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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 12, 2016

Update: 15 Things Nationals Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die


I felt like this post was due for an update - we've reached the middle of the 2016 baseball season (try not to cry...I know I'm struggling not to...) and I've crossed some things off my list. I'll come back and update this one more time at the end of the season (sniffle...sob...) but until then...

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Are you a sports person? I'm sure if you've followed this blog for even a short amount of time, you've realized I'm just a little bit obsessed with my Washington Nationals. I attended my first game way back in July of 2013, fell in love (it also didn't hurt that the team is nicknamed the "Nats") and haven't looked back since. 

I recently discovered; courtesy of the podcast Nat Talk on the Go, that a book was coming out titled 100 Things Nationals Fans Should Know and Do Before They Die and I immediately hopped onto Amazon and got myself a copy! I've been poring over it for a few weeks now and I decided to make myself a Nationals "bucket list" so to speak. 

There are only 15 things on this list - so it would seem like I don't have too much to accomplish. However, some of them will require time...money...luck...or a healthy mix of all three. So, we'll see how long it might take for me to complete the 15 things on this bucket list! I think I'm off to a pretty good start! 


     


The List

One. Cheer on the Racing Presidents - The President's Race takes place in the fourth inning of every home game, so going to even just one game will easily accomplish this. Teddy Roosevelt is a big fan favorite...mostly because he tends to lose...a LOT. My personal favorite? Abe! I've completed the first thing on the list multiple times...and will complete it over and over again this season! Go Abe!


  


Two. Experience the Battle of the Beltway - The Orioles are the Nationals biggest non-division rival; you see, when the decision was made to bring baseball back to DC, the MLB voted 29-1 to bring the national pastime back to the Nation's capital. That one vote against? The owner of the Baltimore Orioles.

Nationals Park and Camden Yards are less than 40 miles apart and it's safe to say the Nationals have "stolen" some Orioles fans away over the past eleven years. The two teams only play 4-6 times a year and the match-up has been dubbed the Battle of the Beltway; the beltway being the name for the stretch on interstate between DC and Baltimore. I watched a game in 2015's Battle of the Beltway series on July 11 at Camden Yards - and cheered my Nationals to a victory!


 

Three. Take a Nationals Road Trip - This is just what it sounds like; you make your vacation plans around the Nationals. You can do this in one of two ways. The first is to go through the Washington Nationals website; by doing this you not only get tickets to two of the three games but you also get: hotel accommodations, a VIP tour of the ballpark, a pre-game reception with unlimited food or drink and a Nationals player, a gift bag with a t-shirt, hat, MLB game ball and ball holder and access to all the pictures taken by Nationals staff. Nice - huh?

The second way to take a Nationals Road Trip is to pick a baseball city in close proximity, buy your tickets and go! Some cities in close proximity to DC? Baltimore - less than 40 miles, Philadelphia - just 134 miles, Pittsburgh - 228 miles and New York City...which offers two options: the Mets (gross) - 245 miles, or the Yankees - 236 miles. So...there you have it. 

Where shall I go?

FourGet Ready for the 2018 All Star Game - Which will be hosted at Nationals Park; the first time the Summer Classic has been hosted by DC since 1969! The week's festivities will include the All Star Futures Game, the Home Run Derby (seats in the outfield would be prime for this showdown...) FanFest, the All Star Legends and Celebrities Game and of course - the main event - the All Star Game. 

This is one of those things that will require money...and of course, luck...since there are only so many tickets to go around. Should I start stock-piling the cash now? Probably.

FiveVisit Cooperstown - The Baseball Hall of Fame is a must on any fan's list and for Nationals fans, Cooperstown is only 380 miles away from the home field. Cooperstown holds baseball mementos and memorabilia from the games inception all the way back in the mid-19th century to present day. Definitely on my list...and I'm thinking...long weekend trip to New York that's all about baseball? No problems from this lady!

Six. Visit RFK Stadium - The stadium that hosted baseball's return to DC has hosted numerous games throughout it's tenure - including 1,000 combined games between the MLB's Senators (the precursors to the Nationals) and the Nationals, as well as the NFL's Redskins and the MLS's DC United.

The stadium has also played host to a multitude of concerts but has spent the last twenty years serving as the home base for DC United. The timeline on seeing RFK Stadium is rather short; the stadium has been in something of a decline for years now and with the ground having already been broken on DC United's new stadium, it's only a matter of time before RFK is a thing of the past. I've got until 2018 to check this out! 

SevenWatch the Nat's Minor League Team(s) - There are five teams in the National's Minor League System; listed below.... catching a Potomac Nationals or Hagerstown Suns game seems the most likely...

AAA - Syracuse Chiefs; located in Syracuse, New York (AAA offers a look at the players that are literally one step away from the major leagues...)

AA - Harrisburg Senators; located in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania (The AA Senators are where the Nats send players for rehab starts; Stephen Strasburg, Denard Span and Anthony Rendon all spent part of 2015 here...) 

A - Potomac Nationals; located in Woodbridge, Virginia (Fun fact: Bryce Harper's older brother Bryan is a pitcher for the P-Nats)

A - Hagerstown Suns; located in Hagerstown, Maryland

A- Auburn Doubledays; located in Auburn, New York

Eight. Meet the Lerners - The wealthy owners of the Washington Nationals; Ted Lerner and his son Mark purchased the Washington Nationals franchise for a cool $450 million in July of 2006 and have since gone on to build the club so that it now stands at a value of $1.2 billion! Not bad for ten years. 

I'm not sure how you'd go about meeting the Lerners...although since they always sit in the Lexus Presidents Club Seats, perhaps it ties into number nine?

Nine. Sit in the Lexus Presidents Club Seats - What could only be described as the ultimate in Nationals fan experiences; the seats in the Lexus Presidents Club (which is now the Delta Sky Club) range in price from $200-$400. So, you'll see what I mean when I say that some money might be involved in accomplishing some of these...ha-ha! 

Sitting in seats at the Lexus Presidents Club also allow you access to a gourmet buffet, the Oval Office Bar, the ability to watch from above as the Nationals taking batting practice before games and even catch press conferences after games...mere feet away from the media, players and coaches. 

Does it count that I sat in the Lexus Presidents Club seats on my tour of Nationals Park?? I didn't think so... Maybe one year for a "big" birthday...35 perhaps??


   

Ten. Learn the Names on the Ring of Honor - There are 19 names (at present) on the Ring of Honor at Nationals Park. To be named to the Ring of Honor, you must: be in the Baseball Hall of Fame, must have played with the Washington Nationals, Washington Senators, Homestead Grays or the Montreal Expos and must have played significant years with the above mentioned franchises. 

This one is just a matter of reading my book and learning the names...I do know Frank Robinson is the most recent addition; he was the first manager of the newly created Washington Nationals from 2005 - 2006 and his name was added to the Ring of Honor on May 9, 2015. I know...because I was there!


It's a terrible picture...but that sign says "Frank Robinson"...

Eleven. Hang out with Screech - On a warm Spring day; April 17th, 2005 if we're getting specific, a rather large egg wandered onto the field at Nationals Park and the (large) baby bald eagle that hatched from the egg was christened "Screech" because he wouldn't stop screeching about his favorite team - the Nationals! This one will be accomplished through sheer luck - one day when Screech wanders into my section, I'll grab a picture, ha-ha!


Mission Accomplished - June 30, 2016

Twelve. Go to Nationals Park on Opening Day - This one is obvious; who wouldn't want to attend Opening Day? The 2016 season for the Nationals started on the road but I definitely contemplated tickets...but just couldn't justify taking the day off. I won't be worried about that in 2017; I've already mentioned about ten times that I'll be at Nationals Park on Opening Day of 2017...so check back next year for a recap of the pageantry and glory of Opening Day!

Thirteen. Go to Nationals Park on July Fourth - Nothing screams patriotic like wearing your red, white and blue while watching America's Pastime, right? I'm pushing this agenda for 2016...if you're reading this family...let's do this, okay? You give me the go-ahead and tickets will be on me! 

*I think I'd like to do this one again - perhaps when it wasn't raining? Maybe it can become a tradition....*


So..we didn't get the Curly W & the weather was crummy...but done - July 4, 2016


Fourteen. Watch a concert at Nationals Park - Baseball games happen at Nationals Park 81 days of the year, but attending a concert at Nationals Park is just one way to change up the Nationals Park experience! The Park has been host to over 20 concerts over the last few years and they certainly don't seem to be planning on changing that anytime soon - coming to Nationals Park in 2016? Billy Joel! And I'll be right in the middle of it...

So - it's only a matter of time before this one is checked off the list!

FifteenGet Autograph(s) - I'll go ahead and say that number fifteen on this list will also be the one that requires the most "luck"...but hey; I plan to be a lifelong Nationals fan, so I have plenty of seasons to try my luck! 


Completed
Not Yet Completed


*My ideas were cultivated from the book 100 Things Nationals Fan Should Know & Do Before They Die by Jake Russell. If you are interested in a copy, you can grab your own here.  And if for some crazy reason you cheer for some other MLB team (why...why would you ever do that??) then I've noticed they also seem to have books just like this one - so that's cool. I guess.*

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