Neither Maggie nor Ashley can resist a deal. So when Groupon posted a deal a few weeks ago for tickets to the opening weekend to see the Potomac Nationals, we had to take advantage. $6 for a grandstand seat and a hot dog. Not bad at all. Add in a beer and splitting parking, and this was a $15 outing to see professional players, sit 4 feet from the PNats bullpen, and take advantage of a fabulous minor league team.
Fabulous because they’re coming off a year as the Carolina League champions. The players received their rings at Spring Training, but this was an opportunity for the team to celebrate with the fans who go to their games on a regular basis. And we weren’t disappointed. Eury Perez had a slick first inning where he stole two bases, and scored a run. Steven Souza had an amazing diving catch in the 4th inning, and a towering 3-run homer in the 9th (which brought the team within 1).
It may have been cold (pitchers in the bullpen were wearing at least 3 long-sleeved layers in the 47-degree weather), the scoreboard may have shown the same pictures for all the Nationals players during the first four innings (no, the entire team isn’t identical to Jeff Kobernus) and eventually gone completely dark during the ninth inning, and troops of tween girls may have tromped loudly on the bleachers while bugging pitchers for autographs, but there’s nothing like it.
But where else can you go where the mascot comes and pulls your hat over your eyes, sits down for a while to show you his replica championship ring, and even lets you try it on (all the while ignoring mob of children who have suddenly invaded)?
Where can you get THISCLOSE to a pitcher as he warms up to close the game, and then ask him about the logistics of minor league teams after he gets the save? (the question – do visiting teams have to bring their own rosin? answer – yes, opposing teams don’t/can’t provide equipment).
We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again: minor league baseball is great. Get yourself to a game – you don’t have a lot of excuses. The Potomac Nationals are in Woodbridge. The Frederick Keys (an Orioles affiliate) are in Frederick (a short 45 minute drive north from DC). The Hagerstown Suns are in Hagerstown (northwest Maryland), which is about 90 minutes away, but has the additional draw of Bryce Harper. Next time you’re visiting family or friends who don’t live near a big city…do a quick search online, and find a team nearby (they’re EVERYWHERE).
Normally we give you more specific details on the game, so here are a few of those. Danny Rosenbaum started for the Nationals, and Arodys Viscaino started for the Hillcats. Jason Lowey got the save for the Hillcats, as he finished things out with a 6-5 win for Lynchburg.
(full album from this game can be seen here)