Friday, January 26, 2007

A Great Hour!!/New Caps For The Nats

The African Queen has heard my praises of New Nationals Manager, Manny Acta. How genuine and friendly, this man truly is. She wanted to meet him. So, since I was off from work today, we headed out to The American Red Cross Blood Donation Center in Merrifield, Virginia. It turned out to be a, better than expected, enjoyable hour.

After locating the facility, on Prosperity Avenue near Lee Highway in Fairfax, we headed inside (Mike O'Connor was arriving at the exact same time as us-we reintroduced ourselves to him), and the place was fairly packed with, not only blood donors, but fans, children and a good amount of festive atmosphere.

The American Red Cross folks could not have been nicer. They welcomed Sohna and I at the front entrance. We told them our plan and how we have a Nats Blog, want to take some pictures. They were thrilled at the attention, willingly inviting us inside.

In attendance at this stop on the Nats Caravan were, not only Acta, Nook Logan and O'Connor, but SCREECH!!, Uncle Slam (The Potomac Nationals Mascot), Radio Voices--Charlie Slowes and Dave Jageler, but, very excitingly--Hall Of Famer and New Nats MASN TV Color Analyst--Don Sutton. Miss Chatter was there and, had already stepped to the plate and was interviewing Sutton for her "Just A Nats Fan" Nationals blog. Miss Chatter & I recognized each other right away--thrilled to see each other. Sutton responded--"another Blogger, another AVID FAN!" "You Better Believe IT!!," I replied. We all laughed.
Today, was the very first time, since the last game of the 2006 season at RFK Stadium, the African Queen had seen her boyfriend SCREECH!! They lovingly embraced.

Miss Chatter finished off her interview. She was kind enough to take a picture of The African Queen and I with Sutton. I returned the favor by shooting her photo with this EXTREMELY NICE HALL OF FAMER!! Sutton was very receptive and pleasant, pleased to be there, and downright thrilled meeting with THE AFRICAN QUEEN. He just loved her name (Sohna) {"How do you spell that name" asked Sutton--"S-O-H-N-A," she replied}, and he kept on repeating it, out loud. The Queen was taken by the man's charisma and charm. They talked for some time. What's really great about their entire chat was, she has no idea who Don Sutton is, what is background and history involves--yet, they hit it off GREAT!! Later, she talked about him all afternoon, while we did the weekend grocery shopping.

You can bet, when this hour was up--Sutton, not only said goodbye to The African Queen, but did so twice ("I love your name," said Sutton)--warmly--lovingly pronouncing her West African Name, hoping to see her again sometime soon. Whether you are a fan, or not of baseball--it was a very warm moment, for both of them.

After reading Washington Post Sports Bog Reporter, Dan Steinberg's, hilarious post about Manny Acta buying a second hand jacket off a fan at a Caravan stop at Safeway in Bowie, Maryland this past Wednesday, I couldn't help but follow up on the rest of the story.

"Manny-what's the story on that jacket you bought off the lady at that Safeway?", I laughed.

Manny laughing, but serious at the same time: "I got RIPPED OFF!! MAN!! It was not worth anything near $35!! (shaking his head back and forth)."

Whereupon Dave Jageler immediately chimed in: "And you know what, not 30 minutes later, we saw another guy wearing the exact same jacket, finding out it was worthless!!" Everybody within earshot breaking up laughing. It was very, very funny. You got to give Manny credit, never in a MILLION YEARS, would Frank Robinson be so much fun and make himself the butt of a joke. He's great!! I REALLY LIKE THIS GUY!!!

While The African Queen was getting her Nats Tee-Shirt Signed (The Long Sleeve White "DC" Logo Giveaway during the final game of 2006) by everyone, I was off with SCREECH has he hammed it up with The Blood Donors. Screech even strapped himself onto a bed to give a blood donation himself. Screaming and Hollering the entire time, Screech finally settled down, so the nurse could draw the liquid/blood/whatever's inside him, from his veins. Not sure if anyone is going to want what was drawn from MY BEST FRIEND!!

Then, Charlie Slowes and I continued our conversation from this past Monday about the new Batting Practice Jersey (Blue with Curly W), replacing the Blue "DC" Logo jersey. Charlie told me, the "DC" Batting Practice Cap, that we have all come to LOVE during the first two seasons of Nats Baseball, has been RETIRED!! The New Batting Practice Cap with be Blue (same breathable material), with a Curly "W". This Curly "W" Batting Practice Cap will sport a new design that all teams of MLB will use. The Side Panels of the Cap will be WHITE, but a half circle (Sort of Like a Sidewall Tire), according to Charlie. I have contacted someone, to see if I might get a sample to show. Its not available yet, to the public.

Not only that, but the RED "DC" Jersey and Cap will be the ONLY USE of the DC Logo in the near future, as the Alternate Jersey. The Curly "W" will be the SIGNATURE LOGO of the Washington Nationals, by far. Charlie and I both remember how, in the spring of 2005, EVERYONE wanted that "DC" Blue with Red Bill Nationals Cap. Now, AMAZINGLY--ITS GONE!! I LOVE THAT CAP! Its a great design. I am sorry to see it go, just like that.

Then, surprisingly, Charlie told me something else: "You know the standard New Era 5950 Caps?" I replied, "Yes, they have been used for, what seems like, forever." "Well," Charlie stated, "They are gone too. I have not actually seen the new one yet, but I understand the design will have a shorter brim to the cap, and a different material to make the cap cooler during the summer." I was really surprised. That 5950 Cap is A BASEBALL STANDARD. Why mess with tradition? A shorter brim will look strange, sort of like Brooks Robinson's Batting Helmet years ago.

As Charlie and I continued to talk, we realized, for the very first time, one of his very best friends, was a high school and summer league baseball teammate of mine at TC Williams High School in Alexandria, Virginia. Charlie called the guy, to surprise him, but only got his answering machine. Too bad, it would have been a fun surprise.

The African Queen and I had a GREAT TIME, just enjoying conversation with folks that were very comfortable with us. We could not thank ALL OF THEM, ENOUGH, for their friendships. As we left, Sohna said to Charlie Slowes: "I'll see you on the radio!!"
Charlie responded "That's Great!! I like that a lot."

Don Sutton said to The African Queen: "Goodbye Sohna--Great Name!! I love that name!!"

Outside the Blood Donor Center, Manny Acta stood, just relaxing alone, while the caravan set up to move on to its next destination. "Manny," I said "would you please quit STALKING ME!!" Acta laughed, "Don't worry, I'm done soon. I am heading home to Florida to be with the family for a little bit. Its the last chance, before Spring Training."

With that, I wished him the very best. Gracious as always, Acta thanked Sohna and I for our continuing support--and we went our separate ways.

As The African Queen and I got into our vehicle to leave, I said to her--"I can only pray, we have this type of access, when the team gets successful!!"


Cathy said...

I can only pray we have this kind of access when the team's successful too. Check out my video - Don Sutton rocks! He was SOOOOO very nice and engaging. I was duly impressed. And it was great to run into the two of you as well!

Cathy said...

And it wasn't an interview, it's a *conversation* ;-) The word interview makes me shake with anxiety!

Farid Rushdi said...

Based on what you've told me in "private" conversations, you better have the 'Queen' doing the praying. There's a better chance that she'd be listened to!!!!


Screech's Best Friend said...


Anonymous said...

Here is the 2007 BP cap.