April 5, 2010: Washington Nationals vs. Philadelphia Phillies (Opening Day)

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The President and Ryan Zimmerman walk back to the dugout

Game: #001 – Nationals vs. Phillies
Starting Pitchers: John Lannan (#31, 0-1, 12.27) vs. Roy Halladay (#34, 1-0, 1.29)
Final Score: Nationals: 1, Phillies: 11
Nats New Record: 0-1
Plays of the Game: The obvious choice is the Desmond error, throw to Dunn, and Dunn’s throw to home to end the inning, but really – the most exciting moments of the game were Nyjer Morgan getting on base, and stealing second the first opportunity he got, to be sent home with the Zimmerman double.  Those were probably the quietest moments with regards to Phillies fans chanting, as well.
Player of the Game: Let’s go with Pudge – two doubles, three hits total, and participating in the runner up play of the game.  He started the process of proving his worth with solid play on Monday.
Favorite Non-baseball Moment: The pre-game ceremonies were pretty great (if you ignored the booing of Phillies fans).  Ashley loved the flags unfurled in the outfield, and Maggie was enamored of Ryan Zimmerman’s Golden Glove/Silver Slugger presentation.
Who was there: Ashley, Maggie, and Maggie’s Dad
Our Records: Ashley – 0-1; Maggie – 0-1; Dad – 0-1
Where did we sit: Maggie and her dad sat in section 105, Row BB.  This was the last row of the section, which turned out to be a blessing, because the seats behind it are the handicapped seats.  Ashley had tickets in Section 302 Row C, but she didn’t spend a lot of time there. It was in the sun and full of Philly fans, so Ashley spent most of the game walking around the park and taking in the view from different areas of the park.
What did we eat (and how was it): Ashley had a Miller Genuine Draft, which she said felt like she was drinking water (next time she plans to get a $8 draft Blue Moon), a Ben’s Chili Bowl Half Smoke (light on the toppings – usually she doesn’t get any, but was feeling adventurous.  She liked the chili, onions, and mustard, but didn’t think the cheese added anything – but that didn’t stop her from inhaling it!); and a scoop of Gifford’s Raspberry Sorbet (great taste, but had some gummy bits like the ice cream had been sitting around for a while or allowed to defrost and refreeze several times – delightfully refreshing on such a hot day, but not sure it was worth waiting in line 20-30 minutes for).  Maggie started out with the pint of Miller Lite, which was similarly watery to Ashleys (but Maggie’s not much of a beer drinker anyways, so that was ok) but very cold, which turned out to be the most important requirement, a bottle of water, chicken tenders and fries from Boardwalk Fries (the chicken was good, the fries needed salt like Thea said at Saturday’s game).  The lines every where were wretched. It seemed like the whole thing should be able to work much more smoothly. Ashley waited in line 20-30 minutes for ice cream. And by the time she realized that the line wasn’t really moving, she had already been standing there 5 minutes and was too stubborn to leave.
Food Recommendation: Natstown needs Coke Floats.
Promotional Items: Replica batting practice hat.
President’s Race: It looked like Teddy had a chance up until he rounded the corner, and “injured” himself.  George and Tom were very generous, and instead of racing the cross the line, they both went back to help their fallen comrade finish the race.  And while this act of kindness happened, Abe ran by, took one look at what was happening, and finished first.  The jerk.
Other Observations:
– Ashley is retrospectively mad at the Nats for making it so hard for her to get tickets. There should have been a way for actual Nats fans to purchase seats before Phillies fans. College sports have figured out how to do it, why not that Nats?  Additionally – Maggie and her Dad (season ticket holders), were relegated to left field because they share their seats due to a partial plan.  They were a true minority, because 98% of the rest of that section was rooting for Philly.  There has to be a way for actual DC fans to get tickets, and for those that have them – to not isolate them in a way that makes the game unpleasant (see below)
– Ashley got there when the gates opened, and has deemed it ‘fabulous’. There were very few people in the stadium, it was super relaxing to watch batters and pitchers warm up, and the weather couldn’t have been better. If Ashley had just gone home then the day would have been perfect.  One advantage of getting there early is that you don’t feel like it’s a mad dash for your seats.  Maggie, on the other hand had a morning appointment, had to fight traffic through DC, search for parking spot, and stand in line for what seemed like an eternity to have her bag searched.  These two situations put them on two sides of the coin – Ashley seemed more optimistic as the game started, and Maggie was nearly ready to call it a day when she got in line to have her bag searched and heard all the Phillies chants.
– The president’s pitch seemed anti-climatic. There was so much security, and so much hoopla, and then it was all over in a minute. That’s the way it always is, but it just seemed like a lot of build-up with so little to show for it.  Additionally – the president almost seemed ashamed as he pulled out his White Sox hat – like he knew he was doing something naughty.  He really should have worn a Nats cap, or no cap at all.  And if he really is such a die-hard ChiSox fan (enough to pull the hat stunt on another team), shouldn’t he be able to name some of their players?
– Water fountains did not work well (or at all), so you were pretty much forced to stand in a half hour line to purchase a bottle of water.  This seemed a dangerous proposition given the fact that much of the stadium was in direct (HOT) sun for much of the game, increasing chances for dehydration.
– The Phillies fans were obnoxious. Yes, the Nats are bad and yes, you live close enough to come to my stadium to watch your team, but that doesn’t give you the right to make the game horrible for the home team crowd. There are good-natured ways to poke fun at the other team (wearing a McNabb jersey is not one of them FYI…), but the Phillies fans were just rude, cruel, and occasionally racist. Case in point: why (why!?) would a Phillies fan think it was a good idea to pull on Ashley’s pigtails? And yes, the Nats were tied for first this morning – haha. And yes, we know that probably won’t be the case down the stretch, but opening day is supposed to be a day for happiness, optimism, and playing hooky from work. Opposing fans shouldn’t be bullying the home-town fans just because they can. We weren’t the only ones who felt this way.  There were a few decent visiting fans, but for the most part we wonder what kind of example these antics set for the future.
– Likely related to the above points about Phillies fans, but we saw a number of people smoking in Nats Park during the game.  Maybe they allow that in Philadelphia, but I happen to enjoy the fact that Nationals Park is a smoke-free facility.
– To end this glass half-empty opening day post, there was a bright spot.  Ashley followed @NatsTix on Twitter and heard about a Tweetup at the Scoreboard Walk after the 7th inning. She made her way over and found the lovely @NatsTix blogger herself… with a Willie Harris autographed baseball bat! To win the bat she had to find @NatsTix and say the magic word – “Screech”. The bat is pretty awesome, but it begs the question… what does one do with an autographed bat? She doesn’t have a mantle to display it on…yet!

Barbershop Quartet performing outside Nationals Park

Warmup

Cherry blossoms and the stadium

Relaxing before the game

The ceremony of opening day

Maggie and a Super fan

Ashley and her autographed bat

(full album from this game can be seen here)
(more videos from this game and others can be seen here)

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2 Responses to “April 5, 2010: Washington Nationals vs. Philadelphia Phillies (Opening Day)”

  1. July 27, 2010: Washington Nationals vs Atlanta Braves « First Ladies of Baseball Says:

    […] so there wasn’t a lot of elbow room. What did we eat: Chicken fingers – previously reviewed here. Promotional Item: Gray t-shirts with “Washington” emblazoned in curly script.  No […]

  2. Post-season Roundup: Best and Worst Games, plus some Miscellany « First Ladies of Baseball Says:

    […] horrible to say this – but Opening Day.  Being overrun by Philthy fans, and then having to suffer a horrible loss was NOT the way to […]

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