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Monday, October 12, 2015

Game Day in Washington, DC


It's finally time to do what we came to this town to do.  Oh, all the museums, monuments, and historic sites are nice, but we came to see some baseball.  Tonight will mark the 25th team (and their stadium) we can check off on our list in our goal to see all 30 major league stadiums.

But first, let's talk about food...


So far, we've not been real impressed with the capital culinary options. So much so that I can find no pictures of food from our time here.The only decent food we've have is breakfast at a place called the Uptown Cafe near our hotel in NoMa.  We had another, OK, breakfast at the Constitution Cafe which serves as the cafeteria for one of the government buildings next to our hotel.



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The most memorable lunch we had was not because of the food.  My first trip to Washington, D.C., was 41 years ago when I went on an eighth grade field trip there. We spent the week, with a couple of chaperones, at the Hotel Harrington.

It's lunch time and we happen upon the old hotel, which is celebrating it's 100th year here.


The lobby coffee shop makes a reasonable, decent lunch so we step in for a bite. While the food can be described as adequate, the service is remarkably friendly here.


The host tells us these days, it's mostly European tourists staying there because it's the cheapest option for a clean hotel in the middle of the city. Then he points to a nearby table of French travelers to make his point.


Hunger sated, we return to the hotel to rest up for the night's game.




It takes two rides on the Metro to reach Nationals Park, situated near the Potomac on land being redeveloped out of the Navy Yard. A one block stroll leads you to the left field gates, past a large, open area surrounded by old shipping containers called the Fairgrounds or Bullpen, depending on what sign you're looking at.


It's basically a large, outdoor bar with bands playing on one end, corn hole being played on the other, and drinks served in the middle...a large, permanent tailgate party if you will.  


For now, we'll continue on and go into the stadium where we see lightning bolts coming out of the clouds nearby.




We find our seats by first base readily when an announcement comes over the PA system, "attention fans. Severe weather is headed this way. Take shelter in the concourse. Do not enter the seating bowl." Our seats are just under the overhang of the second deck so we're allowed to stay there and watch the light show coming out of the sky. We are wondering if we will see a game tonight, though.


About a half hour later, it had been awhile since we saw any lightning bolts or heard thunder. The ushers take down their ropes and the fans are allowed to find their seats. The tarp is removed from the field and the pre-game activities begin.




We will see baseball tonight.


The Nats are hosting the Atlanta Braves.  It starts out bad for Atlanta and only gets worse from there. In the meantime, we sample the food and beer. Good kosher dogs, one of the worst regular hot dogs I've ever experienced at a ballpark, decent popcorn, and a nice but expensive beer selection.



The ushers here are fantastic and the view spectacular from our seats.  It's a very comfortable place to watch a ball game.

In the end, even though only one ball left the yard, the Nationals absolutely crushed the Braves by a final score of 15 to 1.



The fans are happy. They are literally dancing in the streets after that victory.

Sensing that the subway would be packed very tight right now, I suggest to Letty and Tim that we check out that tailgate area, the Fairgrounds, before we leave.



There's a light crowd and security checking IDs at the gate to make sure we're over 21 but inside (free admission) it's still party time. 



A cover band plays on the stage, people dancing and mingling, and the beer is cold and cheap.  It's a great way to end the day at this very festive ballpark before we catch the last train back to the hotel.

Darryl
Copyright 2015 - Darryl Musick
All Rights Reserved
Pictures by Letty Musick
Copyright 2015 - All Rights Reserved

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