On Thursday, I drunkenly said that I'd write some sort of recap of my trip to our nation's capital. Not only was it my first trip to DC, it was my first trip to a non-Chicago MLB park. The results? Well, I can't complain. It wasn't perfect, but there were more pluses than minuses. I certainly had more fun on my trip to Washington than Tony Hayward.
As I sat delirious and hungover on my couch last Sunday, the 13th, I watched Nationals first round pick Stephen Strasburg throw some of the nastiest stuff I've ever seen from starting pitcher. It wasn''t his best outing, but you didn''t need to be Dave Wilder to know that kid deserved a big signing bonus. I decided that seeing Strasburg was a must. That the Sox were in town made it that much easier to justify. If he dominated, well I got to see perhaps the best young pitcher in the game. If he got smacked, I got to see a new ballpark and the Sox win. Pretty much a can't-lose situation. I jumped on StubHub and bought tickets for Saturday's game. Great move, right? Impulsive, no? Making things happen! Wrong. I had neglected to confirm that Strasburg started Saturday. Apparently, the Nationals are going to keep him on a strict 5-day schedule. So I had to buy tickets for Friday, too. Stimulating this economy one foolish purchase at a time.
I bought 2 tickets essentially right behind home plate in the Lexus Presidents Seats. They looked like the best you could do, but lo and behold they were apparently not the President's Seats. Barack Obama was good enough to join us, yet he sat in a luxury box halfway down the 3rd baseline, wearing his trademark adjustable Sox hat with the soft crown. I protested to no avail, but rest assured, my complaint with the Better Business Bureau for false advertising is in progress.
Traffic to the stadium was gruesome. Google maps told me that Nationals Park was a mere 3 miles or 10 minutes away by cab, something that I re-checked approximately 15 times on our way to the game. We made it, though it took about 20 minutes and cut into our pre-game activities. (We were running late already.)
We started at the PNC Diamond Club. It's nice. Pretty much what you'd expect from a ballpark's premium section. Carving station, buffet lines, white tablecloths, etc. I was in the Scout Seats at Cominskey (hat tip: Obama) last week and let me assure you, Chicago is the better deal. No booze included. Enough said. Face? $330. That ain't right. It was at this time that some chick threw out the first pitch. We made our way down to our seats and started our night at the ballgame.
Sox got off to a good start. An infield hit by Pierre, a looping double down the line in right by Vizquel and a Rios groundout got them on the board. From there- shutdown. Strasburg was electric. He had hitters off-balance with his 99MPH fastball and his high 80s change. Nobody looked worse than Gordon Beckham. My Lord is that boy struggling. He had no chance, but on this night it was at least understandable. Not to be outdone was our own Gavin Floyd. He was dominant. Our seats made it possible to really see each pitcher's stuff. I've been that close before to Gavin, and his curveball is sick, so believe me when I say that Strasburg is truly nasty. Floyd was on, too, but there is no doubt that his arsenal is not on Mr. Big Stuff's level.
Somewhere in here the aforementioned first pitch thrower made her way to our section and sat down a few rows in front. Apparently, her name is Hilary Rhoda and she's an Estee Lauder and Sports Illustrated swimsuit model. Who knew? I honestly wasn't blown away. Before we realized that she's the chick from the pre-game I pointed her out to my buddy and said she's got a cute face. Amazing what makeup and airbrushing can do. Her body is nice, but definitely lacking in curves. I was guessing reality TV until somebody sitting nearby clued us in.
Also in our section was Ted Leonsis, who is not lacking in curves. This guy has a body like a life-size muffin. Very friendly, though. I wouldn't have realized it was him were it not for my buddy. He's the owner of the Wizards and the Capitals, and he made some money in something called AOL.
Brian Orakpo was the other notable in the section. He was incredibly accomodating to the 50+ people that came up to him asking for pictures during the game. I don't want to break down the physique of every person in our section, but this guy is built like a truck. I'm not saying I could kick his ass. I'm not saying it. (Not sober, at least. And never to him.)
The Sox lost the lead on an Adam Dunn double, but managed to win it in the 11th with an infield single by Alex Rios. Good times. I couldn't ask for more. The Sox won and Strasburg lived up to the hype. Plus, we got free baseball and it still didn't last more than about 3 hours.
We went to the Oval Office bar in the Presidents Club during and after the game, too. It's pretty sweet. And a step up from the PNC Diamond Club. A bit nicer. A bit fancier. And I located a tray of chicken strips that I put a pretty big dent in to dilute my alcohol level. We staggered out of there, and walked all the way to the Capitol Building. From there we grabbed a cab and hit the town to replenish said diluted alcohol content. That story, however, will not be included.
Hat tip on the title to e-gus.
Also, sorry I didn't see your comment Jim. I didn't know you were in DC or I'd have looked you up. I stumbled upon that Sunday.