This Friday is special because as of today – all of the Nationals players have reported to Spring Training! In honor of there being less than 45 days until Opening Day, today’s Five on Friday will revolve around…Nationals baseball!
One. Spring Training Begins – Tomorrow! The pitchers reported on Valentine’s Day (how lovely…pun completely intended) and the position players are reporting today. The first work out as a team is tomorrow and the Spring Training games begin on Saturday the 25th! I can’t wait to see all the pictures, tweets, posts, etc…coming out of West Palm Beach…including the pictures and tweets that have already started popping up!
Two. The Ballpark of the Palm Beaches – The Nationals have a new home for Spring Training this year, in the lovely Palm Beach Florida! After making their Spring Training home at Space Coast Stadium in recent years, the 2017 season is the inaugural season for the Ballpark of the Palm Beaches – a shared Spring Training home with the Houston Astros. Getting to Spring Training one of these days is on the bucket list…until then, I’ll just have to stare at the pictures from the website!
Three. New Nationals for 2017 – Well…we still don’t have a designated closer but we do have some new players for 2017… Sadly, Nationals fans said farewell to longtime Nationals Wilson Ramos and Danny Espinosa this season, as well as some potential pitching puzzle pieces of the future, Lucas Giolito and Reynaldo Lopez. We acquired multiple players here and there but the main acquisitions were center-fielder Adam Eaton from the Chicago White Sox, catcher Daniel Norris from the San Diego Padres and as of Wednesday the 15th, first baseman Adam Lind from the Seattle Mariners.
Four. Promotional Calendar Unveiled – And oh man…there are some bobble heads that I need to add to my collection, of course! You may wonder what in the world a promotional schedule is… Well, it’s the schedule of what bobble heads, freebies, t-shirts and little gimmick-y things are being given out. Obviously bobble heads are what you really want (read: what I REALLY want) but that wookie koozie for Star Wars Day is pretty cute too, right?
Five. The Countdown – is still on! Just forty-four days to go until regular season baseball starts…but finally, finally…now there will be Spring Training baseball games and pictures and news! The long Winter is finally drawing to a close and the regular season is almost here.
Baseball fever is definitely catching – I was flipping channels on Wednesday night and stumbled on a Nationals Classics game being played on MASN. Lo and behold, it was the first Nationals game I attended after moving to the DMV (District of Columbia, Maryland, Virginia). The Nationals were playing the Atlanta Braves and had a good lead, but by the ninth inning the game was all tied up. Bryce Harper; in the midst of his 2015 MVP season, came to bat and on the second pitch knocked the baseball out of the park and securing a walk-off win.
Watching the game in person was most definitely what caused me to catch the fever…and watching the game on TV again last night shifted the fever into high gear again. I can’t wait for the crack of the bat, the smell of the stadium and even sweating in the sunshine while watching America’s pastime.