I Always Want to Sit This Close

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This post is so picture heavy – I tried to trim it down a little bit…but I was sitting three rows from the field at Nationals Park and you all should honestly just be glad I didn’t take 200 pictures. I mean, I was so close to the field that I could smell the dirt… Let’s just say it was a good thing Bryce Harper had the night off because we were so close to right field…so close…and the guy that was “guarding” the field between innings…well, he had a little bit of a belly and I think I could have gotten past him with ease…
I’m kidding guys…I’m kidding….
Ice Cream Jubilee, Yards Park & the Anacostia…

Thursday I had the day off and I had tickets to the Nationals game…I planned this all out almost perfectly; I was set to go to the game with a friend but after a bump in the road for her, my Mom so gamely agreed to join me for a jaunt into DC to catch the game between the Nats and the Cincinnati Reds. This game was the first of a four game series between the Nationals and the Reds; the Nationals would go on to take the series, winning three of the four games played and Thursday night’s game started the series off in the style…

Bryce…always so serious…
Can I just jump the fence please? Please??

I snagged the tickets for the game just a few weeks before the game and when I saw that they were so close to the field and didn’t cost an arm and a leg, I pounced on them! I’m so glad I did because when I finally got into my seat…well, I was just absolutely in heaven. This was the closest I’ve sat at a Nationals game before and you could smell the dirt and just see…everything…so close…and it was all I could do not to just go hang over the fence. I managed to keep myself in check, since the only other people hanging over the fence looked like they were around…oh seven or eight years old…

Look at this…the field is literally…just right there! 
Never before has Gio been so near….
Gio does some stretching…& he’s so close…
Wilson Ramos (40)…I could reach out & touch him…

Once we’d successfully navigated the crazy almost 5 o’clock DC traffic and made it to the waterfront, we made a pit stop at Ice Cream Jubilee lived out the whole “eat dessert first” thing – I had White Chocolate Strawberry and Honey Lemon Lavender, my Mom had Chocolate Chocolate and Marionberry – it was delicious, of course. We wandered the walkway between Yards Park and Nationals Park licking our ice cream cones and then into the park we went…happily full of ice cream and anticipating a great night of baseball.

As mentioned, I was so delighted with out seats! I sat in the blazing sun, just thrilled to be sitting so near the field and was even more thrilled when Gio Gonzalez strolled past our seats and began to warm up and Wilson Ramos followed right behind him. While I didn’t scramble to get close to either of them – it wouldn’t have happened – when I saw Screech walking along the edge of the fence, with some prodding from my Mom, I hopped up and got my picture snapped! After watching the players warm up (they were so close…so close…) and joining in the National Anthem, it was time to play ball!

Chris, Danny & Tony getting in those pre-game stretches
Tony, Daniel, Danny & Chris prepare for the National Anthem
Wilson & Gio ready to take the field…along with pitching coach Mike Maddux.

Gio has not been at his best recently…and the Reds struck in the first inning, scoring on a bases loaded sacrifice fly that made the score 0-1 but the offense for the Nationals fought back pretty quickly: Wilson Ramos brought in a run on his own sacrifice fly and then Ryan Zimmerman hit a homerun with two men on board, making the score after the first inning 4-1, Nationals. The second inning held the score at 4-1 Nationals and Gio and the defense held the Reds through the top of the third…

Chris Heisey steps into right field, ready to play ball!
The boys of summer hanging on the dugout…
The sun sets & the score (for the Nationals) goes up & up & up….

In the bottom of the third, a thing of beauty happened… The bases loaded up and Danny Espinosa stepped up to the plate. After a few pitches, the count was at 2-2 and a fastball came streaking across the plate…and Danny connected with it, sending it soaring into the stands above the visitor’s bullpen for a Grand Slam (yes, it must be capitalized) that made the score 8-1 and ended the Red’s starting pitcher’s night. 

Gonzalez struck out five of the six batters that he faced in the third and fourth and then in the bottom of the fourth, Chris Heisey brought home two runners, making the score 10-1 Nationals…and Danny decided that hitting one home run in a game wasn’t quite enough, so he blasted a three run homer into the visitor’s bullpen and elevated the score to 13-1 Nationals. And yes, you’re reading this right – all of this happened before the fifth inning started.

Scenes from the game…
Teddy waits on the other Presidents…
Presidential dancing…

The fifth inning was relatively tame…that is…tame after the tear the Nationals bats had gone on for the first four innings; no more runs were scored and the game went into the sixth holding at 13-1. Joey Votto (he’s kind of a jerk guys…) hit a homerun in the sixth, finally giving the Reds a second point on the board and then two more runs came in courtesy of some well plated singles from Adam Duvall and Tucker Barnhart, leaving the sixth inning with a score of 13-4.

Matt Belisle came in and pitched a scoreless seventh inning; he was followed by Felipe Rivero who threw a scoreless eighth and closed the game out in the ninth, with a final score of 13-4, Nationals. It was a stellar outing for the Nationals offense, it allowed Gio Gonzalez to get a win and it closed out the month of June for Danny Espinosa on an insanely amazing note. Quite the night at the ballpark!

Danny Espinosa – Grand Slam + some…
Engrossed in the game…as always….

I (obviously) thoroughly enjoyed this game – it’s easy to really enjoy a game when your team wins in such a spectacular fashion! I have also decided since this game that I need to find a way to sit this close to the field for every game because I loved it. My Mom was convinced we were going to end up getting smacked in the head with a foul ball…which didn’t happen…but I’d have been reaching for all I was worth if one had come our way! 

This game capped off a good June for the Nationals; even with a brutal road trip earlier in the month, the Nationals ended the month at 48-32, sixteen games above five hundred and still in the lead in the National League East division. Espinosa was the obvious MVP for the Nationals for June; not just because of the game on the 30th but because of the absolute tear he went on in June…the game on the 30th just capped off a stellar month for him. Did I mention…those two homers he hit on the 30th’s game…one from each side of the plate. Talk about multi-talented!
I can’t wait to see where the rest of the season goes for my Nationals!

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