankfully as high up as we were we had covered seats when the rain game. It rained for at least an hour and it was funny to see people start to filter up to our level seeking cover.
The game itself was kinda boring to be honest. Twice the Nats left the bases loaded without scoring. It went all the way to the 9th inning before anyone scored. Thankfully it was the Nats who scored, winning the game and increasing the win streak to 10 games. The game ended on an error with the ball rolling into the Nats dugout, causing an automatic base to be given, winning the game for us. The batter who “hit” the ball was credited with winning the game even though it didn’t get the hit and it was the error that caused the run to be score. A really weird way to score a run and win the game.
The best part of the entire day was hanging out with my brother. It has been far to long since just the two of us have gone out together. We caught up on our lives and just chatted which was so cool. I would have been very content to just sit at Bluejacket, drink beer and talk with him all afternoon.
My parent company, Van Metre, got all the department heads together yesterday for a company event. They rented a suite at Nationals Park for a game against the Reds. I have been to a few games before but never have I been to a suite at the Nats, or any professional game for that matter. It was a great opportunity to meet and greet the other department heads while enjoying a relaxed environment and a few beers.
A few of us ICM employees meet at Bluejacket’s for a pre-game happy hour. I remember reading about this brewpub in DC almost two years ago. It took them a while to open and longer for me to visit but the wait was worth it. My dad and I always wanted to see a Nats game and stop here for a drink or three. I sampled three of their beers and I must say I was most impressed with Twit. This sour wheat sure hit the spot for me. Clean, crisps, with a great tart taste that didn’t make me pucker. I unfortunately didn’t make it inside the restaurant, Derek said it is a sight to behold so I certainly look forward to coming back and sampling some more beers inside the restaurant this time.
It took no time at all to walk to the stadium and then I had to find the suite. I actually stopped and asked around because the signs did little to direct me where I needed to go. Eventually I found the suite and I must saw I was impressed. You could certainly get a better view with a closer seat but the amenities are what counted here. From the suite you could see the entire field without straining your neck. Free food, cold beer (poor selection but it’s hard to pass up free) and even a pool table. It was funny, first time in a suite and I needed to pee. I step outside and find a guy who informed me the suite had facilities, two in fact. Not sure if I will get another chance like this but it certainly was fun.
As for the game it was pretty good. First few inning it was a goose egg all around. In the fourth inning Cincinnati went up and proceeded to score again in the fifth. We eventually got a run and not until the ninth did we tie it up, we went to extra innings. By this point everyone had left except Tim, Cathy and I. They bailed during the tenth and I stayed till the 11th. Unfortunately I had to catch the train home so I couldn’t stay till the final pitch. I kept up with the score from my phone and we eventually lost 4-3 in the 15th inning. I almost made it home before the game ended it was so long.
It was a fantastic evening. Bluejacket kicked ass and it was great to hang out with some of my co-workers. The suite was awesome and it was a great opportunity to network with other department heads from Van Metre. I know they are planning another outing to Nationals Park in August, this time opened to everyone in the company and our spouses which will be fun. I love what I do and love my company.
For Father’s Day Pat decided to take my dad and the family out to a Nats game. This was funny because my dad and I just talked about this while at the bar after fishing, how we haven’t seen a game this year and need to. We even started working out dates and quickly found out that with both our schedules, a weekend game would be rather tough, but a Friday game was possible.
With short notice Pat informed us that Friday was the day to see a game if we could make it. It would be the Nats verse the Rockies, game time 7pm. I was busy getting ready for my trip to Saratoga Springs but I was in. I was planning on leaving around 7am on Saturday and I knew it would be a long night. We meet at my dad’s house and drove to the stadium. We had five people going Metro is not the cheaper option.
Tonight’s game happened to be on one of those 100 degree days in the city. For weeks the weather has been brutal with above average heat and high humidity. It started with the first day of summer while I was at the Phish show in Portsmouth and never slowed down. When we had the severe thunderstorm roll through knocking out power, it couldn’t have happened at a worse time because the temperature was going on 9 straight days above 95 degrees.
Even though it was almost 7pm by the time we got to the stadium, it was still oppressively hot. We got a quick bit to eat and took our seats on the lower level on the Nats side of the stadium. The seats where down close to the field providing a great view of the game. I was hoping it would be out of the sun but no dice, we were in the direct sun for about 45 minutes as the sun set behind the stadium. Everyone was having beer at the game but all I wanted was water. I know beer can be refreshing, but no in heat like this.
The Nats where on a run for the last few games and were four or four and a half games ahead in the National League East. We had high hopes for a good game and another win. The Rockies were at the bottom of the National League West so it should have been an easy win and a great start to the three game series. To top it off one of our ace pitchers was starting that night, Strasburg. Early on when the Rockies got a solo home run in the second inning, my hopes were not dashed. It was only one run and it was still early in the game.
Unfortunately for us, the entire game was dominated by the Rockies. As the inning ticked by the Rockies score two more runs in the 4th and more in the later inning, including another home run. You could tell the Nats were off in their game play. They never seemed to hustle to catch balls and the outfielders constantly miss judge where the hitter would hit the ball. Often times the ball would fall short or just sail over their heads. As for batting the situation was even worse. The Nats couldn’t swing to save their life. A ton of strike outs all night, they kept swinging at crap pitches and they paid the price for their negligence.
When the ninth inning came around the score was already 5 to zero with little hope of us coming back to win so the stadium started to empty rather early. There was some hope early in the inning as Zimmerman hit a solo home run with no outs, at least we got on the board. We even got a few people on base but the poor batting came back to haunt the team with three quick outs and with that the game was over. It was a disappointing lose to a team we should have beaten.
To drawn our sorrows we stopped at the Capitol City Brewery in Shirlington for some beer. If they won, we would have stopped to celebrate the win. Now that things finally cooled off a little I had my first beer of the day, the seasonal Oak Aged Fuel. It was a cask poured dark porter that was pretty good. Certainly a heavy beer but at the end of the day, I wanted something heavy. Lots of coffee and some hints of vanilla in this porter.
It was well after midnight when we left the bar and started heading home. I still had some packing to do and it was close to 2 or 3am before I got to sleep. This caused a delay in leaving the following morning, but it worked out in the end. I made it to the show in time to get my seat and catch Phish walk out onto the stage.
When I went to the Nats vs. Red Sox a week ago a good friend of mine, Rob, wanted to come along. But with the game sold out it was impossible to get three tickets next to each other. Instead we decided to catch another game. He had never been to the stadium and wanted to see a game, just like me he is not a big baseball fan, but it’s good to say you did it at least once.
The best day for everyone was a Sunday afternoon game on the 5th of July against the Braves. If Will and Saundra were able to make it for the fourth, I thought this would have been a great way to end their trip to DC. But after getting all interested parties together, it would be my Dad, Nancy, Rob and myself going to the game. We of course followed the same plan as with the Sox game: meet at my Dad’s house, drive to Pentagon City Mall, and Metro to the stadium.
When we arrived because Rob had never been to the stadium we walked around some so he could get a good look at the stadium. We also got food and beer, what would a ball game be without beer? Our seats for this game were right behind the visitor dugout. These seats were covered so when I checked the weather early in the week there was a possibility of rain, but we would have been protected. The weather could not have been more perfect game day. It was in the mid-70’s I believe with near zero humidity. Clouds hung in the sky most of the day, but rain was never a threat. For being the dog days of summer the weather sure was not playing along.
The crowd for the game was much thinner. I should not have seen a sold out game vs. the Red Sox first. There might have been 15,000 people that day and that is probably just because it was a Sunday game after the 4th of July. Everyone is already in the city for the fireworks so why not catch a game. Even with the low turn out the crowds was pretty good. Again there were a lot of Braves fans in the stadium, this time we Nat fans were not outnumbered 4 or 5 to one.
This was the third in a series with Atlanta, tied at 1-1 with the Nats winning the game on Saturday they were heading into game three with the pendulum swinging toward their side. Right from the start the Nats quickly took the lead and by the third inning were up 3-0. The Braves struck back and took a nibble out of that lead in the third with one run scored. By the ninth inning, with the game all but won, the score was 5-1. We were still staying till the final pitch was thrown and the game was officially over. But the Braves had a little life left in them and scored two in the finally inning. It looked like we had a game on our hand and extra inning was a possibility. But with some great pitching the Nats won the game 5-3. My Dad’s win streak was still holding with a win every time he sees a game.
Once the game was over we decided to hang out and let the crowds die down before fighting the crowds on Metro. This time the staff was more vigorous in getting the people out of the seats. With fewer fans in the stadium it was much easier to clear out. Getting kicked out was not a problem, we decided to take the hint and hit the Capitol City Brewery in Shirlington again for some victory drinks. We ponied up to the bar and ordered a round while we savored our teams victory. I couldn’t wait to get to work on Monday and nag John about the Nats victory. He is a huge Braves fan and the lowly Nats won two in the series.
After the first round of drinks it was getting pretty late and we needed to head back to my Dad’s house. My Dad was grilling flank steak and Rob was staying for dinner. With such nice weather we decided to eat out on the deck. But before we left Shirlington we stopped by the Best Buns Bread Co. to get some bread for dinner. While there I also picked up some lemon squares for desert, everything looked so good. When we did get back to his house we started cooking and had some great wine to go with dinner. We sat outside for several hours enjoying dinner and just talking.
It was a great idea Rob had to see a game at the ball park and Sunday was the perfect day to do it. A lazy Sunday afternoon at the ball park, drinks after, and a good home cooked meal on the deck, life is perfect. I can’t wait to do it again.
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.