Saturday, July 22, 2006
Great Night All AROUND!!
Tonight's Grand Re-Opening was a tremendous amount of fun. From the time, Sohna and I stepped off the Metro at Stadium-Armory Station you could feel a different energy from fans heading to the Nats/Cubs Game at RFK. As we walked to the Stadium, we came across the RED CARPET outside the main entrance, all the way up to the turnstiles. A Curly "W" flower bed had been laid out at the main gate were the Redskins Painted Helmets sat for many years. Nats/DC United Banners were on every lightpost. We noticed Austin Kearns, Ryan Zimmerman and Frank Robinson shaking hands at the front entrance, just to the left of the Team Store. I introduced myself to Kearns and welcomed him to Washington. And told him that DC is a FABULOUS TOWN, give us a chance, you will like it and the fans too. Austin said that he's getting more comfortable everyday and sees the excitement here. Sohna and I then turned around to meet Ryan Zimmerman. He was sooooo nice. Asked our names, shook hands and then took a terrific picture with Sohna. Frank was next. He gave Sohna a huge hug, then Sohna asked how his wife, Rachel, and daughter, Sharon (Section 320 Favorites) were doing. Frank got a big grin on his face and said they are doing great, but were back in LA right now. I mentioned to Frank that we were part of the Section 320 Noise Boys that his wife sits with at times and whether he hears us. Frank grabs my shoulder and says--"DO I EVER!! KEEP IT UP!! He then laughed and thanked us again.
FRANK LOVING SECTION 320!!! MADE MY NIGHT!! We then picked up our Red Curly W caps and headed inside the stadium.
Sohna and I then headed up to the New Food Court. It was crowded, but managable. In the center was a Margarita Bar. $9 frozen, plus $4 for a Grand Marnier floater. We had one apiece. To their credit, it actually had alcohol in them. They were good. Hard Times Cafe served up 3 different chilis, and a plate of Nachos far better than the Aramark crap. A.R had Catfish and Crabcake Platters (both large servings), Q Barbecue served up some nice looking Brisket and a company called Clucky Chicken had Wings and Breast pieces.
As we headed to our seats, we ran into The Chief, Chad Cordero, greeting fans at Gate F. We stopped, talked briefly, but the handlers would not allow us to take pictures with him for some reason. Mark Lerner was there and we met him, also.
Once we got to our seats, a Marine Band was playing behind home plate, and a large military group unveiled a GIGANTIC American Flag on the field for the playing of God Bless America and The National Anthem. Screech'sBestFriend was visited by fellow blogger, Eddie Cunningham, introduced himself, took a picture. Was a pleasure to meet him. Thanks for stopping by
The game proceeded and the over 35,000 was in it from the start. Soriano got hit by pitch leading off the bottom of the 1st and would end up scoring on a wild pitch by Mark Prior. Aramis Ramirez would get that run back on the first pitch of the second inning by blasting a shot down the left field line into the upper deck on the first pitch by Pedro Astacio. But, the Nats would come back in the bottom of the 2nd. Kearns singled into the hole at short. Schneider forced him at second, but Felipe Lopez would slice a double down the left field line putting runners on 2nd and 3rd. Astacio would be hit by pitch loading the bases. But, Soriano would K swinging at EVERYTHING!! Marlon Anderson comes up and immediately gets into an 0-2 hole, takes a close ball one, then Prior tries to place one over the outside corner and Anderson drills it into the leftcenterfield gap for bases clearing double. 4-1 Nats. And the STADIUM WAS ROCKING!! The Cubs would come back with a manufactured run from Ronny Cedeno on a sacrifice fly to right by Juan Pierre that Kearns made a near perfect throw that Schneider could not handle. Cedeno should have been out. John Mabry hit a solo homer in the 4th for Chicago to make it 4-3 Nats.
At the end of the 4th, the NEW PRESIDENTS RACE took place. Like the Milwaukee Sausage Race, this race consisted of GIGANTIC HEADS of Washington, Lincoln, Roosevelt and Jefferson. The 4 came out of the gate down the right field line, near the Nats bullpen and race to the finish line just on the other side of the visitors dugout, near homeplate. Washington Won. And, it was a nice sight to see. Everyone was into it.
In the bottom of the 6th, SayHeyKlib was chosen by the NatPack to play "Lets Make A Deal" Standing on the Nats Dugout. He could take the Nats Jersey or what was in Box Number 1 or Box Number 2. SayHey chose Box Number 1 and was rewarded with 4 ROUNDTRIP AIRFARES ANYWHERE ON SOUTHWEST AIRLINES!!! Section 320 went Nuts, and SayHey thanked the 320 Faithful on the microphone standing on the dugout. Later, one of the NatPack guys came up and gave to MickNats what was in Box Number 2---Chad Cordero GAME WORN SOCKS!! I am not kidding. Very Funny.
Astacio got through the 6th and one out in the 7th when Frank took him out. Stanton came in and immediately gives up a double to Pierre. He steals 3rd and Stanton gets Todd Walker for out number 2 but Pierre scores to tie the game at 4. Frank does his over managing manuver and brings in Kevin Gryboski. Gryboski gives up a single to Michael Barrett and then the game changing CRUSHING BOMB HOME RUN by Aramis Ramirez (AGAIN) into Section 448 to give the Cubs a 6-4 lead. The Nats would load up the bases with 1 out in the bottom of the 7th, but, per their usual style, do not score when Matos weakly pops to first, after being ahead 2-0 in the count and Lopez lines out to right.
But--in the 8th, the game would change once again. With one out, Soriano would hit a badly broken bat slicer to center for a single. Marlon Anderson followed with a single. Soriano to second. Soriano would then steal 3rd, while Anderson was sleeping at first. 1st and 3rd, 1 out now. Zimmerman pops down the right field line, Todd Walker chases it down in foul territory, but Soriano, running all the way, scores easily. Nick Johnson comes up and, with 2 strikes hits a duck snort blooper just out of reach of everybody behind 2nd for a single. Anderson to 3rd on the play. Alex Escobar comes up, and rips a serious line drive down the left field line off Howry. Cubs leftfielder, Matt Murton has trouble picking it up. And Tony Beasley sends Nick Johnson home. Nick stumbles badly, but the relay throw is up the first base line and the Nats take the lead 7-6. And, the STADIUM WENT NUTS!! It was extremely LOUD!! Fans were on their FEET SCREAMING!! Unfortunately, Escobar, the hero of the moment, pulled up lame rounding first base and had to leave the game. Listed as a mild hamstring. Day to Day. This guy is good, but his injuries are maddening!! HOPE HE'S OK. Alex is really helping, big time!
The Chief then came on to actually pull a 1-2-3 Ninth Inning for his 15th save. Sending the faithful home happy.
There was alot of excitement in the Park tonight. There was always something going on. Much more music set to the pace and action of the game. We loved the PRESIDENTS BIG HEAD RACE. It was very nice. Sohna and I are going to check out the other amenities throughout the weekend. Tonight was a good start for the new ownership. The Nats won. We do need pitching though. We had alot of fun!!