Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Opening Weekend Game 2018 at Washington Nationals Park

Since Grandpa was in town for his birthday, we took him to a baseball game. The major league season just started. Since the Baltimore Orioles were playing away games, we bought tickets to see the Washington Nationals play the New York Mets in D.C. We live in the suburbs (it's debatable whether we live in a Baltimore suburb or a D.C. suburb) and took the Metro in. Even with five of us going, it was cheaper than paying for parking near the stadium.

Granddaughter and grandpa on the Metro

The Green Line of the Metro stops just a few blocks from the stadium's entrance. The road was even closed for the game, allowing fans to walk in the middle and entrepreneurs to sell Nats hats and shirts "at half price" before we got to the stadium.

Walking to the stadium

We had to go through the usual metal detectors and ticket scanners on the way in. While we waited our turn, we saw why the downtown parking is so expensive...gigantic silver baseballs decorate the parking decks!

Maybe they're leftover Christmas decorations?

The park has a lot of amenities that weren't around when I was a kid. It used to be you could only buy hotdogs and beer and such from stalls or guys walking the stands. Now there are multiple restaurants (I even saw a gluten free stand with a substantial menu) and even a playground. Luckily, our prescholar was home for nap time or we'd have had to spend a good bit of time in the climbing castle.

Appealing to the littlest fans

Since we were five patrons, we opted for the cheap seats. The stadium is small enough that we still had a good view.

View from section 230

We were as high as the scoreboard!

Guys were walking the stands selling popcorn, peanuts, cracker jacks, beer, etc. The most popular guy was the one selling hot chocolate. Since the game was in early April, the temperature for the afternoon game was around 42 degrees Fahrenheit. The guy went up our section with a full rack of hot chocolates and came back down with only one left.

Hot chocolate guy

The game was fun if a bit slow in the beginning. We had fun cheering for the team and saw some good defensive plays by both sides. The best was when the Nats pitcher caught a ball hit right back to him. The worst was when Nats manager Dave Martinez came out to argue with the umpire over his calls and his ejection of Anthony Rendon. That resulted in Martinez getting ejected. The Mets eventually won the game 3-2.

Zoomed in view from the first inning

The park had some interesting shenanigans during the TV broadcast commercial breaks. At one point, they had a music mash-up quiz where someone had to identify four singers from four song snippets. The prize was two cans of Budweiser, so not really high stakes if you ask me. Actually, the beer does cost twelve dollars per can, so maybe it's higher stakes than I am willing to admit.

Music mash-up on the scoreboard

Later on, they had a presidential race. Four people with gigantic foam heads raced from centerfield around the side to the Nats' dugout. They were the presidents from Mount Rushmore, so Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln, and Teddy Roosevelt. Roosevelt won.

Presidential race in the country's capital

Geico Gecko congratulates Pres. Roosevelt

Grandpa took the kids to get snacks early on. Later, my wife and I went in search of hot beverages (we should have bought from that hot chocolate guy) and discovered the Budweiser Brew House, a sit-down restaurant in center field. I guess normally tables wouldn't be available but at this game plenty of chilly outside seats were open for customers. I will let readers judge whether these seats had a better view or not.

From out table looking up at our other seats

Looking into the field

We felt guilty about leaving the kids and Grandpa behind, so we invited them down after we ordered hot tea and the Ginormous Pretzel.


We hung out through the eighth inning when the score hit 3-2. We thought things looked bad and we were very cold by this point (still in the low forties), so we went home. The game was a lot of fun. Hopefully we'll go back in warmer weather!

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