April 14, 2012: Nationals vs. Reds

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I have a very busy spring ahead of me, and this last Saturday wasn’t much different.  I had three items on my agenda: visiting the zoo in the morning, baseball game in the afternoon (main goal: Strasburg bobblehead), and birthday party in the evening.  Since my afternoon and evening agendas overlapped quite a bit, I had to split my time.  This meant arriving early for the game in order to guarantee getting a bobblehead, and leaving about halfway through to make my next event.  But the time I had at the ballgame allowed me to get in some quality portions of the game, and to appreciate what’s happening with the Nationals this season.

Before the game even started I was hanging out with some Nats fans (including @tracytran, who sold me my ticket), talking about the team, and what we thought of the way things were going so far, and our hopes for the future.  In the middle of that discussion, we were approached by the Nat Pack who asked if we wanted to participate in a trivia game on NatsHD.  Tracy and I agreed, and played “Ross or Ryan” (Detweiler or Mattheus) with Clint.  Apart from the first question (who wears #48?), most of the answers were not things that either of us readily knew because Ryan Mattheus and Ross Detweiler aren’t given the Tiger Beat treatment the way that Zimmerman and Strasburg are.  Through sheer luck (50/50!), I ended up winning the game, and was given a prize pack which included a knit cap, a frosty mug and an Ian Desmond bobblehead.  Since I already had a Desmond bobblehead, I gave mine to Tracy so he could complete his collection.

On to the game – we sat up in section 222, which has a nice view along the first base line, but not so far in the outfield that it’s hard to see.  We were a little worried after the top of the second when the Reds scored their first run, but with some timely walks, a hit by Flores and great base-running by Jayson Werth, things were tied up 1-1 at the end of that inning.  In the third inning, LaRoche smacked a double and batted in two runs that would be enough for the Nats to win.

The third inning is also when I think the crowd started to notice that Jackson was pitching really well.  With the exception of the 8th, he would continue to take down the Reds hitters in order, 1-2-3.  It was really an impressive outing, and I’m sad that I didn’t get to see all of it.  And while I’m praising Jackson’s performance, I think now is the time to mention my ESP.  During the third or fourth inning, I turned to Tracy and said, “Since Gio had his first hit ever at the home opener, I think Edwin should get a hit in this game to balance things out.”  I had promised myself I would stay through the president’s race, and so was actually walking towards the metro when I heard the cheers for Jackson as he made his first hit of the year!

And that’s it.  I watched the end of the game in awe from the bar where the birthday party was being held.  I actually drew the attention of the entire table to what was happening when I noticed that Jackson was still pitching in the 8th.  I’m pleased to report that after his amazing complete game, everyone at the table was talking about the Nats and the fantastic start to the season they were off to.  And because I have no pictures from the bar, here are a few more pics from the game.

Full album can be found here.

N.B. – I held off on writing this post until I had time, which meant I had the opportunity to go to Jackson’s second outing at Nats Park on Thursday which wasn’t quite as good.  I’ll address that game in a post tomorrow.

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