NATS Home Opener; 1st Win of 2009?

Posted by Cheryl Nichols | Sunday, April 12, 2009 | , , | 0 comments »

Posted by Cheryl Nichols

The Nats are finally coming home!!

I am looking forward to seeing Daniel Cabrera and the Nationals beat Jamie Moyer and the World Champion Phillies for our first win of the season.

Think about how it felt to win the first game at Nationals Park last March 30, 2008 against the Braves with Zimmerman's walk-off home run! The Nats also beat the Diamondbacks 5-3 in the very first Nationals' home game on April 14, 2005. Now let's get a Curly W against the World Champs!

Yes, the Nats are 0-6 and have had a rough start to the season, but I hope that fans welcome them home and cheer them on. Teams need support the most when they are losing!

One thing that hasn't been talked about too much is the Nats crazy schedule and I believe it has had a significant impact on their performance. Unfortunately, the Nats finished most of their spring training games on the road, then flew to DC for the season ticket holder fan fest and exhibition game against the Orioles and boarded a plane for Florida immediately after the win over Orioles.

Home field advantage is not a myth. The Nationals have played 21 games in 24 days and 16 of them were on the road with a 6-15 record. Have you ever gone on a long business trip or a vacation and feel like you need to sleep for days afterward? You probably didn't run at 100% the entire time anyway. We feel that way after each spring training trip since we spend about 12 hours at the ballpark each day and drive all over Florida. As much as we love it, it can be completely exhausting and take everything out of us.

My point: The Nationals have been driving, flying and playing in opposing ballparks for a majority of the last month and hope that coming home charges their batteries. The Washington Nationals have nine home games in ten days. Granted, we play the World Champion Phillies and the two teams that just swept the Nats (Marlins and Braves), however, if we rally around the Nats, we will hopefully see several Curly W's in the books!

The Center Field Gates will open at 12:30 with festivities leading up to the first pitch and the Nationals have been encouraging fans to arrive early to avoid delays getting to the ballpark.

Get Your Red On!

Nationals Press Release:

The Washington Nationals today announced the Opening Day activities at Nationals Park when they host the World Champion Philadelphia Phillies on Monday, April 13 at 3:05pm. Nationals Park opens for its second season after numerous upgrades were made to enhance the fan experience. Nationals fans are encouraged to arrive early and explore the park’s new features, which include statues of Frank Howard, Josh Gibson, and Walter Johnson in the Center Field Plaza and the newly renovated Red Porch Restaurant. The updated Nats Family Fun Area includes the Exxon Strike Zone, Playstation Pavilion, GEICO Racing Presidents Photo Area, Build-A-Bear Workshop and Rookies Concession Stand. Levy Restaurants, the team’s new concessions partner, will debut the ballpark’s new fare including the Healthy Plate Cart in Center Field, featuring wraps, salads and fresh fruit, the foot-long Crab Louie Sandwich, served at the Triple Play Grill in the Left Field V and the Italian Meatball Sandwich, offered at the Taste of the Majors stand outside Section 115.

The Nationals Park Center Field Gate will open at 12:30pm (all gates open at 1:30pm), allowing fans to view the team’s first home Batting Practice, beginning at 12:45pm. The first 20,000 fans to enter the park will receive a FREE red Nationals Baseball Cap, courtesy of the team’s broadcast partner, MASN. As fans roam the Center Field Plaza, they will be greeted by face painters, balloon artists and the music of Dr. FU, performing on the newly erected Center Field Plaza stage, a dynamic rock cover band know for its energetic shows. Road Soda, a local cover band and the Nationals house band, will perform a wide variety of music at the Miller Lite Scoreboard Walk Stage. Fans may also view Nats Xtra, MASN’s pregame show, with hosts Ray Knight and Johnny Holliday, broadcasting live from the Center Field Plaza at 2:00pm.

David Gregory, Meet the Press moderator and Nationals Season Ticket Holder, will emcee the pregame ceremonies beginning at 2:35pm. Grammy-award winning artist Patti Austin will perform both the National Anthem and God Bless America (during the seventh inning stretch). Pregame ceremonies will include the introduction of the 2009 Washington Nationals; the unfurling of two giant American Flags by members of the DC Army and Air National Guard; the presentation of the colors by the Joint Service Color Guard; performance of the National Anthem with a flyover by four helicopters, a OH-58 Kiowa, two UH-1 Hueys and one UH-72 Lakota.
“The Nationals are excited to return home to Nationals Park and begin their second season there with an improved roster featuring Adam Dunn, John Lannan, Ryan Zimmerman and many others,” said Nationals Team President Stan Kasten. “We’ve improved the areas of the ballpark we felt needed upgrades and are confident that the new amenities, combined with the 2009 team on the field, will provide fans with the ultimate ballpark experience. We hope all of our fans will join us at Nationals Park in 2009 – the Home of the National Pastime in the Nation’s Capital.”

Fans may park for free at RFK Stadium’s Lot 8 and take the Nats Express to Nationals Park. The free shuttle will run all season, beginning 90 minutes before the each games first pitch and running until 90 minutes after the final out. There are plenty of parking options available for fans wishing to park at Nationals Park. Fans should visit for details and/or to reserve a parking space.

The Nationals will continue the nine-game homestand on Wednesday, April 15 with the second of three games against the Phillies, followed by three games each against the Florida Marlins and Atlanta Braves. Individual tickets are currently on sale for all Nationals games in 2009 at the Nationals Park Box Office, located at Half & N Street, SE, by visiting or calling 888.632.NATS(6287). Fans interested in Nationals Ticket Packages including Full (82), Half (41), Partial (21), Mini (13, 12, 9) season plans and Group Outings of 25 or more should call 202.675.NATS(6287) – Option #1 or log onto Nationals Park is located on the Metrorail Green Line at the Navy Yard station.