On April 28, 2013, for the second weekend in a row, we headed to a certain MLB ball game because Kellan had yet to see the visiting team play a game. This time, the venue was Nationals Park and the team checked off of Kellan’s “must see” list was the Cincinnati Reds.
I wasn’t happy to find out that our overpriced parking lot went up yet another $5 over the offseason (booo!), but I was happy to pull into the same parking spot we park in at all of our Nationals home games.
While walking toward the ballpark, we noticed that the Nats replaced the big photo on the back of the scoreboard. Tim recreated Bryce Harper’s jump in the new photo:
By the way, because we were super busy the day before (we usually go to Saturday night games), our only option was to go to this 1:35 Sunday game. Still, we arrived before the gates opened because the Nats always seem to have BP when we have attended 1:35 Sunday games. And this day was no different. Plus, as a bonus, it was kids run the bases day. And, as a double bonus, we planned to tour around the DC monuments after the game.
Tim had to use the restroom as we approached the stadium…
…(can you see us in that big metallic baseball?), so we headed into the Nats’ Team Store for a quick pit stop. We’d never been in there before so I’d never seen this big wall of red and white baseballs making a curly Nats “W.”
We had a bit of a wait until the gates opened and we passed the time by playing catch:
I don’t think we have ever made it to Nats Park, which is 2.5 hours from our house, before the gates opened. So we got a picture of Tim standing in front of the gate while the ushers prepared to open up:
Once the gates opened, we headed over to the section above the visitors’ bullpen. The Nats pitchers were warming up in RF and batters were getting ready for BP. In the LF grass, Bronson Arroyo was playing catch with the Reds bullpen catcher. Eventually, he wandered into the bullpen and threw a bullpen session…
…and we watched him.
While Bronson was throwing, former Mariners pitching coach Brian Price came out to watch and chat with Bronson:
Price oversaw a stellar Mariners rotation during the most successful days of the organization, the Lou Piniella years. When I saw him, I shouted out a greeting and pointed to my M’s jersey.
After Arroyo finished his session, he tossed his ball up to Tim:
As the crew started clearing out, I had a quick chat with Price. I told him to come back to Seattle, and he said something like “maybe I will some day!” And I said, “And bring Lou with you!” But he was pretty sure that Sweet Lou is retired for good from managing. Brian was super friendly and seemed very happy to chat up some Mariners fans for a bit. Just after he left, we realized we should have asked him to sign the Arroyo’s warm up ball. But it was too late, the whole crew headed out of the bullpen and headed to the dugout.
He hung out in LF a while longer as BP started up. Eventually, we decided to head over to the seats in RCF. Zach Duke was running all over shagging balls out there:
Eventually, Duke ran back and caught a high pop fly on the warning track in straight away CF. When he looked over toward RF, we called out his name and I flashed him my glove. In response, Duke (apparently thinking I was made out of glass or some other delicate material) softly tossed the baseball short and way to our right and right into the storage area in CF. Many players would have shrugged their shoulders and headed back to shagging fly balls. But Duke walked all the way to the back of the storage area and retrieved the ball and tossed it to us again. I was thinking about this and I would be this is the first baseball we’ve ever caught at a MLB game where the player tossed the ball toward the field of play for us to catch.
We promptly headed over to the corner spot above the RCF end of the Nats’ bullpen:
But right as that happened, all of the Nationals with the exception of Zach Duke cleared the field. We just hung out there for a while and watched Duke play catch with the Nats bullpen catcher.
Soon’ish, the Reds headed out to LF to begin their team stretching routine. We were at the ballpark to see the Reds, so we headed back over to LF. When we arrived in LF, this was the scene:
Once the rest of the stadium opened up at 12:00 (or maybe 12:05), we headed down to the corner spot where we had a great view of Aroldis “Fireball” Chapman:
That guy is pretty impressive!
As we watched Chapman play catch, the Reds started hitting. We were right at the OF end of a big net that protects several sections of seats along the foul line. So when a Reds batter smacked a hard grounder down the line, it carried along the netting and rolled right to me. Kellan grabbed a seat to inspect his new baseball:
Now check out something crazy captured in the following two-part photo:
Chapman starting playing looooooong toss with is partner. Above to the left, Chapman is the guy standing right in front of the “G” in Geico on the RF wall. As shown on the right, from that extreme distance, Chapman still managed to toss a ball so hard that he got it past his partner on the LF foul line. He essentially threw the ball into the protective net.
It was mighty impressive!
After we got one more baseball in the corner spot, we repositioned, and then I took a photo of where we had been standing:
See the guy in the red shirt right behind the pole (he has his glove hand on the green railing and his other hand in his pocket)? That’s right where I’d been standing earlier with Tim just to my left (in the corner) and Kellan either sitting behind me or standing in front of me.
At one point before we moved from that spot, a Reds batter hit a TOWERING pop up in our direction. I didn’t think it was going to reach us, but it just kept carrying and carrying.
Kellan was standing right in front of me along the railing. I put my throwing hand on top of his head so I would know exactly where he was standing while tracking the ball. I then leaned out toward the field and made the catch on the fly. I’m pretty sure it is the highest pop up I’ve ever caught, and it stung my palm pretty good.
After catching the pop up, we moved down the line to watch Johnny Cueto throw through the net:
That is a whole lot of hair in that hat!
Cueto was throwing hard and wild. He sailed several balls over his partner’s head and into the net. I had to keep warning Tim to sit back from the net because I thought he was going to get smacked in the face through the net. Luckily, it never happened.
Toward the end of BP, we headed back to the corner spot in RF…
…where two unidentified Reds were shagging balls. We used my trusty old camera zoom to read their names off of their gloves. It was J.J. Hoover and Logan Ondrusek. Eventually, Ondrusek fielded a ball right in front of us on the track and tossed it up to Tim for our final ball of the day.
And, with that, it was off to the kids’ play area for us!
It’s great with Kellan being big enough to climb all around in the kids’ play areas there days. Tim’s a great big brother in the play areas. He sticks right with Kellan and makes sure that he has lots of fun and doesn’t get trampled by the bigger kids.
Here they go up one of the climbing areas:
They poked their heads out of baseball sphere to give a wave to my camera:
And here’s a short video clip of the cutest moment of the day:
After a thorough play session, we busted out of the kids’ play area just in time for first pitch:
An usher was standing nearby and I asked her to take a family photo of us. He was very nice to accommodate the request, but it seems she might never have used a digital camera before. Her first two pictures were close ups of Tim’s elbow and hands. It took her the first two batters of the game, but she finally got a couple good shots, including this one:
It was lunch time and we had the best nachos in MLB on our mind. He headed to LF to grab ‘em, but we got side tracked when we saw this:
I’m a bit confused about this thing. I don’t remember seeing it last season. But the Nats have a new president on the team this season…so I’m not sure…but it seems new. And Tim and Kellan liked it so that’s all that counts.
They also enjoyed playing catch off of this wall:
This would be a recurring theme throughout the day.
Finally, we grabbed our nachos and headed to the upper deck down the LF line:
Check out our view of the U.S. Capitol Building behind us (right above Tim’s head). Pretty cool, eh?
There are a couple rows of picnic tables up there and we were in the last row. You couldn’t really see much of the action on the field from our table. But stepping a few feet over, we had a nice view of Bryce Harper…
…preparing to ground out to end the bottom of the first inning. Reds rookie pitcher, Tony Cingrani, was on the hill and he was *on* during this game. In six innings, he struck out 11 Nationals.
Oh, yeah, I should mention that the Reds scored 2 runs in the top of the first.
And the Reds tacked on another run in the second, in part due to this fielding miscue by Nats second basemen Danny Espinosa:
At the time, Cigrani had singled and was on 1B. Shin-Soo Choo followed with what should have been an easy ground out to 3B. Anthony Rendon fielded the ball and threw the ball to Danny Espinosa who booted the ball. After a walk to Zack Cozart, Joey Votto singled home Cingrani.
3-0 Reds after two innings.
We decided it was time for some ice cream. We walked across the concourse from LF to around 1B. On the walk, we got a Nationals Park bonus photo of the boys for the MyGameBalls.com photo scavenger hunt:
Do you see that little foam baseball in Tim’s left hand? An usher or some stadium employee gave that to Tim just before the game started. That’s what Tim was throwing against the wall in the photo above. He eventually lost that ball when it bounced off the wall and rolled completely out of the stadium, which was pretty upsetting to Tim.
The boys’ ice cream eating…
…went somewhat hilariously. Day games are tough for us because Kellan usually naps in the afternoons. During this game, Kellan actually fell asleep mid-ice cream eating.
By the way, here was our view of the game while Tim ate his ice cream:
After Tim finished his ice cream, we headed back to the little covered nook where the boys had previously been throwing the ball against the wall. Tim made another 100 or so throws while I sat holding sleeping Kellan and watched the game.
While we were over there, the Presidents showed up and we got a photo with them (completely with a totally conked out Kellan):
I have no clue who the new President in the middle is supposed to be.
Once Kellan finally woke up, we headed back toward the field. I wanted to see Joey Votto bat. Unfortunately (unbeknownst to us), it had started raining while Tim was playing catch with the wall. It wasn’t a lot of rain. But the fans flooded the concourse. We had to peak around multiple heads to get a distorted glimpse of Votto striking out:
By the way, by this point, it was 4-0 Reds.
The concourses were terrible so we headed back toward the outfield. On our walk we saw something cool:
A Griffey jersey. I’m only a fan of the Mariners, but I have a soft spot in my heart for the Reds because I watched tons and tons of Reds games during Griff’s tenure with the Reds.
We essentially walked around and around and around the ballpark aimlessly because it was too crowded everywhere in the concourses and rainy in the seats. As we passed by the 3B side of the concourse again, we saw something unfortunate:
Kids’ run the bases was cancelled due to rain. I think it was a premature call, but in the end we were fine with it.
We headed up to the second deck in RF for a bit. Here was our view from section 239:
We had never sat up there before during a game. It’s pretty nice. I liked it.
While we sat in the upper deck, probably for no more than 1 inning, Tim filled out an All-Star ballot, something he always enjoys doing. I had to take a picture because this ballot was awesome:
In case you can’t tell, here are the highlights of Tim’s ballot:
AL 1B – Justin Smoak
AL 2B – Dustin Ackley
AL SS – Brendan Ryan
AL 3B – Kyle Seager (oops…Tim accidentally made a huge hole when punching Seager’s name).
AL C – Jesus Montero
AL DH – Kendrys Morales
AL OF – Michael Morse, Michael Saunders and Ichiro (still Tim’s favorite player despite his unfortunate status as a member of the Yankees).
NL 1B, SS, 3B, C, P – No vote
NL 2B – accidental vote for Dustin Solano because he originally thought it said he played for the Mariners. Tim crossed out Solano’s name after realizing he had voted for a Marlin.
Name – Timothy Cook
City – Pencillvanya
Email Address – Mariners
Favorite Team – X√√√√√√√√√√√√√√√√√√
All-Star Write In Votes – Timothy, Timothy
Late in the game, we sat in section 135 (the section where our actual ticketed seats were located). Here was our view of Bryce Harper’s at bat in the eighth:
He eventually walked and later scored on a double by Ian Desmond. That made the score 5-2 Reds after 8 innings.
Here are our two views from the spots we sat in during the late innings:
And here some random shots of Brandon “Dat Dude” Phillips:
With the Reds up 3-runs heading into the bottom of the ninth, we were treated to a save by Aroldis Chapman…
…and his 100 M.P.H. heater!
Instead of Kids’ Run The Bases (which would have been fun too), we ran all over Washington, D.C. after the game.
We parked two blocks behind the Capitol Building and made our first stop at the U.S. Supreme Court:
This was both boys’ first visit to the Supreme Court. The last time I was here was on my mom’s birthday in 2009 when I was admitted to the Bar of the Supreme Court by Chief Justice Roberts and most of the other members of the Court.
Interestingly, in that picture of the Court above, what you are really seeing is *picture* of the Supreme Court hanging from the scaffolding that is currently encasing the entire Supreme Court building.
Next, we headed across the street to the U.S. Capitol Building:
In the bottom right photo above, Tim is catching a fly ball on the lawn of the Capitol Building (the ball is just above to the right of the rotunda).
Kellan was on my shoulders for all of those Capitol Building photos. He didn’t want to come down for a photo. But he did give me a smile from up top:
We decided to walk around the reflecting pond and a nice pair of tourists from New Jersey took our photo on the far side:
And then I took a shot of the boys walking:
Kellan was loving the walk. We had to hustle just to keep up with him. It was super cute at one point when we were back up to the Capitol lawn and the boys were racing and Kellan told me, “This is so much fun!” (That doesn’t read as cute of funny, but he’s got a hilariously cute little voice).
From the front of the Capitol Building, we got a photo of the boys with the Washington Monument in the distance:
We walked back to the car and headed off toward 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue:
The boys were excited to see Barack Obama’s house. They made some funny faces while sitting on the base of the front fence:
And then we finished off our little tour at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial:
I’d never seen the MLK Memorial. It is really cool. I highly recommend it. As you can see above, there is a big *mountain* in the background. The middle section of the mountain is pulled forward and MLK is carved into the front of it. On the side of the MLK statue, the rock says “From a mountain of despair, a stone of hope” or something along those lines. On either side of the mountain, walls extend about 50 yards and they have a number of MLK quotes engraved on them.
Pretty cool. Check it out.
And that was our day. A great day of baseball and sight-seeing.
2013 C&S Fan Stats
9 Teams – Royals, Phillies, Red Sox, Rays, Orioles, Yankees, Dodgers, Reds, Nationals
9 Ice Cream Helmet – Phillies (jumbo), Red Sox 2, Yankees 2, Orioles 2, Nationals 2
18 Baseballs – Royals 4, Phillies 3, Rays 2, Orioles 1, Dodgers 1, Umpires 2, Reds 4, Nationals 1
5 Stadium – Citizens Bank Park, Fenway Park, Yankee Stadium, Camden Yards, Nationals Park
11 Player Pictures – Daniel Nava, Alex Wilson, Andrew Bailey, Pedro Ciriaco, Mike Carp, Koji Uehara, Will Middlebrooks, Joel Hanrahan, Jonny Gomes, Alfredo Aceves, Clayton Mortensen
1 Autograph – Ryan Hanigan