Saturday, November 18, 2006
Catching Up With Screech
I was pleased to read that Our Washington Nationals are opening up 2 new Team Stores in the Washington, DC area. The One and only Team Store, at RFK Stadium, is a bit out of the way, both during the normal business day, and even on non-game weekends. With the new outlets at White Flint Mall in Rockville, Maryland and the second at The Washington Square Office/Retail Complex at 1050 Connecticut Ave. NW (Conn. & L Streets), The Nationals need to add one to Northern Virginia to complete the trifecta and grow from there. Not surprisingly, both new stores are on properties owned by The Nats Ownership, The Lerners.
In fact, the Downtown DC location is right across Farragut Square from The Orioles Team Store that no one apparently shops, since the former Montreal Expos moved to our Nation's Capitol in 2005. That Orioles Store will close its doors, forever, very soon. The Washington Square Nats Store with open this Wednesday, the day before Thanksgiving. The opening of additional new Team Stores, is, yet, another sign that Our Washington Nationals are becoming an entity all their own, and away from the vagabond days of MLB Ownership.
The first of the new stores opened at White Flint, near Bloomingdales on the Second Level of the Mall, yesterday. The African Queen and I were out on Saturday, like just about everyone else in America, getting prepared for the Thanksgiving Feast. The Queen can cook like no other, and we needed to load up on the goodies. As it turned out, we had to pick up something in Rockville, and since Screech and The Racing Presidents were posting up at the White Flint Store to promote the Grand Opening, we just couldn't pass up the opportunity to see MY BEST FRIEND.
As we walked into White Flint, near Bloomingdales on the first level, no Team Store was in site, but, once we looked up, to the next level, lo and behold, there was George Washington standing tall against the upper railing, and we knew we had found the spot. GW recognized us right away as The Section 320's--shaking our hands and inviting us into the Team Store. Screech, at first, was nowhere to be found--apparently off on one of those personal breaks. Then, Tom, from the NatPack came out from the back of the store--pleased to see us. Tom, a favorite of the Section 320 faithful. Later, NatPacker Kenny would join the conversation.
Finally, Screech returned, coming out to greet a young lady visitor. That youngster shyly backing away from Screech as he approached her for a hug. As Screech turned to pickup and autograph a picture for the girl, he took a double take--seeing both The African Queen and I standing there, for the first time--stunned that we made the effort to visit. Screech going into tears, the belly wobble, and the big hugs began--then the pictures--then the catching up on whats been going on during the off season.
5 employees were working the store, 2 lovely young ladies and 3 other, older adults. The Young Ladies were getting a total kick out of the pantomime conversation Screech was having with our audible questions/answers. The Adults looked at us like we were CRAZY!! SCREEEEEEEEECH!!!!, I yelled out, at one point, in the Team Store--I thought the older employees were going to die!!--Screech took in the love, and everybody else got a kick out of it. The conversation went on for about 20 minutes. GW and Abe Lincoln hung out for pictures, then the young lovelies took Screech out for a stroll around the Mall. Sohna and I took the opportunity to chat with Tom and Kenny.
As Screech returned, we said our goodbyes--having to finish off the shopping. Screech telling us that he may well be at the Washington Square Opening on Wednesday afternoon. If work doesn't tie us up, we told him, we would make the effort to attend. Screech giving up the goodbye hugs, waves and gestures--and we were off.
Laughing as we exited Bloomingdales, heading to our car, Sohna and I came across THE SCREECH MOBILE--parked just outside the door. It was just too good. The only thing missing was SCREECH. To have a picture of me driving His Best Friend around would be fabulous. But, we were fortunate enough to get access to the vehicle and snap off some shots. We were told that, now since The Racing Presidents were traveling around with Screech for Public Appearances--The Screech Mobile might be retired for a much larger vehicle. But, we are hoping The Nationals keep this car too, because Screech still needs something to drive around the Warning Track at RFK, before games.
It was good catching up with Screech, Tom & Kenny from The NatPack--My Best Friend thrilled to hear about a Special Christmas/Holiday Gift coming, not only to Section 320's, from us, but also, to Screech and some fortunate others. The African Queen and I were pleased to see a few of our RFK Stadium friends again--reminding both of us, how much we miss attending games at RFK during the off season.