Saturday, January 12, 2008

Winter Tour--DC Convention Center

As Nationals Radio Broadcaster Charlie Slowes is signing his signature for The African Queen, Our Washington Nationals Team President Stan Kasten yells over to Charlie--"I need to get your autograph too--on paper!!" Everyone laughed. I was smiling. Charlie says: "That's Funny." And, it was. No, its not a done deal yet--but unless there is a drastic turn for the worse--Charlie Slowes should be OFFICIALLY back in the fold, as lead Play-By-Play Radio Man with his partner, Dave Jageler, at New Nationals Park for 2008.

Charlie and Mr. Kasten were appearing alongside Pitcher Jason Bergmann and newly acquired Infielder--Aaron Boone at The WRC TV 4's Annual Health Fair at The DC Convention Center. This Saturday Event, the first stop of the announced Winter Tour over the next few weeks in the Greater Washington Area--before Our Team heads to Viera, Florida for Spring Training. Of Course---My Best Friend!! Screech!!!! was there--always a headliner for us--Jamie from The NatPack--as well as Our Racing Presidents.

Sohna and I had not seen SCREEEEEECH!! since the very last home game of 2007. So we all took time to wish each other Happy New Year!! and catch up over the past few months.

Then, the "Let Teddy Win!!!" Chant was recited---to Teddy's Great Joy--as The Presidents appeared at The Nationals Booth at The Convention Center. As usual, GW gave the thumbs down to Teddy's continued popularity. I have no doubt--if we had really started yelling that "Let Teddy Win!!" Chant--we could have had the entire Floor of The DC Convention Center following suit. A few thousand folks singing that tune--would have been GREAT!! Alas, it didn't happen.

But, Teddy and I did take the opportunity to discuss new strategy for his 2008 Racing Dates at New Nationals Park. Still no idea whether Teddy will be able to stand on the railing in New Section 218--Club Level--like he did in Old Section 320 at RFK--to feel the love. Can Teddy actually even GET TO CLUB LEVEL?? Are the doors not too small?

As for the program itself, Charlie introduced Jason and Aaron to the assembled crowd. Then, both players gave individual skills lessons to a selected group of youngsters. After the participation part of the program ended--Slowes fielded questions from the audience (A Few Hundred Fans In Attendance at any given moment) to be answered by Bergmann, Boone and Mr. Kasten.

During the Question and Answer Session--Mr. Kasten did note that Single Season Game Tickets will go on sale for everyone during the first week of March. Season Ticket Holders will have an opportunity beforehand to select individual games slightly before that date. Even more importantly for Season Ticket Holders--Parking Information will be sent out on Monday to all holders of Season Plans. No ON SITE Parking will be available for Single (Daily) Game Day Ticket Holders--although Mr. Kasten did state--the RFK Free Shuttle will be in effect and is a go--details to come.

After the Q & A--Aaron Boone, Mr. Kasten and Jason Bergmann sat down in The Nationals Booth to sign autographs and take pictures for those fans wishing to participate. Our Washington Nationals provided the Photo Cards for the signatures.

During the signings--The Racing Presidents were standing in front of The Nats Booth taking photos with other fans. At one point, Mr. Kasten glanced up at Teddy running back and forth and stated: "Teddy looks like he's been working out. I can predict a few solid 2nd Place Finishes this coming year!!" Jason Bergmann--sitting to his left signing autographs--cracked up--nodding his head up and down.

Sohna and I always enjoy the family atmosphere of these get togethers. It was fun to see many of our friends again--fellow season ticket holders and fans from RFK Stadium. Every one of them--seemingly excited to head out to New Nationals Park for that first game in March. Yes, I know, the event itself was small in size, but everyone involved on the part of Our Washington Nationals was accessible. Whether it was Mr. Kasten, Charlie Slowes, Jason Bergmann or Aaron Boone--each took the time to speak with the fans in attendance. Screech & The Presidents posed for EVERYBODY. That's nice.

No, there was not much news--but that's not the point. It's an opportunity to see some players in a different light. And maybe--get the chance for a personal conversation about the game. Or in Mr. Kasten's case--ask a question that's on your mind.

Case in point--Charlie Slowes cracked The African Queen and I up when he mentioned--jokingly--that I was his New Campaign Manager--for all my posts on The Nats320 Blog during the past few months--wishing to get him re-signed by the team. It's these small moments--that make attending today's Winter Tour worthwhile, AND FUN, for us.

At the conclusion of today's events, Jason Bergmann and Aaron Boone were each kind enough give me a few minutes of their time. My Chats with Our Number 57 and Our New Number 8--will appear over the next few days--once I get the chance to transcribe them.

PS: Although this idea is not set in stone--it does appear--barring any change--New Nationals Park will feature a Special Curly "W" Pretzel on the Stadium Menu. And not just that dry piece of warmed over bread that Aramark served at RFK Stadium--but a moist, buttery masterpiece that will melt in your mouth. This item, one of the many changes in the works--with Centerplate in charge of concessions on South Capitol Street. Hopefully very soon, Centerplate will be able to sit down and give me a complete rundown of what they have in store. Some remarks given to The African Queen and I today (ideas still being discussed) were very inviting. Really, Centerplate does seem to understand the fans. Sohna and I can't wait to hear their final menu choices.

PSS: Our Washington Nationals were selling the Special New Nationals Park Patch to be worn on the right sleeve of game uniforms during the 2008 Season at The Convention Center this afternoon--$15 per patch. Although I forgot to take a picture of it (I did find a photo of the set at the ballparkguys forum)--Our Team was also selling a Special Three Patch Set for $45. This Set, some of which fans used for autographs today--consisted of The New Nationals Park Patch, Farewell RFK Stadium Patch and New Nationals Uniform Patch--Nicely Packaged.


Brandon said...

Wow. No onsite parking for single-ticket holders? Ugh.

I'm torn about this RFK shuttle thing. On the one hand it seems like it just adds one more layer of logistical complexity toward getting to and from those weeknight games.

On the other hand, it means that tailgating is back on before weekend games!

Brandon said...

Also, will opening night tickets be part of the STH presale? As a 20 game plan STH I don't have tickets to the March 30 game but I plan on getting them. Hopefully even at 20 games I get a leg up over the non-STH masses.

Anonymous said...

How long did it take before Kasten realized that you were there and called security?

Anonymous said...

With your connections, can you mention to Kasten the need for a Multi-site FanFest(not a "tour") next year. One at the New stadium, one indoor at the Patroit Center and a third indoor on Maryland. In 2010 and thereafter, sites can be added in the UVA area and tidewater area. There're good marketing events!

Anonymous said...

MMMMmmm. I'm Homer Simpson. Did you say buttery pretzel???

Anonymous said...

We need a bad guy president in the races. I think it would be great to have Andrew Jackson, James Buchanan, and Martin Van Buren running and cheating along side Abe, George, Teddy, and TJ.

Anonymous said...

Well for a bad guy president I'd say W fits the bill.

An Briosca Mor said...

"Also, will opening night tickets be part of the STH presale? As a 20 game plan STH I don't have tickets to the March 30 game but I plan on getting them. Hopefully even at 20 games I get a leg up over the non-STH masses."

Since it looks like SBF won't be getting to your question, let me jump in to say that this is the way it worked last year. As a 20-game STH I was able to buy an opening day ticket when they did the STH presale, which was only a couple of days head start over the opening of single game ticket sales to the general public. Last year what they did was send STH an e-mail with details and password on how to buy tickets online as of the specified starting date and time. I presume that will be how they do it again this year. Although last year getting opening day tix was easy for anyone who wanted them, this year it will obviously not be so easy. I would advise not dilly-dallying once you get the login info. Hop online on the first day right at the starting time and hopefully you will be able to snag a ticket - but not before I get mine!

Screech's Best Friend said...

Sorry for being late to the conversation on tickets--but Sohna and I have been traveling out of town for some time. Yes, EVERYONE that is a Season Ticket Holder--whether you have a Full Season Plan or Partial Plan--will have equal opportunity to purchase Opening Night tickets. At least, that is my understanding.

Anonymous said...

I count Lincoln as a bad guy president. "What country can preserve its liberties if its rulers are not warned from time to time that their people preserve the spirit of resistance? Let them take arms." -- Thomas Jefferson

Oxhead said...

Teddy is the perfect bad guy president. It is a known fact that he hated baseball. I say, let him always lose.