Last night was the first of three road games in a row, and I had pretty high hopes. I had brought along a bunch of signable cards for each city, hoping for the best there. I ventured out to National Park with my parents, and a friend of my dad's. With my dad's friend's son, and his friends, I had a pretty good time overall, and enjoyed the experience.
Before the game though, there was batting practice. Myself and the boys ran up to a spot above the Cubs' bullpen to see if we could flag down some balls. For the first 15 minutes, it seemed that we wouldn't succeed. But soon, a ball was hit into the outfield, and Koyie Hill went to get it. He tossed the ball up toward our section, and it flew into an empty seat. My first instinct was to run to go get it, an instinct I matched with an older fan of the opposing team. So now it was a battle of who got their hand on it first. Ultimately I won, after much scratching and clawing from the Cubs fan.
Soon after getting the practice ball, we walked back to our first baseline seats, hoping to score some autographs from the Nats, or at least the ones who tolerated fan signage. When we first got there, there was nobody. But as the heat rose, the night fell, and the water disappeared (r at least from my bottle), a crowd of people formed around the first baseline. So naturally, I wondered who was signing. Well, first it was Brian Bixler, someone I had never heard of. Then, in came Ian Desmond. And there's were I got excited. A big rookie for the Nats in 2010, having a decent sophomore season. I gotta get his auto, I thought.
I was happy, because I had a card of him to sign, a 2010 Topps Turkey Red insert to be exact. So I ran over there, to hop in the back of the line. The problem here was that the security guard didn't know I was fifteen, which I am. Being that i'm 6 foot 4, he thought I might as well be 25, let alone 15. But I reasoned with him, that I was a teenaged fan, and while the angry security guard didn't believe I was fifteen (not a lot of people do), he still let me go.
The line got smaller and smaller, and soon I was up at the front, smiling, and handing the card to Ian Desmond, the young infielder who had been already supplied hype...and a sharpie. As he was signing, I asked why he wasn't wearing hi #6 on the card ( in which he wore #76). He smiled, and said that it was a Spring Training uniform. I thanked him, got my card back, and smiled. If he's good, I will need to keep that autograph.
Soonafter, the game started. Tonight, arugably the team's biggest star ( Michael Morse), sat out due to an injury, although he pinch hit late in the game. In the first inning, the Cubs made two errors, and lousy pitching by Ramon Ortiz garnered us 3 runs right off the bat. We held this lead for another few innings. This lead was later near blown by Sean Burnett, who according to the fan behind us, blew a game for us earlier in the year. Still, it was fun to see the array of middle relievers and closers Washington had, that included Todd Coffey (he runs onto the field at full speed every time he'd called into the game), the aforementioned Burnett, All star Tyler Clippard and Drew Storen as a closer.
Still, we won thanks to good defense and decent hitting. Roger Bernadina, Danny Espinosa and Tyler Clippard are all decent young stars. Werth didn't have the greatest game, but he seemed cool from afar. I said aloud as he struck out a third time "Poor Jayson...this is why you shouldn't have shaved your beard." And one fan agreed with me.
The Final Score: Nationals 3, Cubs 2.
Tomorrow I head to Pittsburgh, a place still haunted by angry Steelers fans, to see Andrew McCutchen and the Pirates play the Astros (Two of the best teams in the division, not).