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Stadium 13: Our visit to Nationals Park

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After a low-key start to our day, we drove the F250 into Washington DC for a little sight-seeing before the game at Nationals Park. Ryan and I visited the Smithsonian Natural History Museum. After three weeks hanging out with Mom and Dad, Ryan was ready for some solo time! We split up to explore on our own.

At 4:00, we met Brad back at the parking lot and headed for the game.

How We Tour a Ballpark

We start our tour of each park in the same way. We go directly to the field to get our orientation, then head to main team store. Ryan is collecting a hat at each stadium. Brad and Ryan also have The Major League Baseball BallPark Pass-Port, which allows fans to collect a validation at every park (usually in the store). I look for Christmas ornaments.

Next, we head to the seats for batting practice or a discussion of the layout of the stadium. Next, we check out the food selection and bring food back to our seats before the first pitch. Sometimes I’ll take some time before the game to climb up to the top of the stadium and take pictures. Other times, I’ll do that after the game begins.

We’ll often visit the Hall of Fame or Wall of Fame unless there is a separate charge. We’ll also wander around looking at statues and other points of interest.

Our Impressions of Nationals Park

At the Nationals Park, I went up to the level 400 concourse before the game to take some pictures. There were very few fans at that level, so I had a few chats with ushers and staff about the highlights of the stadium. I also stopped for some lemonade. When asked whether I wanted my lemonade spiked, I chuckled and said I didn’t think that was a good idea, since we planned to leave early for Florida in the morning. That sparked a great conversation about road trips in general, our trip, and Nationals Park. They vowed to make my visit the best park visit yet, and invited me back for all of my refreshment needs! Their hospitality certainly was a great introduction to the park.

Our Seats: Our seats were in the first row above the Nats’ bullpen, in Section 138, Row S, Seats 16 – 18. Unfortunately, we couldn’t see the big screen or the score board from these seats. Also, two of them were covered with bird poop from a perching spot directly overhead. Fortunately, there weren’t any birds in residence while we were at the game!

On the bright side, they were right by the bullpen. Toward the end of the game, one of the pitchers tossed a ball to Ryan!

The Food: I was hungry before the guys, so I headed out to the Chesapeake Bay Crab Company for one of their signature crab cake sandwiches. As I was standing in line taking a picture of the chef, the fellow in front of my chided me.

“It’s not fair to take pictures of crab cakes and send them to your friends just to make them jealous,” he said. “How did you know?” I asked. “You just have that look,” he told me.

He went on to tell me that he was a connoisseur of crab cakes. When I asked what made him such an expert, he said that he is a Washington DC native who has had crab cakes all over the area – and, in fact, all over the States. So, when it came time to order, I told the rather gruff woman taking the order that I’d have the same thing he was having.

Well, he must have been some sort of VIP. He dropped the name of some person in the suites level, and she commented that this probably meant he wanted free food. For a modest tip, she’d be happy to oblige. “I don’t have any cash on me,” the connoisseur quipped.

“Sure,” she said. “And you want the same deal for your girlfriend?”

“She’s not my girlfriend. She’s my attorney,” he retorted. She put two orders of crab sandwiches on the counter and said they were on the house.

I pulled out a $20 as a tip, and my “client” told me I didn’t need to do that. He would take care of it later. I insisted, and the server’s eyes grew wide. “Are you serious?” she asked, and insisted that I take whatever I’d like to drink.

As we walked away, my new friend, Damon, asked if I was an attorney. I told him that I work for a nonprofit that addresses homelessness. We chatted on the way back to our seats … his in the suites and mine at the other end of the stadium.

It was certainly a memorable meal!

Non-Alcoholic Beer Review: Nationals Park is also a Bud Zero stadium.

The Game Recap: 3 Home Runs for Housing!

The Washington Nationals played the Oakland Athletics in a close game on August 13th. We got our first home run in the top of the third by Athletics outfielder JJ Bleday hit a home run to tie up the game 1 to 1. In the bottom of that same inning, he made a fabulous diving catch to end the inning.

In the top of the sixth, we got another home run from Athletics outfielder Brent Rooker to give the Athletics a 2 – 1 lead. By the bottom of the 9th, the Athletics and Nationals were tied 2 – 2. The first batter up, catcher Keibert Ruiz, hit our final home run to right field to win the game.

The Washington Nationals beat the Oakland Athletics 3 to 2.

Up Next:

Tomorrow is a big travel day. We will be driving from Maryland through Washington DC, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia to get to Ocala, Florida. We estimate that our drive will take us about 16 hours. The next morning, we’ll drive from Ocala to St. Petersburg, Florida, to watch the Tampa Bay Rays.