Monday, July 12, 2010

The 2010 Picnic In The Park

Before the Saturday 7:05PM start versus The San Francisco Giants on July 10th, Our Washington Nationals held what's become an annual event at Nationals Park--The Picnic In The Park. Using a specially marked ticket provided in the 2010 Season Ticket Booklet, Season Tickets Holders were invited to enter the South Capitol Street Ballpark beginning at 12 Noon. Until 3:30 PM, Nationals Fans were given the opportunity to take pictures with players and coaches, get in line for autographs, attend Q & A Sessions with broadcasters and baseball management, visit both the visitors and home dugouts, The Lexus Presidents Club or just hang out with your kids at The Family Fun Zone where all games were free.

With rain falling for most of the afternoon, the opportunity to throw a pitch in the bullpen was canceled. And overall fan turnout didn't seem that large. Although the autograph line was pretty long, especially when Stephen Strasburg began to sign at 12:30. We heard later, just the first 100 folks in line were guaranteed an autograph from Our Number 37.

The African Queen and I stuck with the picture taking with players and coaches. Autographs are not really our thing. The photo lines were considerably shorter in comparison to the signing line. So we had no problem taking pictures with Our Manager Jim Riggleman, his coaches (John McLaren, Pat Listach, Jim Lett & Dan Radison) and nine players (Ryan Zimmerman, Roger Bernadina, Michael Morse, Alberto Gonzalez, Wil Nieves, Luis Atilano, Joel Peralta, Miguel Batista and Drew Storen.

As far as we know, those players & coaches that took pictures with fans, did not sign autographs. Adam Dunn, Josh Wlllingham, Stephen Strasburg, Matt Capps, Ian Desmond and Pudge Rodriguez only working the signature lines.

We took advantage of the opportunity to visit the home dugout, but did not attend any of the Q & A Sessions held in The Red Porch or PNC Diamond Club. Dave Jageler, Charlie Slowes, Bob Carpenter and Phil Wood played hosts. Team President Stan Kasten, Our GM Mike Rizzo, Jim Riggleman and Rob Dibble were some of the guests.

Each fan was given a voucher upon entering to receive a free hot dog, soda and chips at select Nats Dog Stands on the main concourse. Sohna and I had to laugh though when we went to use our vouchers at the Nats Dog Stand near Section 143 and the Photo Station and was told by the concession folks they were out of hot dogs. The time was 1:35PM with two more hours of The Picnic In The Park still to go. We eventually picked up the snack from another Nats Dog Stand.

A couple of fans mentioned to us that they wished Our Washington Nationals had broken up the autograph lines into two sub-divisions with players sitting at two different stations. With the signing line long, working through the line fully in each 30 minute session was difficult to accomplish. Spliting up the players, these fans felt, would have given everyone a better opportunity to at least get an autograph or two during each of the four sessions staged during the afternoon.

Sohna and I enjoy attending these type of events. And from the faces of those pictured here, many felt the same way about The 2010 Picnic In The Park.

And finally--Odd But True: Throughout the afternoon, the public address system announced raffle numbers for special door prizes. Each fan was given a blue raffle ticket with numbers stapled to their meal voucher and the road map of the day's events upon entering the ballpark. Prizes included throwing out the first pitch on July 10th and signed jerseys from Drew Storen, Cristian Guzman and Ryan Zimmerman. We kept checking our tickets for winners as they were announced and shown on every television screen in the park. But few others apparently did. Not a single person answered the calls. No one claimed a single door prize--incredibly.

All Photos Copyrighted--Nats320--All Rights Reserved


paul said...

My first hot dog in 22.5 years! (Yes, I'm a Communist.)

I loved the dugout view; did you catch the scouting reports on where to play the Giants defensively posted in the Nats' dugout?

I especially liked how much fun the the three amigos--Nieves, Batista, and Gonzalez--were having. Miguel Batista seems like a really good guy and strikes me as someone who could do a lot of things when his playing days are through--coach or maybe go into politics.

My only regret was the event perhaps sapped some energy out of the team. If our favorite blogger was fatigued, so must have been the players!

Screech's Best Friend said...

Paul: You just nailed Miguel Batista perfectly. He was our host at the 2010 Dream Foundation Gala. He's well versed in all subject matters. And loves a good discussion about sport or politics. In fact, that evening, all of us had a great conversation about the Arizona Immigration Law. Sohna believes Miguel Batista is a scholar of not only baseball, but life itself. Really a wonderful person to get to know a little bit.

Screech's Best Friend said...

And Miguel Batista has this wonderful sense of humor.