Thursday, August 23, 2018

Professional Ball Games August 2018

August has been a busy time for us--we've gone to see a lot of professional sports.

The Washington Post offered ten dollar tickets to a Nationals game. The seats were in the outfield but close to the field, near the visitor's bullpen (they were playing the Cincinnati Reds that day).

View from the discounted seats

We arrived early and saw the field crew watering down the diamond. It was a hot day (mid-90s Fahrenheit) so we went for some snacks in the shade. After wandering around among various concession options, we discovered a popcorn stand selling seven dollar bags of popcorn and ten dollar "bottomless" buckets of popcorn. That's right--free refills! The popcorn was dry and salty, probably a tactic to produce more drink sales. We packed bottles of water for each of us, so we wound up refilling them several times, thanks to the dry (but tasty) popcorn and the previously mentioned 90 degree heat.

Bottomless popcorn and my other drink

I did get a beer, but only one because of the extra-exorbitant DC stadium pricing (sixteen dollars for a draft import!!). We refilled the bucket three times, which meant we ate the equivalent of one bucket each.

The game was enjoyable. The Nationals got an early lead and held on to it. Inbetween one set of innings, the presidential mascots (Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln, and Teddy Roosevelt) raced inside the park. The finish line was far from us, so we had to zoom the camera lens to see the final result.

A close presidential race

The Nats won the game which made us happy.

The final inning

Our church's youth group started up their annual fundraising activity--volunteering to hand out programs at Baltimore Ravens' games. We were assigned the first pre-season game, a Thursday night confrontation with the Los Angeles Rams. As usual, I came early because out group checks in two and a half hours before the game starts. The gates open two hours before the game, giving us a half hour for the orientation and getting to our gates. Since I was ten minutes early for the two-and-a-half-hours-early reporting time, I checked out Ravens Walk, a wide sidewalk that runs between The Ravens' stadium and Camden Yards (where the Orioles play). Vendors line the sidewalk giving away freebies and/or selling stuff. Since it was so early, hardly anyone was there and some vendors were still setting up.

Ravens Walk

The Smoking Swine!

Spooky photo op?

I was assigned tp the group at Gate D, right near one of the beer gardens outside the stadium. Happily, none of the customers were trouble when the came in.

Gate D getting ready

After the shift was done (they close the entrance gates at the end of the first quarter), we returned our IDs and got free tickets for the rest of the game. I thought I'd watch to half time. Walking to my seat, I looked for a snack along the way. Plenty of vendors have stations inside the stadium. I have been curious to try Shake Shack ever since I found out Jim Gaffigan didn't make it up on his TV show. The line was way too long, especially after I had been standing to give out programs for the past couple of hours.

Too long a line

I wound up getting a Guinness from a bar that claimed to have Bavarian pretzels. Sadly, the pretzels were sold out. They pointed across the way to a generic snack bar that still had pretzels in stock, along with hot dogs, pop corn, burgers, chicken nuggets, onion rings, etc. The pretzel was more beautiful than tasty.

Beer, program, and free (sort of) ticket


When I got to my seat, I was surprised to see that Row 4 actually meant four rows from the end zone! The view was amazing.

Unzoomed picture from my seat

At half time, a bunch of youth football teams took to the field and had some scrimmages. They were more entertaining than I thought they would be.

Local teams at half time

The seats were so good I decided to stay longer. The game was okay. The Ravens were up by twenty points, so it wasn't too dramatic. I was surprised to see someone bring out an actual raven in the third quarter.

A Raven on the field!

I left halfway through the fourth quarter. As I was walking to the shuttle for employee/volunteer parking, the fireworks went off again, signaling another score by the home team. The game ended in a Ravens victory, 33-7.

Another item I received for volunteering was a Ravens hat. I have one from a previous year, along with a winter knit cap. I plan to volunteer at more games this year, so hopefully I will have hats for everyone in the immediate family!

2018 Ravens cap

I took my son to another Nats game using the tickets I received when I donated blood. By dumb luck or Divine Providence, that night was Hawaiian shirt night, where they were giving out shirts to the first 25,000 attendees. Sadly, we didn't arrive in time to get a shirt but we saw plenty of people wearing theirs.

Hawaiian shirt day at Nats Park

 Our seats were very high up, as in one row from the very top. Even so, our view of the field was good.

View from our seats, unzoomed

View from our seats, the other direction

More view from the back of our seats

Seeing the National Cathedral and the Postal Pavillion in the distance

The game was fun. The Nationals were victorious against the Miami Marlins, 8 to 2. 

Game in progress

I'm giving blood again in September. The website says they are giving away tickets again, but they must be for games next season. I'll find out on the Fifteenth!

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