I have always liked baseball. I couldn’t play worth beans, but I liked the game. I have been a Detroit Tigers fan since I was a young kid. I loved it when they won the World Series back in 1968. I have been to a few games over the years. The Washington Senators back in the 60’s. The Baltimore Orioles in the 90s. Now the Washington Nationals.
As for going to a game, it has been inconvenient since I had a day job. It seemed like I would either have to squeeze in an evening game (rush to the game after work, stay out late and be tired the next day) or go to a weekend game when the crowds were there. You just don’t go to an afternoon weekday game. If you did, you would have to take vacation time.
When I retired I looked forward to the freedom of time where I could do those things anytime I wanted. This was one of those things. Not take off work. Go to a game on a weekday while everybody else had to work. Traveling leisurely to the ball park. Enjoying the game. Taking my time going home. Making a day of it.
Well, it finally happened. I had to find a weekday day game (there aren’t many). On August 16, Mary Ann and I took off for Nationals Park to see the Washington Nationals play the Los Angeles Angels, starting at 1:05 p.m. (Hey, why do the games never start on the hour? I guess it is for the National Anthem and allow the TV and radio broadcasters some pregame chatter to set the stage and introduce the players). No matter how early you leave to travel to the game, it seems the Metro subway will make you late. Yep, that was us. We got tickets 10 rows up from third base. Great seats.
Of course, it is not just the game you go to see. You have to take in the atmosphere. So, the first thing we did was get lunch. When in Washington, why not have some iconic food from Ben’s Chili Bowl. We find our seats with a load of food – bowl of chili, chili dog, fries and a coke. We missed much of the 1st half inning. But, no big deal. Who watches the whole game anyway?
Right after we sat down there was a high pop foul that landed 3 seats in front of us. That was close. I wasn’t prepared for it. I am sitting there holding my bowl of chili. I could just see the ball landing right in my Ben’s Chili Bowl. That would make a complete fool of me, but I would have my moment of fame – Sports Center would highlight my ineptitude. I would be a star. Heck, I was probably already on TV as they show all the fouls anyway.
Well, we picked a hot day. It was perhaps 90 outside and at least 100 down by the field. We were cooking. I don’t think the chili could have cooled off. (Great chili, by the way). The beers, water, and soda helped, but only temporarily. No shade until the 8th inning.
We were so close to the field that we had a great view of the pitching and hitting. I was able to take some great photographs. A few are attached. The panned photo was from Mary Ann’s IPhone.
In the end, the Angels beat the Nationals 3-2. The game was decided by home runs. Angels had 2 and the Nationals had one (Ryan Zimmerman).
A great experience that should be repeated (when it is not so darn hot).