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A 30-something living in the foothills of the Virginia mountains; I'm saved by grace, addicted to coffee and my little sister is my best friend! I devote most of my time to exploring, reading, attending as many Nationals games as possible and documenting life here. My Prince Charming got lost somewhere along the way...but I'm trying to remain hopeful that true love exists.

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Thursday, July 23, 2015

Use the Force

Spending Sunday afternoon watching a Nationals game, at Nationals Park? It sounds pretty perfect to me. Spending Sunday afternoon watching a Nationals game at Nationals Park on the first annual Star Wars Day - well that is definitely perfection! Well...it would have been perfection if the Nationals had won, but it was still a pretty wonderful day!

The Center Field Gate
It was 97...& with the heat index it was over 100 degrees. He was obviously using the force...
Storm Troopers - who knew they were so nice?
I think he was a little unsure...even if he does talk big about LOVING the dark side!
Two+ months ago, we went to a Nationals game and throughout the game they advertised Star Wars Day at Nationals Park. I mentioned offhand that I'd love to attend THAT game and then I got distracted by watching the Nationals beat the Braves as Harper hit a walk-off homerun - good times! All the way home, I talked on and on about the baseball game and mentioned probably a million times that "wouldn't it be the best thing ever to go to Star Wars Day? It would guys - it totally would!" I even found a press release about it and read it off, word for word so my parents would know what was up - I (kind of) wanted to go to this game! We mentioned it to my Star Wars loving friend Jennie and she said she and her son, Jimmy would love to join us...and thus, the plans were made and the tickets were purchased!

2014 National Leagues Eastern Division Champs!
Harper & Strasburg - Super Sized!
Who do you cheer for?
Warming up...both literally & figuratively.
I'm sure you're wondering what the deal is with all the pictures - or maybe you aren't. This was my third time at Nationals Park but it was the first time I'd arrived well in advance of the game and taken the time to really explore! I wandered from one side of the park to the other...happily stood in the blazing sun and 97 degree heat (103 heat index y'all...DC isn't playing around w/the heat) to watch as the Nationals and the Dodgers warmed up (literally) on the field. I traversed the Team Store, searching for a Scherzer shirt (sold out - of course, he's amazing) and picked up a treat for my sister and then we made the loop all the way around the park toward our seats. I wanted to see it all!

The line to meet R2-D2 was a mile long...
Just staring out onto the field to see who I could spot...
Nationals Park - one of my favorite places in DC - at least from April to October!
Scherzer! And the line-up!
One of the perks to being one of the first 25,000 people into the stadium - you got an R2-D2 can cooler! The game was a sell-out, so there were over 40,000 people at the game; I feel so sad for the 15,000 who didn't get an R2...I love mine! Once we'd discovered our seats, I immediately set out to explore again - Jennie and Jimmy came with me to search for Darth Vader and I was looking for the Dream Foundation raffle guy so I could put my name in the hat for the split of the $9000 prize (spoiler - I did NOT win). Once we found the line to "meet" R2-D2, I split off and wandered on my own, taking everything in and taking more pictures...including the Racing Presidents, who burst onto the scene dressed as characters from Star Wars!

The view from Section 227 - thankfully located in the shade!
This used to be a clock...but it never really worked, so now it just looks cool!
George Washington = Princess Leia. Yikes!
Princess Leia (Washington)...Luke Skywalker (Coolidge)...Chewbacca (Teddy) & Darth Maul (Jefferson)
Of course, Vader had to join the fray...Vader = Lincoln
I happened upon a gelato stand en route back to section 227 and so I bought myself a small cup of Nattitude gelato (it's red-ish and taste like berries) to enjoy during the pre-game festivities on the field. It was SO hot and I had trouble not getting that stuff all over me...but I managed to prevail and finished it off before things really got going on the field. Screech and Lil' Screech emerged onto the field dressed as a Jedi and Yoda; it's pretty funny to watch baseball players run, stretch and catch balls while a little mascot wanders around all over the place dressed in Star Wars costumes. It's even more interesting to watch Darth Vader and a whole fleet of Storm Troopers take the field for the singing of the National Anthem and the throwing of the first pitch. Interesting, indeed...

The Washington Nationals!
Screech & Lil Screech...or is that Yoda & a Jedi?
Vader approves of the first pitch.

Even the Imperial Forces know to show respect during the National Anthem
The game was filled with Star Wars related nods - there was food at the concession stands; I didn't personally get anything but I read there was Hoth Shave Ice...and that would have been amazing since it was topping out at 97 degrees on Sunday! The grounds crew for the Nationals all had on costumes, appropriately dressed as either Jedi or Imperial soldiers as they made their turns around the field to get it ready for the game. The line-up was one of my favorite parts: every member of the LA Dodgers were represented as a Storm Trooper and their pitcher, Zack Grienke (sp?) was Darth Vader. The Nationals players were all members of the Rebel Alliance - several were Jedi, Espinosa was Han Solo (that mustache he has really stands out!) and Michael A. Taylor was Lando Calressian. And if you aren't a Star Wars fan, then this all sounds like gibberish... Oh well! The best part had to be the message on the Jumbotron prior to the first pitch....

The jumbotron is always hit or miss in photos...Dodgers line-up...the Dark Side

In case you can't read what the screen says....look below!
GAME III

Rebels forces rallied late to secure victory in the first battle.

The Empire struck back in the second conflict behind the Sith Lord, Kershaw.

Today, Jedi Knight Scherzer returns to the fight in the decisive battles of this galactic series in the ongoing quest for league supremacy.

Quite the pitching match-up!


The Nationals up to bat...

Harper hanging out on 1st.

Scherzer working that strike-out!
Jimmy sat to my left for most of the game and had plenty of questions - all of which I happily answered. He's only seven, so he never quite got the point of "balls". I think in his mind, every time the pitcher throws he is technically throwing a ball...so why wouldn't you try to hit the ball every time? He also adapted the same rule for balls as for strikes - 3 balls = 3 strikes. I got pretty tickled trying to keep him straight. The game itself was pretty brutal; Nationals fan though I am, Grienke is a beast on the mound and the Nationals just couldn't do very much against him. Scherzer had a good outing and the game held consistent at 1-0 for the first 8 innings, but when the Nationals put Treinen in at the top of the 9th, everything rapidly went downhill - he let the Dodgers score 4 runs before he could shut them down and while my Nats have made up more than a deficit of five runs before, it just wasn't meant to be on Sunday. They fell to the Dodgers 5-0...not even a run on the board! Even chanting "use the force" didn't seem to help!

Waiting on 2nd...where he'd end up stranded...
The view of the Anacostia from the second floor of the stadium.
R2-D2 getting a helping hand out of the stadium after the game.

I love all the signs!
It was a pretty crushing defeat but baseball; as with so many things in life, is all about picking yourself up and looking to the next challenge. For the Nationals, that was a three game series with the Mets on July 20-22...which they won! Late in the 9th inning, Jimmy realized the team we'd come to cheer on was losing and he immediately declared he would henceforth be cheering for the "blue team", which I kindly explained were the Dodgers. I also tried to explain to him that you don't just choose to cheer for the team that is winning - you have to stick by your team, standing by them through the good and the bad. He's seven. He wasn't buying that logic for a minute and succinctly informed me that he was NOT cheering for losers. I guess without that Curly W, my talk wasn't nearly as persuasive.

A curly W - made from baseballs!
Love my Nationals & I especially love when they get a Curly W.
If he's only as good as his bat...then he's pretty good. Hehehe!
Baseballs adorning the outside of the park.
All in all, I thoroughly enjoyed my day at Nationals Park - I love my team, win or lose. I love Nationals baseball; the crack of the bat, the sound the ball makes when it smacks into a glove, the Presidents Race in the bottom of the fourth, everyone waving their caps for military members as a thank you, singing "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" in the seventh...the walk-up music, the sound effects and generally just the whole atmosphere of the ball park! Oh - and how did I ever forget, the way the announcer calls out the names - names like Denard Span, Jayson Werth, Danny Espinosa and Bryce Harper just roll off his tongue with so much spirit. I love it!

I stuck two pictures from the Nationals Instagram feed below - since their photographer was so much closer to the action than I'll ever hope to get!

Man - to be so close!
Maybe one day I'll get closer to the field! 
So - I suppose this was sort of another Micro-adventure. One things for sure, I love spending my time at Nationals Park and the countdown is on to the next game - only 15 days, 7 hours and 42 minutes! 

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