Last Saturday was an excellent sporting day for the DC fans. The Nationals won, the Capitals won, DC United won. Too bad the Wizards weren't able to continue the winning tradition throughout the day, but they are at the point where it's more beneficial to lose than win so I'm ok with that. Other than baseball doubleheaders, this is the first time I've attended. It wasn't attended for the love of the sports, more for the love of bobbleheads.
I have 42 bobbleheads and a garden gnome. Not gonna lie, it's a bit of an addiction. First bobblehead game I attended was Jose Guillen bobblehead night, and honestly that night was not chosen because it was a bobblehead night. My friends Sarah and Kate were in town and wanted to catch a game. I dragged my friend Chris to come with us and we happened to get bobbleheads. We went to Hooters afterwards, but I digress... At first I just wanted to collect the Nationals collection, but it has spread to me collecting all the DC pro sports teams. Usually my method is to buy multiple tickets so I can go through the turnstiles and collect extra bobbleheads and then trade those on Craigslist, but last fall I went a little crazy with Bill Me Later option on Ebay and grew my collection that way.
Anyways, so my friend Mike, who is also into bobbleheads, found out about John Wall Bobblehead Night back in January. The Wizards did not do a good job of hyping it up until March. Originally it was not on the promotions page and Mike found it on a random link of the site. Also, this was about the time where DC Sports Bog was doing a story on how cheap Wizards tickets were to acquire on the secondary market. I went on StubHub and bought 4 tickets for 30 bucks, retail price 40 back in early February. I actually did periodically check to see if I could've gotten a better deal, and yes I could've bought 10 tickets for 50 if I had waited.
For the Nationals, I just ordered the tickets directly from the team. I ordered a 5 game flex plan and the games I chose were Opening Day, the three bobblehead games, and I have a voucher for a game, which I will probably use for Harperkkah. I'm not sure when I realized that both games were on the same day, but I'm sure I was excited. I just wished that the Nationals game was at 1:05 instead of 4:05 just so I would have more time to get to the Verizon Center for the 7:00 game.
The game started at 4:05. They started selling 5 dollar Day of Game tickets at 1:30. I got there before 12:30. I am not sure what is more sad, that I got there more than 3 and a half hours for a baseball game or that I was not the first person in line, there were about 10 people ahead of me. I engaged in polite conversation with my line mates about Nationals games and how we hate tourists and I was easily able to acquire a 5 dollar ticket to go with my real ticket so I could get 2 Stephen Strasburg Bobbleheads.
I'm paranoid, so I always include a change of clothing so that I am not recognized when I go to double dip for a bobble. I started doing this when after Frank Howard Bobblehead Night. It was raining, so there weren't as many people going through the gates so it was easy to recognize people. I had 4 tickets, and they stopped me at 3 but I got my friend to walk by so I could get the 4th.
With 3 hours to kill before the game, I hung out with Matt, Jen, Dave, TJ and Lara at one of the restaurants, the Red Porch. I was very disappointed that they were not serving The Strasburger. I understand you cannot have 8 pounds of burger ready on a whim so you have to limit the days when it's available. BGR, the Burger Joint, has a policy of calling 24 hours in advance if you want to go for its 15.4 lb burger, and you have to leave your credit card number with them. But it was a nice day out, and bobblehead nights pretty much guarantee that you will have a huge crowd that will be arriving early, and its Strasburg Bobblehead Night. IF YOU HAVE A SPECIALTY ITEM BASED ON A PLAYER, IT SHOULD BE A FEDERAL CRIME IF IT ISN'T OFFERED ON THAT PLAYER'S (INSERT PROMOTIONAL ITEM HERE) GIVEAWAY NIGHT!
We tried to get Jordan Zimmermann to sign Matt's ball, but he was not by the dugout. We were able to wave at Drew Storen and Mike Rizzo though. Normally, baseball is my focus at baseball games but with the Capitals in the playoffs, they were the priority. Mike, Matt and I were able to get a great position at the Red Loft. We had a nice view of the field and when we turned around to look at the tv to pay attention to the game, we had a nice railing to lean on. So nice that some woman asked me if she could take my place since she was shorter and part of my attention was diverted to the tvs behind. I immediately told her no.
I have no regrets. I doubt it, but I kind of hope she's reading this. Lets be honest, if you're going to ask a random guy to give up his spot, it helps if you're hot and among female friends. She was average at best and among 2 dudes. Also, you're wearing a Red Sox cap. Maybe if you were actually a fan of the Nationals, I would've been more gracious and let you have my spot. But for a Boston fan, especially when the Caps are playing Boston, NO! Another thing, The Red Porch is not a ticketed area, its first come first serve. If you don't like the view you have, you have seats you purchased and are more than welcome to sit there.
I hate leaving games early but sometimes it's a necessary evil. I left early last week. It was a calculated risk. It was the bottom of the 6th inning, Nationals were up 3-1 and the Capitals were tied after regulation. We figured we could get the bobblehead and be able to chill and watch both games at the Green Turtle.
We met up with my friend Megan at Verizon Center and got our bobbleheads. Mike and I had 2 tickets each cause we're addicts. Matt forgot his ticket at home so he had to buy another ticket at the game. We settled in at Green Turtle with the Nationals reaching its conclusion and the Capitals game in OT. (On a side note, it should be a federal crime to operate a sports bar and not have high definition tvs. random side note, I'm not calling out any bars...) Nats won easily, and within seconds of Edwin Jackson and Kristina Akra getting doused with Gatorade , Backstrom scored the game winning goal in the 2nd OT.
The game wasn't that interesting. Cleveland got out to an 8-2 lead and never really looked back. The Wizards kept it close so it wasn't totally bad, but I still have hope for next year. Nothing exciting really happened, Wizards crowds aren't really full of life except during the Chick Fil A fowl shots promotions and the team has been horrible this year. But I think they are in a good position for the future, lots of youth and the only really bad contract on the team is Rashard Lewis but that expires next year.
I was able to get four bobbleheads total, 2 Strasburgs and 2 John Walls. I traded the extra Strasburg for an Alex Ovechkin bobblehead from the 2008 season, so that means I have 3 different Ovi bobbleheads and the Wall bobblehead is being traded for a Deshawn Stevenson bobblehead.