Bryce Harper, Susan’s ST trip MVP, rounds the bases after a HR
Here’s a recap of the Nats weekend ST games from Susan, a first timer. She shared her first day’s experience with us already earlier.
We’d like to thanks Susan for taking some time out of her vacation to share with us her experience!
A couple of my takeaways from reading her stuff:
-Spring training is obviously more about the atmosphere and interactions than the actual games. It just seems like everybody is more laid back and having more fun.
-It’s not always easy to see players up close and get autographs! It sounds like you need to experience it at least once and learn the tricks of the trade a little bit.
-Overall, it’s an experience (as she mentions below) that every fan should experience. There are 81 home games a year, but it sounds like none are quite like going down to Florida for a few ST games. I can’t wait to get down there myself.
Susan’s weekend in review:
A Not So Great Day (Friday, March 7th)
Despite waking up to another day of blue skies and warm sun (with a chilly start again), the day did not go at all like I hoped it would.
After taking a relaxing stroll on the beach I left early to get to Space Coast Stadium early to see if I could get some autographs before the Nats played the Cards.
First of all, I thought the stadium doors opened at 11am- I was wrong, they opened at 11:30. When I did get there, it was only the Cardinals taking BP. No Nats came out early, not even to play catch in the OF. That was a BIG disappointment. I was hoping to get some more autographs today, but unfortunately it was not to be.
On to the game…well, Jordan Zimmermann had a pretty rough outing. For some reason when I see him pitch live he never does well. Today was the worst I’ve seen him, though. It was kind of opposite of Friday- instead of not being able to hit, it was the pitching that was terrible for the Nats.
Very quickly it was 8-0 and apparent that it wouldn’t be the Nats day. I did enjoy watching Harper tear around the bases on his RBI triple. He’s just so fun to watch run the bases when he goes all out! And Zimmerman got an RBI and Ramos got a couple of hits, which was also nice to see.
One thing is certain though: I do not want to see Nathan Karns in a Nationals uniform come April. He was really, really bad today.
Fortunately, I had good company today in a friend who drove up from the Miami area to watch the game with me. Also, while we were literally surrounded by Cards fans, some of them were very entertaining. There was the guy behind me who caught a foul ball and then THREW IT BACK ON THE FIELD. Why? it was “only a foul ball”.
Then there were the guys that were betting on EVERYTHING. They were funny about it. I watched one guy lose money on a bet about a broken bat happening. I think he also won money on the grand slam by the Cardinals because at the beginning of that inning he commented on no HR’s happening and he thought one would happen that inning. So listening and interacting with some of the other fans, even fans of the opposing team, was actually quite fun.
Finally, I’m glad I stayed to the ninth. It was 16-3 and seemed like the it would be a quick end to a long game..but nope! The Nationals rallied to score 7 runs in the inning to make it look at least close at the end, 16-10.
Ironically the Nats only hit two home runs today, but both were hit by the guys I got autographs from: Micah Owings and Zack Walters- so that was fun to see.
Overall, a somewhat disappointing day in some ways, yet fun and relaxing in others. And I did enjoy watching Werth interact with the RF fans.
The Last Game (Saturday, March 8th)
So after watching the Nats lose their first two games to Houston and St. Louis, I was more than ready to see a victory (even though I know its early spring training and the games don’t mean anything).
Today it was the Marlins. I got there early, but I knew I would be meeting up with some people I knew from twitter that I had seen the day before at the St. Louis game.
As I thought would happen, when I got there Marlins were taking BP and no Nats players were in sight. I figured I’d have to wait until after the game and hoped I could find someone to tell me where people go.
Anyway, it turned out to be a great game. Lots of hitting. The pitching wasn’t great, but the starter Chris Young was filling in for Ross Detwiler who was in Arizona for team USA in the WBC (and he looked GREAT I heard).
The best part was when Harper and Zimmerman hit back to back solo HR’s. That was Zim’s first HR of the spring. He had an RBI single on Thursday, so he seems to be rounding back in form.
As for Harper–what can I say? He’s definitely the MVP of my stay here in Florida. If he plays like this in the regular season, the NL East better watch out. He could have an MVP caliber season.
I also enjoyed seeing early on the Nats loading the bases with Werth on third, Harper on 2nd and Zimmerman on first. I have a feeling that will be something we see from time to time in the regular season!
And once again the youngster Zack Walters, whom I met on Wednesday, hit a HR- his second in two days. Him and Micah Owings are two young players that caught my eye down here (and not just because they signed autographs for me!). I’m definitely going to follow how they progress this year.
The Nats ended up winning 8-7, so that was good to finally see them get a win.
There were some other things that made this day very interesting as well though. I was sitting in LF but I needed some pictures of Jayson Werth for the Eff Yeah Jayson Werth FB page I administer with another person, so I wandered over to RF for awhile. While I was there I sat and watched the guys in the bullpen. I noticed one guy who watched me and kept smiling at me. It was kind of a weird sensation for me to see a ballplayer watch me like that. I’m almost positive that it was Henry Rodriguez (I’ve heard that he interacts with fans like that). It almost felt like he was flirting with me, lol! Don’t think that will happen at Nats Park!
Also, I was sitting with a bunch of very friendly and funny people, most of whom were Nats fans down from Virginia and one guy who lives here in Florida (and is running for Congress here as well!)
The guy was interacting with the Umps and making me laugh big time. The ump kept threatening to throw him out. It was a joke. I think.
We talked and it turned out he likes golf so he ended up getting the golf prize I randomly won at Friday’s game. It made me happy to give it away to someone who could actually use it!
Finally, I ended up getting a tweet from a friend about where to go to get post game autos. I made my way down there and there signing was Ian Desmond. I kind of had to worm my way in, but I made it, and I was like the second to last autograph he did. He is super nice and I love his new stache, makes him look even more handsome.
Sadly, the player I was hoping to see, Jayson Werth, walked out through center field avoiding “the fence”. Probably too many people there someone said. I’m a bit disappointed, but what can you do?
So I ended up getting three signatures while I was here to my baseball: Zack Walters, Michah Owings and Ian Desmond. Not bad. Next year, I’ll know better what to do.
And yes, this was a great experience- much different from regular season games. I am definitely planning on making this a March ritual! I would recommend that every big fan experience this at least once.
And now, I need to get ready to meet yet another Nat friend for dinner, before I pack up and leave for DC tomorrow morning.
I would like to thank those at RPR for letting me share my experiences with everyone.
Susan aka @TurtleZoot