This was probably the 2nd most hyped Opening Day for the Washington Nationals that I have ever been to. (Note, I did not attend Opening Day before 2007). The most hyped (2008) was hyped because of the grand opening of the stadium, this time the hype was based on the product on the field.
Getting tickets was kind of strange. Last year, I was able to buy a 5 game plan that included Opening Day. This year, my 5 game plan did not have it included. There was a presale for opening day for full and partial season ticket holders back in February, so I was able to have my friend Jerry, who is a partial season ticket holder snag two tickets for me and my friend Jesse.
I got to the area around 830 AM and walked by the stadium and saw that there was already a line for $5 tickets. Those tickets weren't going on sale for another 2 hours. Jesse and I ended up starting pregaming at my friend Kim's house with bagels and beer and later on at the new Gordon Biersh. It was actually nice to go to a place in the area that served beer and had decent food. The Bullpen/Fairgrounds area is fun but with no decent food and only beer (no liquor) it's only so much fun.
We eventually made it into the stadium and onto the Scoreboard Walk where we saw some familiar people in friends and beer vendors. I'm glad that the Nationals still do $5 beers before first pitch, but I am disappointed that they no longer serve Pilser Urquell. At around noon, Jesse and I got to our seats so we can see the full introductions of the roster of both teams. Our seats were in left field, section 107. These were the best seats I have ever had for Opening Day.
This was the third time in six home openers that the Nationals won. Looking at the box score, with only 2 runs scored the whole game and the Marlins only getting to 3rd base once, it looks like a boring game but it wasn't. Bryce Harper hit a home run in his first two at bats of the season and fellow budding superstar Stephen Strasburg took care of business in 7 innings on the mound. After Harper's 2nd home run, I started doing the "We're not Worthy" bow from Wayne's World for the rest of his at bats.
During the 7th Inning Stretch, the Nationals played "Take on Me," which used to be Michael Morse's song. I have mixed feelings about it. On one hand, that is kind of cold-hearted to trade a player and still use his song but I like that the Nationals found a song that the fans have gotten into and it has meaning to DC baseball fans. It beats trying to rip off the Red Sox and play "Sweet Caroline."
During the game, I got a Shawarma from Shawafel, one of the new stands. I like that the Nationals go out of their way to include local food in their stadium (Ben's Chili Bowl, Hard Times, and formerly Mayorga Coffee and Five Guys), but they did not do a good job of hyping of the new stands this off-season. The shawarma was okay, but logistically the stand was a nightmare. The food was made quickly but checking out, there was only 1 register (there were 2 registers there but only 1 worked). Luckily the guy who looked like the manager of the stand saw that I was paying cash and had exact change so he took my money so wouldn't have to keep waiting in the register line. Hopefully, everything will be working more smoothly for the next 80+ games.
I liked that the crowd was pretty much Nationals fans. There were a couple of jerseys from other teams. The Marlins are probably the only team in professional sports that can win 2 championships in 7 years and then 10 years later have no semblance of a nationwide fanbase. Another great part was that there was no wave. I hate the wave and was very disappointed in my fellow fans when someone tried to start the wave last opening day during extra innings. Experts predict that the Nationals could make it to the World Series this year. I'm not even going to try to stress myself a prediction. I will just relax and enjoy the season.