In my first trip back to Nationals Park since the heartbreaking playoff collapse against the Cardinals, I enjoyed a perfect spring night for baseball. A middle of the week game, early in the season with terrific weather and modest crowds allowing for great stretching out and enjoying a game won by the home team, the Washington Nationals.
We like to arrive early, settle in, and catch some BP
Ryan Zimmerman driving in what would be the margin of victory
Whereas the Nationals are fortunate to have up and coming superstars Stephen Strasburg and Bryce Harper, to us long suffering Washington baseball fans, Ryan Zimmerman is the franchise backbone. Drafted his junior year out of U Va, Ryan has spent his entire career with the Nats, including the very dismal early years. He's a terrific young man who is very community oriented and a superb role model for younger players. Each year he sponsors an event to help fight MS at the park. Take a look. This year it's May 23rd.
http://anightatthepark2013.eventbrite.com/# It is a lot of fun and goes toward a good cause. If you're in the Nation's Capital, consider checking it out. You'll have a blast.
Note: Marriott, if you're running out of points due to all of the baseball stories, feel free to just send me a Merlot and a slab of brie
I know it's early, but - in the Natitude category - what's your favorite storyline of the year (so far)?
Whew! I had to wait for Span to catch Fielder's fly in the deepest part of the field before answering. Jordan is the man, his superb pitching (and Harper's clutch hitting) kept the Nats hanging around while they got their Sports Illustrated nerves all straightened out. Whereas I never was a World Series or bust kind of fan, I'm certainly optimistic about another exciting, enjoyable season (now those gut wrenching Caps - whoa).
And as you saw, Marriott could take a page out of the Lerner book as the Nationals rapidly responded to fan disappointment regarding the rain date ticket policy, a 24 hours reversal and even a apology (and these boys aren't altruistic saints, as witnessed by their increase in the Red Carpet Rewards program). Hats off for sincere regard for customer service.
Agreed that the Lerners has done a wonderful job building a quality team with a solid foundation for the long term with an eye towards winning over (and maintaining) a complex, fickle regional fan base. Folks forget how (relatively) small DC is, and melting pot roots (or a transient population) creates a very different dynamic than more stable fan bases in New York, Boston, Chicago, LA, etc. (Back in the Senators era, fans of the visiting teams typically outnumbered home-team fans....) What the Caps (and Redskins - ugh, that name - argh) have proven, however, is that DC loves a winner....
OK, my favorite story along these lines. A few years back, I was advocating that my son (a baseball fanatic) let go of the Red Sox as his "favorite team" and buy in to the then-nascent Nationals. My argument was that, once the Nats got good - and it was only a matter of time - he'd be able to say that he wasn't just another fair-weather fan, and he'd been a Nats fan back when they were cellar-dwellers. I tried to analogize to the Capitals, at which he interrupted me and exclaimed: "But Dad, the Caps have always been good!" Ah, to be so young.... Anyway, I reminded him of this on the drive home from the euphoria-to-despair oh-so-disastrous Game 5 playoff game last season. Fortunately, hope springs eternal.
So, yes, we'll be Rockin' the Red and hollerin' for the Caps tonight....
I used to try and convert all of my daughters' contemporaries to switch over from Angelos' Orioles, telling them to root for their home team. They finally got across to me, due to them never in their life having a team other than the O's (and certainly with Cal, even I pulled for them, in spite of ownership's attitude toward the DC market) that the Orioles sadly, were their home team. We lost an entire generation of fans, a lot who were baseball kids I had coached, so hopefully, everyone's here to stay (No thanks to Calvin Griffith and Bob Short).