This past Saturday, my husband and I went to our fifth and final Nationals game of the regular season. It was a warm afternoon, and Nationals Park was packed with over 40,000 fans hoping to watch Nationals’ pitcher Gio Gonzalez earn his 20th win of the season, this time against the Milwaukee Brewers. Yes, the “Brew Crew” was in town, the team leading the Majors with 150 stolen bases and an impressive 188 home runs (despite losing Prince Fielder in the off-season). The team with Ryan Braun, Rickie Weeks, and Jonathan Lucroy. This was a great day to be at the ball park.
Gonzalez and the Nationals did not disappoint. Not only did Gio pitch 7 great innings with no earned runs and 5 strikeouts, but the Nationals’ bats were on fire, with Ryan Zimmerman and Ian Desmond both hitting 3-run homers in the same inning
against former Nats’ pitcher Liván Hernandez. Poor Livo’s fastball doesn’t go over 85mph and his curveball travels
slower than a car on the interstate at 63mph. Time for Liván to retire, perhaps?
The Nationals beat the Brewers by a score of 10-4 and have a “magic number” of six in order to clinch the National League East
division. Gio Gonzalez has undoubtedly been one of the reasons the Nationals have spent most of the season in first
place in their division, and is a top contender for this year’s Cy Young award. I did recently hear former Red Sox player Nomar Garciaparra comment on TV that Gio doesn’t deserve the Cy Young award because he pitches for a winning team. He believes that the Mets’ R.A. Dickey, a “one-trick pony” with a knuckleball that hitters have started to decipher, should get the
award because he’s pitched well despite playing for a losing team. Sorry, Nomar – you don’t know what you’re talking about, you fool! It’s going to be a toss-up between Gio and the Reds’ Johnny Cueto – who both pitch for winning teams (the Reds just clinched the NL Central).
So anyway, back to Saturday’s game… yes, it was our last one of the regular season, and we opted to not buy tickets for the postseason just yet, since they’re only selling tickets for the division series and we’d rather spend our money on tickets for the NLCS (one of those unfortunate decisions that responsible adults have to make). We are very happy that we bought a five-game flex plan for the first time this year, and that we were able to watch baseball greats like Stephen Strasburg, Derek Jeter, Joey Votto, and Ryan Braun. We always had very good seats, and getting in and out of the park (whether we took Metro or parked in a nearby lot) was never an issue. Despite Saturday’s sellout crowd, Nationals Park is roomy enough where we did not feel cramped or too crowded (something I don’t suspect happens at Fenway, Wrigley, or Camden Yards) and the lines at the
concession stands moved quickly (unless the lady behind you takes your food before you can grab it – that witch!) If
you get a chance to catch a playoff game at Nationals Park, go for it. You’ll get to watch racing presidents, the atmosphere will be electric, and hopefully, like the Nats’ radio announcer Dave Jageler would say, you will witness the Nationals putting “another curly ‘W’ in the books.”
About the Author
Written by Marien Hornyak
I was born and raised in Puerto Rico but have lived in the continental US for 22 years. I have a BS in Athletic Training and a MEd in Sport Management, where I did my thesis on "The History of Baseball Litigation." I am a wife, mother of 2, and self-proclaimed "Baseball Nerd." My favorite baseball players include Roberto Clemente, Kirby Puckett, and Iván Rodriguez.