The Nationals play the Braves in Atlanta, it might be just as hot there as when these two teams played on Saturday last week in D.C. The game time temperature on Saturday August 13th was 95 degrees which was an improvement of 102 when I entered the ball park early to get my free Star Wars tee shirt. (I got 5 of them and 4 will be for sale on ebay for all those Star Wars geeks! Coach makes money not only from great picks.)
That’s right it was Star Wars day and all those goofy Presidents in costume were dressed as Star Wars characters. Teddy Roosevelt looked very uncomfortable with the whole Star Wars promo and Abe Lincoln looked odd wielding a light saber. This was my first time at Nationals Park and I did a complete walk around the stadium with the family, it is one heck of a park. There were Star Wars characters throughout the concourse. We came across Chewbacca and were going to get a picture with the Wookiee because there was amazingly no line. There actually just appeared to be no line, just like that scene in Christmas Story when Ralphie is trying to see Santa to get his BB Gun. We were about to step up to take a picture and noticed the long, long, long line that wrapped around the curve of the concourse that had no end in sight. We didn’t jump the line but the face of the people who thought we were going to cut the line was priceless.
The game is about to start and we have Reynaldo Lopez and Robbie Whalen ready to face off and after watching all those Star Wars mock light saber fights on the field pre-game I am ready for some baseball. (Seriously at least 5 light saber battles. I like Star Wars but this was nerd overload.) Top of the first and my 3 year old wants popcorn. I leave Mrs. Coach with the 3 kids and make a concession stand run, I shouldn’t miss too much. Think again, I hear groans as Freddie Freeman hits a bomb and I miss it because I can’t even see the concession TV from my vantage point in the line. I turn and look towards the field to spot anything and notice a special popcorn concession stand with no one in line. Darn it, I hate missing parts of the game when in attendance.
The Bottom of the first I get into the seats and hand out the goodies just in time to see Trea Turner of the Nats fly around the bases for an easy triple. The triple is the most exciting play in baseball, screw homeruns. My Mount Rushmore of most exciting baseball plays are the Triple, Outfield/Relay to throw a runner out at a base, steal of home and any diving defensive play. My Rushmore of non-baseball plays you see at a game would be the manager getting tossed, player getting tossed, bench clearing hug fests (unless it’s Rougned Odor he will throw a punch) and Bartolo Colon attacking the post game spread.
The bottom of the 3rd inning and Trea Turner goes deep. The cycle is now in play with the two toughest parts out of the way, especially with the speed of Turner. My 3 year old stars making Chewbacca noises and roars which was amusing.(Jason Werth is shown on the scoreboard as Chewbacca and it’s pretty hilarious too.) The odds in our section for the Turner Cycle is 8-1 and I bet on the cycle. I really should of bet on the 3 year old pretending to be Chewie for the next 3 innings, I might have won some money.
The 5th inning we have the President Race. We have right field upper deck seats and miss most of the race until the dramatic end. As they get near the finish line two bad Star War Characters jump out of the stands and start fighting the Presidents with light sabers. I had bet on Abe Lincoln to win the race but freaking Kylo Ren took Honest Abe out. I at least was able to see history re-written, John Wilkes Booth was taken off the Wikipedia page and replaced with Kylo Ren for the assassination of our 16th president.
Real poor move by Mr. Coach in the bottom of the 6th. Mrs. Coach says “The kids are getting really tired we should head out and get back to the hotel.” I have some advice for everyone in this situation, tell the truth but put it more nicely as yours truly. “No way! The kids aren’t tired you’re tired. Turner just singled and we are a double away from seeing the cycle.” The 11 year old backed me up with a “Yeah Mom.” This did not help my cause. Mrs. Coach left with the 3 year old and 8 year old, I believe to get Kylo Ren’s light saber and assassinate me and the 11 year old.
The 7th inning is an adventure with the beer vendor trying to sell the rest of product before they stop beer sales. He sprints down the stairs to the front of the upper deck with the beer on his right shoulder. He takes one misstep he is going over the rail and plummeting to his death. He keeps his balance and has apparently done this many times before. He works his way up towards my seat and a kid in his early twenties asks “What can I get for $2?” The beer vendor has been lugging around those heavy beers in 90+ degree weather and doesn’t snap but had every right to do so. He calmly responds “You on a date kid?” the kid nods yes. “You are announcing to your date that you’re a cheap, nice job buddy good luck getting another date.” He then dropped the mic and left, I applauded.
Bottom of the 8th the game is over, the Nats have a big lead. Mrs. Coach returns without a light saber thankfully. She is resigned to the fact we are staying until Turner gets his chance for a double (he was robbed of a hit by a diving play by the 2nd baseman earlier). There are two outs and Turner is in the hole, it doesn’t look good.
Pedro Severino gets a hit to the delight of all, especially those with 8-1 odds on the Turner cycle. A gentleman with a Washington Nationals bucket hat is very excited, at first I think he had better odds than me but then notice he is hugging and celebrating with 2 women. The wheels start to turn and I am little slow but this is either a swinger situation or a maybe a vacation trip from Utah with someone with multiple wives.
I look at Mrs. Coach “Is Ernest Hemingway over there with both those women?” (he looks like Ernest Hemingway with snow white beard and all) Mrs. Coach responds “You are just noticing, he has been all over those two since that Nationals home run in the first inning.” (I should apparently watch more than just the game.) Next batter is pinch hitter Clint Robinson and he gets a hit giving Turner one last chance for the cycle. I immediately turn to watch the Hemmingway three way. Trea Turner pops out to right field, inning over, cycle prop bet over and game over there is no way Mrs. Coach is going to let us watch the end with a 7-2 lead.
(The Braves actually rally and score 4 in the top of the ninth. The first out of the inning ends up being a runner getting thrown out at third, one of the most exciting plays in baseball. Instead of a runner on 2nd with no outs, the bases are clear with one out. Game, set, match, the Nats win. Yes, the 11year old and 1 were in pain listening to this on the ride back to the hotel.)
In the rematch things you should know, Reynaldo Lopez throws hard. He was throwing harder than the temperature often on Saturday which was impressive. He needs to have the same control he had on Saturday because he has been wild in his previous starts. Robbie Whalen was on the wrong end of Reynaldo Lopez first MLB victory and did not look impressive allowing three triples (one of the most exciting plays in baseball) and two homers. There were a number of balls hit solid that game, right at Braves players or the damage could have been worse. Moral of the story, take the Nats the Braves suck and you never know what you are going to see at a baseball game.