Take Me Out To The Ball Game

The one constant through all the years has been baseball. America has rolled by like an army of steamrollers. It’s been erased like a blackboard, rebuilt, and erased again. But baseball has marked the time. This field, this game, is a part of our past. It reminds us all that once was good, and what could be again.” Field of Dreams.

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We both grew up playing ball – the sport is very much part of who we are. And while neither one of us were good enough to play at the elite collegiate level, we didn’t let that stop us from participating in intramural leagues and other organized games since graduating high school.  And while football is clearly the most popular sport at our alma mater, Clemson University – the baseball team is no joke. We spent many spring afternoons and evenings watching baseball during our four years among the rolling hills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Our opportunities to attend baseball games were limited during our time at Fort Drum, NY but when we moved to Raleigh, NC, we took advantage of being so close to the famed Durham Bulls (us pictured at a game above in 2009…Weston was a stowaway). Our move to Ft. Sill, OK found us again far from the baseball scene but once we found out that we were PCSing to the Washington DC area, we became giddy at the prospect of living so close to a major league baseball team – The Washington Nationals.

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During my childhood, my family went to a lot of minor league and major league baseball games. Whether it was Phoenix Firebirds (a now defunct AAA minor league team), Scottsdale Scorpions (to see Michael Jordan play), the Wilmington Blue Rocks, and of course the Philadelphia Phillies, my family was always excited to spend an afternoon or an evening at the ballpark (thank you Mom & Dad!). There is just something about spending time together in a ballpark as a family – it doesn’t get much more American apple pie than that, does it? It is a tradition that I am eager to carry on with my children. Thankfully, Clay is fully on board with the idea.

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It wasn’t our intention to have Weston wait a long 3.5 years to attend his first major league baseball game – but now that we’re so close to Nationals Park, I foresee a lot more games in his future. And our little girl’s future! Yesterday morning, when we found out that it was Military Appreciation Day at the park, we threw out our original Saturday plans and decided that we couldn’t pass up discounted tickets and spending an absolute gorgeous day watching baseball. After breakfast at The Silver Diner and a quick stop at Modell’s Sporting Goods for some Nats gear, we hopped on the metro (along with 15,000 other people) and made our way to the stadium. Much to our surprise, we were offered free tickets when we went to purchase them at the box office…thank you Washington Nationals!

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In case you were wondering, Weston loved the game.

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Especially the Presidents Race. Are you familiar with the event? It occurs during every home game at Nationals Park during the fourth inning and features George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt, and William Howard Taft racing each other for bragging rights.

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Get used to this kid – you have baseball in your blood.

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After the game, the little guy fell asleep on the metro ride home. We couldn’t have asked for a better way to spend an afternoon and look forward to the next game we’re able to attend. I’ll close with a popular quote from famed columnist George F. Will, “Baseball, it is said, is only a game. True. And the Grand Canyon is only a hole in Arizona.

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