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The Nationals Park Tour

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Happy Easter from The Booth!

It’s Easter Sunday as I write the latest VFB, a day that means hope and renewal for many. For baseball fans, this time of year also fills us with hope that “this could be our year,” no matter who we root for. Everyone is undefeated on Opening Day. But remember, the long baseball season is a marathon, not a sprint, and the best teams are the ones who can show consistency, stay injury-free, and weather the occasional losing streaks over a 162-game schedule. The cream usually rises to the top, but right now most of us are saying, “why not us?”

The baseball season usually begins in February with the arrival of pitchers and catchers to Spring training. It began in earnest for me this past Monday with the Media Day tour of Nationals Park. I’ve never taken part in this event before, but this year I, along with my sports broadcasting partner and fellow Sports Dog, Ryan Rutherford, decided to head to DC and take the ballpark tour.

Walking out on the lower concourse and seeing the immaculate outfield grass and perfectly smooth infield took me back to my very first major league game at old RFK Stadium, where my beloved Senators played in the late 60s through early 70’s. The sound of the baseball smacking into leather, the sight of the bright green turf, and the smell of ballpark food were all part of a sensory overload on the sunny but cool late-March morning.

The tour started out with the Nats showing off their upgraded high-resolution scoreboard. This year, even on the brightest sunny day, fans will have no problem seeing the scoreboard, and there will be newly-added hitting charts and info to add to the fan experience. Along with the improved scoreboard, there is also a new LED light display, complete with red, white, and blue lights which I can’t wait to see at a Nationals’ night game.

We were then taken through the various nooks and crannies of the stadium, where we heard from several Nationals’ officials about ticket plans, souveniers, special promotional days, and such. But the best part of the Media Day tour was saved for last–the food. The Nats have added some new ballpark concessions this year along with the tried and true favorites, and we had the pleasure of sampling some of those (think of Costco on steroids) on Monday.

I especially enjoyed the shrimp tacos and crabcake sliders. The Korean hot dogs were interesting, as were thre calamari rings. However, when I take in a game or two this season, I will probably revert to my favorite ballpark snack–peanuts in the shell.

All in all, a great day, and many thanks to the Washington Nationals for their hospitality. Now, if we can just speed that rebuild up a bit…

Until the next visit from The Booth, GO NATS!



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