Ok guy (that is, if anyone is still reading), I know we’re behind. I know we’ve been “bad bloggers” this season, but perhaps it’s because there’s other things we’re doing with our time. When you’re watching baseball games every night, it’s hard to concentrate on what’s going on on the TV AND to write a blog post. And then there are the non-baseball things going on in our lives. In any case, Drew and I are still making predictions, and while I haven’t gotten around to rounding up our July predictions (super quick summary: we weren’t quite optimistic enough), we’re going to put in our August predictions before the month gets too far ahead of us. And because we’re going for speed here, there won’t be pictures (at least for a little bit).
Maggie: I’m thinking at least 2. They’re having a crappy year, and showing it, but the Nats do have to face Cliff Lee. (2-1)
Maggie: We’re playing them at home (as opposed to Miami, where they historically cream us), so I’m happy enough to say (3-1)
Maggie: All my past predictions have been so cautious. They have more losses than we do wins. I’ll go with a big series win. (3-1)
Aug 10-12: @ Arizona
Maggie: For whatever reason, the Diamondbacks make me wary. I’ll go with (1-2)
Maggie: This is the right time of year for a late season Mets collapse. (3-0)
Maggie: I think it would be silly to count Atlanta out since they’re the last team other than the Nats that seems to have any spark in the NL East. I’ll say Nats win the series, but it wouldn’t surprise me if Atlanta took it instead. (2-1)
Maggie: A group of Nats fans will be visiting CBP on Saturday night, and I’ve got high hopes they leave happy. I say we sweep the series. (3-0)
Maggie: Visiting Miami has never been the Nats strong suit. Thank goodness it’s only a 2 game series! (1-1)
Maggie: The Cards are one of those more historically (well, recently historically?) dominant teams. I don’t see them fading off into the autumn light. I should end my optimistic month with a won series, but I’ll call it a split. (2-2)
Maggie: a ridiculous 22-10.
So – are we totally nuts for imagining a 22-10 run over the month of August (plus 1 day in July and 2 in September)? Let us know your predictions in the comments!
Sorry for the delay in putting up the link to part 2 of our July predictions. Drew had them up on the 5th, and then I think I was distracted by the wonders of Atlanta (have you been to the Georgia Aquarium? Or the World of Coke? Holy crow, those are cool places!).
In any case – Drew puts part 2 up here.
Ashley’s down in Atlanta for the week, so she took her brother to Turner Field to watch the Nats take out the Braves. It was a brutal summer day (official game temp was 101), but with lots of water, ice cream, and a win, the day turned out to be fun.
It’s hard to come into another stadium and be the lone fan cheering for your team. Ashley’s done it before in college, but it’s different when you grew up with the home team and have become a traitor (according to the brother). The tomahawk chop was still going strong, and the Braves uniforms haven’t changed in years. However, Ashley stuck to her guns and cheered when the rest of the crowd booed.
There were a lot of things that made this game great, but what really stuck out to me was how the overall game experience was so much better than going to a game at Nationals Park. Let’s go through a few of them:
1) Parking – it took us less than 30 minutes to get door to door. The Braves stadium is about 3 miles further away from home than Nats Park, but parking is available right at the stadium and there wasn’t crazy traffic. Yes, we went on a Sunday afternoon during a holiday week, but traffic has been so bad in DC on a weekend that we’ve turned around before. Parking was $10 in advance (plus fees) or $15 in cash.
2) Seating – the seats at Turner Field are slightly steeper, which means that you’re closer to the field. We sat in the 200s, which would be like an upper 100s seat. However, because of the way the seats were situated, I felt like we had a better angle on the field. Turner field holds about 49,000 (vs 41,000 for the Nats), but it didn’t feel like the stadium was bigger. Also, our seats were in the shade the entire game (for a 1:35 start).
3) Concessions – the food seemed of better quality (including a lot of local restaurants) and was cheaper. My brother got basic chicken tenders, which were delicious (even on a HOT day) and only cost $7. I grabbed a small cup of ice cream – $3. And my small had two scoops crammed into it. It was also Mayfield, which elevates it to a whole other level.
4) Season Ticket Holder (STH) Perks – wow, this really showed a difference in the two parks. The Braves had a lounge area set aside for STHs, and all STHs get 33% off concessions all year. It made me want to snap up a season pack.
5) Music – when visiting batters step up to the plate, the Braves organist tries to play something special for them. On Sunday we got “Send in the Clowns” for Harper, OUT spelled out in morse code for Morse, and “Never Gonna Give you Up” (by Rick Astley) for Ankiel. If you ever make it to a game in Atlanta (or are watching on TV), you can follow @bravesorganist on Twitter to give suggestions or find out what he’s thinking for our boys.
6) The Big Screen – in between innings, the music and videos definitely had a Southern flare. I had forgotten just how much I like country music in fact. The best thing they did though was show a montage of clips from a game last year where the Braves rallied back from 4 under to tie, and ultimately win, the game. “We did it before, and we can do it again…” was the basic theme, and then led into the tomahawk chop. I think that’s a great way to motivate the fans.
Overall, the game was one of the more fun, relaxed baseball outings I’ve had in a while. I didn’t realize how much Nats games actually stress me out. Dear Nationals, please take a look at this and try to find ways to make your game experience better. I felt like I was there to watch baseball, not there to make money for the owners. Even if the Braves had won, I still would have had a great day.
(Just to be fair, the one thing the Nats do better is cameras. I can bring an 8 inch lens to Nationals Park, but only a 5 inch lens to Turner Field. Hence, no awesome telephoto pics this time.)
Full album is here.
Last Friday night was a rainout. Stephen Strasburg was supposed to pitch, so for whatever reason, they decided to just shift his start to Saturday instead of skipping him in the lineup and having Gio Gonzalez pitch like he was supposed to. This was VERY exciting for me. I’ve had the “luck” this year of so far only seeing two of the Nationals – Gio and Edwin Jackson. They’re both fantastic pitchers, and I’ve really enjoyed the games I’ve been to, but there have been 4 other guys taking the mound in the first inning, and I wanted to see someone else. Seeing Strasburg would be a cherry on that cake. I called Ashley, invited her to come with me, and said I’d pick her up at 2:30, with the expectation that we’d park my car at 3 or 3:15, get to the ballpark by 3:30, and buy ourselves some $5 beers before heading up to my seats. This was not to be. Traffic along the 270-spur and the beltway delayed my arrival to Ashley’s house until 3:10. We got on US-50 (because every other route into the city was clogged) and made our way towards 395…only to be greeted with standstill traffic when we reached that on-ramp. We looked at traffic on Google Maps, listened to WTOP, and tried to make a detour through Arlington. We called my mother, and it was at that time (4:00pm) that I made the executive decision that I wasn’t going to sit in traffic for potentially hours to miss the game, and not even see Strassy pitch. We would make alternate plans.
And so, it was with a heavy heart that Ashley and I drove back towards her apartment, but along the way, Ashley had a great idea. If we couldn’t watch the game in person with cheap beer, we’d watch it on tv at a bar with GREAT beer. So that’s how we ended up at Mad Fox Brewing Company in Falls Church. If we couldn’t be at the game, this is where we wanted to be. We enjoyed fantastic brews, amazing bartenders (who were sympathetic to our plight), and great people surrounding us at the bar who were interested in talking about the Nats. Ashley was as happy as it was possible to be in our situation.
I was not. In fact, I was so sulky, that as I drank my Diabolik Belgian Strong Ale, I kept a list of all the things that made me sad that I wasn’t at the game. Here is that list:
- Michael Morse returns (along with the return of a-ha’s Take on Me as his fantastic at bat music)
- Strasburg (we’ve already discussed this)
- Beautiful day (probably the most obnoxious part of listening to the radio broadcasters was how many times they reiterated that it was beautiful, perfect baseball weather)
- Zim in tall socks (we are suckers for this particular uniform choice)
- Harper crazy eyeblack (from the TV it looked like it was worthy of high-school Harper)
- Flores home run (I love to jump up and high five everyone around me)
- Game time 2.5 hours for a win!!! (because 1) it’s a win, and 2) it’s short enough where you can still do stuff in the evening)
So that’s our excuse for not having a gamer for the June 2 game. Do you think we made the right choice? Has anyone around here ever sat in crazy traffic for hours for a Nats game? Are there situations where I would have waited? Sure – if it were a playoff game. But it wasn’t. Speaking of the traffic – does anyone know what caused the city-wide standstill on Saturday?
PS (top photo is honor of today – the 2 year Strasiversary! Photos from that game here)
Since the “Predict the Nats performance” post was such an interesting challenge (and since Drew and I did fairly well), I think a June prediction post is well in order. The Nats have a challenging month ahead of them where they’ll be playing the entire American League East over the course of two and a half weeks. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Once again, we’ll be splitting the predictions in two, with the First Ladies taking the first post, and CTmD taking on the second. Let’s get started!
Drew: I got a little carried away in my May preview with the ‘S’ word. I was thrilled to see the Nats actually get one sweep and take care of the Bravos in A-town. These two series are still going to be tough. I know the Braves have been struggling with injuries but so is everyone else. They’ve been pretty good team so far, with strong BB% and wOBA even with a mediocre pitching staff(1.03 HR/9 and 4.06 FIP). Despite that, I think the Nats have this group of Braves number. Since last season the Nats have played really well against the Braves. I’m going to say the Nats go 2-1 in both series and wind up 4-2 for June.
Maggie: This coming week is a big opportunity for the Nationals. They’ll be facing two division rivals, and one of those is the Braves, who they just swept. The Nats will (hopefully!) be getting some players back from the DL (can you say Michael Morse?), so they’ll continue to win. But after a long division road trip, I’m thinking they’ll be tired and don’t see them sweeping the Braves again. By the time we get to the end of the month, the Braves should have more players back and the Nats will be playing at Turner field again. I have a feeling this will be a turning point for Atlanta, so I’m only giving the Nats 1. (2-1, 1-2; 3-3 for the month).
Drew: I’m still not sure I can buy the Mets as real. Their defense is pretty shaky with a .307 BABIP (3rd highest in the NL), they still give up more than HR per game, they strike out 21% of the time(5th most in all of baseball), and they’ve actually given up more runs than they’ve scored (214-234). These are not the makings of a winning team. No matter how they keep winning I can’t believe this team is for real until some of those stats take a more positive turn. I’m going to agree with Maggie on this one and go 2-1.
Maggie: The Mets have been a real surprise this season – maybe more so than the Nationals since everyone was still ragging on them at the beginning of the season and was talking up the Nats. The Nats haven’t played them since their second series, so I have a feeling it will be close, but as a homer, I’ll give the Nats a slight edge. (2-1)
Drew: No one in Boston was really jazzed about the Sox over memorial day. They dropped 2 of 3 to the Rays and there isn’t much buzz. The thing is, they’re not playing terribly. Yeah, they’re last in their division but they’re over .500. In most other divisions they’d be competing for second. They’re offense seems to be performing with a solid wOBA (3rd in the AL, 4th overall), a decent BB% (ok, they strike out a fair amount too). Their pitching has been atrocious. The Nats have been a little bit inconsistent bat wise but I’m still going to pick their pitching to carry this one and say 2-1. I’d like to see a little revenge for April 3rd.
Maggie: The Red Sox have been really struggling this year. Of course, struggling in the AL East means sitting at .500 and still being in 5th place. This is definitely not the team that dominated for a stretch in the mid-aughts, so I’m giving the young and surging Nats a slight edge here (though it will be close playing at Fenway). (2-1)
Drew: I have no idea what to make of the Blue Jays (really resisting the urge to call them the BJs). They’re playing about as expected from a run production stand point. But since they’re in the AL, and Canadian I don’t know anything else about them. Flipping a coin here aaannnnddd….. 1-2. Nats gotta lose some time right?
Maggie: The Blue Jays are another team that have “struggled” this year (though currently sitting just over .500), but they haven’t had a real signature dominant win within their division. I was originally thinking the Nats would take just 1, but will bump that up to 2 since they may have a decent cheering section considering the franchise’s former base in Canada. (2-1)
We’ll finish things out tomorrow!
So, yesterday we left off in mid-May with the Nats facing the Reds. Fortunately for all of us, there are four more teams that the DC boys of summer will face before we actually head into summer months. And since this May prediction is a co-post with Crunching Through My Day, we’ll let Drew pick up in the middle of the month and let us know how things should turn out for the Nats.
See that post HERE!
Here we are, six months later. We started the season on March 31 with rain, cold, and a loss to the Braves. Things have changed dramatically since then. The weather was improved (cloudy, but warm, with eventual sunshine), and a team with more wins and some confidence was taking on the Braves again to close out the season.
The atmosphere down in 129 was like the last day of school. Fans and ushers were hugging, and taking pictures. Lucky season ticket holders chatted on the field as they prepared to be the starting nine – those who run out on the field and welcome the Nats starting fielders at the top of the first inning. And then festivities really started. Glenn Donnellan got the call to do the final National Anthem of the year on his electric batolin.
Ross Detweiler pitched six innings in a start where he hoped to prove he deserves a spot on the rotation next year. He got himself into a couple jams with the bases loaded, but managed to work his way out of it with the help of an excellent defense behind him.
I stepped away from our seats after the President’s Race to get a snack when I heard the roar of the crowd. I quickly turned my attentions to the monitor near the concession stand to see a replay of Wilson Ramos hitting his home run.
At that point, the Nationals had all the runs they would need to win the game. At the top of the seventh, Davey Johnson brought in Henry Rodriguez, who went on to throw seven triple-digit-fastballs in a row. It was such an unbelievably dominant performance that the Braves fans behind us asked if the radar gun in the stadium was stuck, because no one could throw like that.
And just when everyone in the stadium was thinking it couldn’t get any better, Michael Morse went on to smack a two-run homer (his 29th of the year) to lift the team up to 3-0. It was such an electric moment that the fans kept cheering for Morse until he came out and gave a curtain call to the fans.
That’s the last of our game posts for the year. We’ll be back after the season to do some wrap-up posts. So be on the lookout. And if you’re free the afternoon of Wednesday September 28 (final Nats game of the year), there’s a group meeting up at the Clyde’s near Friendship Heights. We’ll be the group in the downstairs bar, and it’s as good a place as any to close out the season. Game starts at 4pm.
Full album can be found here.
My husband and I decided to go all out for the end of the season and attend all three games in the last homestand. It was intense, but we’re both glad we did it. Friday night was a bit rough (even though we had cushy seats in the Club), but the weekend just kept getting better from there. I’m going to do a brief round-up for y’all with lots of pictures because I managed to pick up a cold that has completely knocked me out. I would like to blame the rain, but it held off for all three games this weekend without causing any delays, and for that I’m grateful.
Friday night was a Strasburg start, which is always fun. Drew had not seen him pitch yet, so he was looking forward to it. However, the biggest excitement of the night was actually the President’s Race. Jayson Werth is really trying to get the home crowd on his side, and roped several other players into helping him try to take down Abe, Tom, and George to let Teddy finally win a race.
Ha! You thought you’d see that here? Just scroll down a bit. We’ll revisit this in a moment. In all honesty, both the pictures and game were much better on Saturday…
Ahh, Saturday. Lovely weather, a fabulous win, and a showing of pre-game friendliness. There was a lot of that going around actually, Ashley’s cousins drove up to watch the game with her. As former Georgians, they were both rooting for the Braves to win, so they did not have as much fun as she did.
And now for a parade of pictures. All of these (except the President’s Race) were taken by Ashley’s husband. Above, Ashley was thrilled to see Pudge behind the plate. She hadn’t seen him play in months due to an injury, and he didn’t disappoint. In Ashley’s favorite move, he threw out two baserunners at 2nd.
Despite only getting to base on walks, Werth scored two of the Nat’s runs.
Ankiel made a terrific catch to end the 3rd inning. This leads us to…
Werth, Ankiel, and the bullpen all tried to help Teddy break his streak, but he was taken down by Abe and ultimately no one won this race. Werth crossed the finish line, but refused to take the win. He did declare himself the last supporter of the Bull Moose party after the game, which is making Ashley consider ordering a 26 jersey with “Bull Moose” on the back.
Look for a post on the last game of the season later this week with pictures from Ashley (up in 311) and Maggie (down in 129).
Would you look at that! It was sunny and blue for the start of the game! Unfortunately, it was a bit gloomier by the end. Let us walk you through it…
Jordan Zimmermann appeared on the mound for the Nationals, rocking the tall socks. He was pretty steady for six innings, although three runs were scored under his watch. However, the runs could not be blamed on him, as our defense did not bring their A-game today.
We thought Jayson Werth would be the big story of the game, but then the 8th inning happened (more on that later). In the 1st, Werth got on base (walked) and made his way to 2nd. After a long ball was hit, he took off towards 3rd, but the Braves 3rd baseman blocked his way. This prompted Ashley to scream, “Chipper’s a thug,” as Werth rounded 3rd and headed towards home. He was tagged out, but the umpires awarded the Nats a run for interference. This tied the game and gave the fans something to talk about for a few innings. Then…
In the 7th, Coffey came to the mound. He lasted four batters, then turned the pitching over to…
Doug Slaten, who closed out the inning. In the 8th, we were treated to…
Brian Broderick, in his MLB debut. Poor guy was nervous, and it showed. We hope he settles down a bit and has a successful career. Today, though, he just couldn’t pull it together. However, Ashley was pleased to finally see a balk, even though it cost us a run. It would have been nice if this teaching moment had come from the Braves bullpen. Broderick was pulled after six batters and we watched…