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Sunday, April 8, 2007

An unwelcome visitor at R.F.K. OR Nats hopes "Gone with the Wind"

A most unwelcome visitor showed up at R.F.K. last night:

The Nats game last night felt like an old-time Redskins game from the way the biting wind was swirling throughout the stadium. It was 37 degrees at game time. I was dressed appropriately for the occasion, and even had not one but two stadium blankets to ward off the chill, but it was a challenge.

Fortunately, I had the warmth of good friends around me as I watch the Nats struggle once again against Brandon Webb and the Arizona Diamondbacks, losing 7-1.

I had the pleasure of sitting next to Chad Cordero's father during the game, (thanks to Sohna for pointing him out to me) and he was a wonderful man to meet. I could certainly tell that he is proud of his All-Star son. We didn't have anything like a deep conversation or anything like that, but he certainly was fun to talk with. I felt sorry for him having to deal with the bitter cold. I don't think that he had to deal with such conditions watching Chad at Cal-State Fullerton. Hopefully, the next time he visit R.F.K. it will be, oh, 40 degrees warmer or so.

On my way towards the stadium from Lot #8, I was pleased to see a large video screen as I emerged from the tunnel under Independence Avenue. Apparently, the Nats called upon the services of Video Roadshow to put up the scoreboard display for fans walking in, and it might have even been showing the game once it started, but I wouldn't know. It just seemed like a nice touch, something to get folks excited going in and give late-arriving folks an idea of what they were missing. Nice idea, and I hope that they continue to do this all season, but I would imagine that it would only be for weekend games.

Before I got into the stadium, I decide to take a quick Chevy survey in exchange for a Nationals/Chevy t-shirt. What the heck, let 'em market my home phone number (I use my cell when I'm not at work) and email address (I gave them an old Earthlink address that I don't use for anything of true importance anyway), I got a nice t-shirt. Not a bad exchange.

After checking in with Rico at his program kiosk and Ellie up at the press cafeteria (just want to make sure that they're okay, after all) I wandered over to the Attman's stand on the concourse to try out their food. I decided upon a brisket sandwich, which came with cole slaw and a pickle and it was pretty tasty. I'll definitely be trying out some of their other offerings soon. I'm a little disappointed that they are a Baltimore-based establishment (hey, I'm a loyal D.C. native) but at least they have good food. Still, it makes me wonder if there will eventually be room for locals such as Ben's Chili Bowl.

I noticed that there was a $25 grab-bag promotion going on, located on the main level. For $25 (which goes to the Nationals Foundation) you get a bag with a baseball signed by a member of the current starting roster. Like a dope, I didn't go for it right then, I waited until later in the game, by which time they were all sold out. Rats, rats, rats! Good news for the Nats, bad news for me. I learned that these promotions go on every month, and I'm not going to miss the next one. I was told that there is information about them in the team media guide (available for sale at the program kiosks, and probably the Team Store, too. Buy one from Rico, I did - Now I just need to actually read it! Oh, well, that's what road games are for.)

The Washington Redskins quarterback Jason Campbell threw out the first pitch and, later on when I got home, I saw MASN's Debbi Taylor chat with him about it. Campbell used to play baseball in school, but even he was feeling the cold, and it was colder last night than it was just this past December when the Redskins played the Falcons at FedEx Field (according to Bob Carpenter on MASN). Weird, isn't it?

After settling in with my sandwich and hot chocolate, I got to speak with Amy Pennington, the Nationals Director of Partner Service, for the first time this season. I'd met her last year a couple of times, I believe her job involves dealing with the vendors and sponsors that the Nationals work with. She always listens to my screwy ideas about possible promotions and she's a fun person to chat with. You can just tell that she enjoys her job, too.

Not a lot to feel good about on the field, alas. Austin Kearns drove in the shutout-avoiding home run, and it was almost disputed. I couldn't see too much from where I was sitting, but it looked as though it might have been questionable. Mercifully, it was judged fair.

"Abe" won the night's Rushmore Race. "George" is 0-6 just as "Teddy" is.

According to Christian faith, Jesus rose from the grave on what is now celebrated as Easter Sunday. Let's hope that the Nationals can follow suit, and end this homestand on a high note. At least the weather is supposed to be sunny and much warmer, and that can't hurt.

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