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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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Tuesday, July 26, 2016

This Better Be A Walk-Off...And Other Things You Think of In Excessive Heat...


It was 100 degrees in the shade on Saturday...and honestly that might be putting things lightly. It was HOTT. Yes, it was so hot out that it requires more than one T on the end. I bought these tickets weeks ago, before the surface of the sun decided to descend on Northern Virginia and scorch everything...so we braced for the heat...and hoped that Max Scherzer was throwing heat.

Waterfalls...on the Transportation Walk.
All the children in the water feature at Yards Park.

Now - rest assured the first two photos have nothing to do with baseball - but it was hot and they both have water in them. Ha! 

I didn't take them for that sole reason. We went into DC ahead of the game to have an early dinner at Yards Park; to be more specific, we ate at Willie's Brew N Que and it was delicious. I'm never one to turn down good barbecue...although if you'd ask me five years ago...I'd have turned it down, but we'll just agree I was obviously having some mental instability at that time. Because barbecue = all the goodness. Of course, no quick stop in at Yards Park is complete without at least a scoop of ice cream from Ice Cream Jubilee because it is GOOD and it just calls to me when I get anywhere close to Yards Park...

If you are ever in DC - I'd very highly recommend that you check out Yards Park and definitely get yourself a scoop (or two or three...) of ice cream from Ice Cream Jubilee. This should all happen before (or after) attending a Washington Nationals game...of course! DC Tourism Blurb: complete.

The glory of Nationals Park - from the top of the Park.
Clouds looming in the distance...
You've got to love the red cheeks & the way my hair is already frizzing uncontrollably...yay heat.

After making the jaunt from Yards Park to Nationals Park (all the parks y'all...) my Momma immediately went into a Team Store and bought a personal misting fan. I'm not even kidding when I tell you that she didn't even bat an eye at the $20 price tag because - well - all of the heat, you know. Nationals Park also had not one...but two cooling rooms that were available for the extent of the pre-game fun and throughout the game and offered ice water and air conditioning. My Momma made a beeline for that room and stayed there for a considerable amount of time...while my Dad and I decided to go all the way to the top of the Park and then work our way down. Because who doesn't love doing all the walking in 99+ degree heat?

The view of the Anacostia from the top of the Park.
Player Parking Lot - I'd wager there are some expensive cars parked there...

I braved the heat and went to our seats at about 6:30...and can I tell you...because I feel like this is a safe space; I was so sweaty I was literally sliding around in my seat. Want to take a look at the scoreboard? Just slide to the left... Want to take a look up into the stands? Just slide to the right... Well, it was a feeling...that's one way to describe it. Shortly after the start of the game, the two guys in front of us stood up - and well - there is no polite way to describe this: they looked like they'd wet their pants and it was like all my worst fears were confirmed and I thought to myself "well - I am not standing up again until this game is over...no ma'am, I am not." It's one thing to feel sweat rolling down your back and in between your shoulder blades, wiping it away from your forehead and having your legs slip and slide across one another...but standing up and looking like you'd had an accident. Nope.

The view from Section 106
Willing the clouds to keep covering the sun...
Jayson...turn around & wave...

The Nationals were playing the San Diego Padres and this game; for me, was like a reliving of my first Nationals game ever. You see, the first game I ever attended was on a Saturday in July and the Nationals played the Padres...they also won the game, but I'm getting ahead of myself. The game is just starting. Mad Max was on the mound for the Nationals and leads the Major League in strikeouts... The first inning and the second inning included four strike-outs for Max and while the outs were coming pretty easy initially, that other statistic that Max also leads in got us in the second. That other statistic? Max leads the Major League in surrendering home runs - blegh. Ryan Schimpf hit a two run homerun that put the Padres up 0-2 in the second.

The ballgame under way...
A rainbow appeared in the bottom of the second...
I (personally) took it as a sign that the Nationals would win.

In the bottom of the third, the Nationals started to fight back - which is always good. Edwin Jackson (the pitcher for San Diego) walked Ben Revere and since that boy can run...when Jayson Werth singled, Ben went from first to third. The next batter up was Daniel Murphy and I think it's fair to say that Murphy is THE driving force of the Nationals offense this season...and so he got a productive out; lining out to right but allowing Ben to score and make it 2-1.

Not much happened in the fourth...the score stayed steady at 2-1 and Max continued to throw fire...he'd eventually get 10 strikeouts on the night. The bottom of the fifth was when the Nationals tied things up: Danny Espinosa doubled to start things off and then moved on over to third base on Max Scherzer's sacrifice bunt. Ben Revere doubled, bringing Danny home and making the score 2-2.

Daniel Murphy & the Rally Pigeon.
Some gorgeous clouds as the sun started to set...
The Racing Presidents & the sunset.

Max ended the night after the seventh inning and with the game still tied at 2-2, Shawn Kelley came in and pitched a 16 pitch inning to keep the score at 2-2; the Nationals didn't do much in the bottom of the eighth and so with the arrival of the ninth inning we also saw the arrival of Jonathan Papelbon. Now - sometimes Pap does fine and sometimes he doesn't (don't get me started on Sunday's game) but he mostly likes to take things to the brink and make everyone a nervous wreck. Pap let Matt Kemp double and then somehow managed to still get those three outs...while everyone in the stands was watching with baited breath.

As a Nationals commentator I follow on Twitter says: here comes Papelbon, time to clench.

One more cloud photo...because...obviously...
Invoking the power of the Rally Cap in the bottom of the ninth...

Kevin Quackenbush (how about that last name?) came in to pitch for the Padres in the ninth and Anthony Rendon singled to start things off. Stephen Drew - side note, he had been sick for the past few days; sick in the way that he was hooked up to IV's - came up to bat for the Nationals and with everyone in that stadium wishing and hoping and thinking and praying (are you singing it in your head?) that the ballgame wouldn't go to extra innings... Stephen smashed a triple to deep center field, Anthony raced home and the game was over. Nationals win 3-2 on a walk-off triple!

Funnily enough, the day before I'd been thinking about how much fun walk-off games are. Sure, you're on the edge of your seat and hoping with all your heart that this next hit...just this one hit...will be the one that wins the game. And when it does happen - the response is electric! And so, I got my walk-off that I'd been thinking about...and that electric response too.

When you don't know your picture is being taken....
Curly W!
The hero of the night: Stephen Drew!
Heading home happy after a Curly W!

And - just for fun - a little flashback to the first Nationals game I attended three years ago, when the bug first took hold.

First Nationals game ever. 
2013 on left - 2016 on right


2 comments:

  1. LOVE those pictures from the ballpark. It has been crazy hot here in Germany as well :) I am so ready for autumn!

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  2. Thank you! :) The heat here has been pretty unrelenting - I'm hoping it will back off soon.

    ReplyDelete