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Posts Tagged ‘Baseball’

Baseball is the quintessential American sports experience. Since its alleged inception 175 years ago by Abner Doubleday in Cooperstown, NY, the mythology surrounding the game still looms large over the players and fans who continue the baseball experience today. Bart and I were baseball fans as kids and have renewed our interest as adults; while we would never claim to be hardcore fans who know every stat and fact about the game, we still appreciate rooting for our home teams and learning more about the history of the game. Since we moved to the east coast, we’ve wanted to take a trip to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, and we finally had the opportunity to do that this weekend.

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Anybody else out there excited about baseball? Bart and I were both baseball fans growing up, and when we got married and lived in Denver near our first local major league team, we decided it would be fun to renew our interest in the sport since we had a franchise so close. The Colorado Rockies weren’t all that great, except for their amazing late season run to the World Series in 2007, but it was still really fun to keep up with the players, listen to games on TV or the radio, and go to games. Naturally, when we moved to the east coast, we had to decide where to place our allegiance, and while we still generally wish the Rockies well from afar, we have chosen to “root, root, root for the home team,” the Washington Nationals. And so far in 2014, that is going pretty well for us.

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Happy first day of fall! Historically, this is my favorite time of year–changing leaves, cooler weather, tasty food, and, most importantly, my birthday! In recent years, however, fall has unfortunately transformed into an unwelcome reminder of the upcoming cold and bitter winter, and for a while I lost quite a bit of the joy and excitement I originally had about it. However, I’ve decided that I don’t want my favorite season to be ruined for me anymore, so I’m on a mission to reclaim fall.
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A year ago we went under contract on our house and were doing things like paperwork, home inspections, and furiously packing. Now, eleven months into living in our new home, we’ve moved on to completely ripping apart our prized investment, but hopefully for a good cause.
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It’s been ten months since we moved into our house, and we are very close to having experienced a full cycle of seasons at our home. I think it’s fascinating to see the yard progress through the year for the first time; each season is a surprise of blooming plants, changing leaves, and curious wildlife. It isn’t fall yet, but summer is winding down and hints of an upcoming new season are upon us.
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For Bart’s birthday in April, I purchased a Groupon for an hour of batting cages in Gaithersburg. We went to one a few years ago with some family back in Arkansas, and it was on our list of things to do again. So when I saw the deal come around, it seemed like a natural thing to do.

Unfortunately, it took us a while to get around to it, since right after Bart’s birthday we got busy with travel and house hunting. But after a rough commute home today (you’re seriously going to close one entire lane of northbound Connecticut Avenue on a Friday afternoon during rush hour? Seriously?), I knew that beating the crud out of something was just what the doctor ordered.

Now, despite watching baseball all the time these days, neither of us know anything about actually playing it. But we grabbed our bats and balls and headed out to our cage. It took a whole 5-gallon bucket of balls each before we got our stride, but before too long we were making contact.

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I’m a big wuss, so I whined a lot about the balls being too fast or too slow or too close together or whatever. But I managed to finally get quite a few solid smacks. Take that, road construction.

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By the end of the hour, we had blisters on our hands from gripping the bat with our dainty palms. Next time, we need some batting gloves. But we had a good time, and who knows? Judging by the number of players on my fantasy baseball team that keep going on the disabled list, the major leagues might be desperate for some hitters in the near future. You just never know.

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Breaking in a new ballpark is not a trivial matter. It takes time, dedication, and personal investment. And a few hotdogs.

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Yesterday, Bart and I attended our first Washington Nationals game down at the Navy Yard in DC. After leaving our beloved, yet beleaguered, Rockies behind in Denver, we felt that we still had room in our hearts to adopt another team, especially if it happens to be one that’s actually good.

Bart’s birthday is always around opening day, and while I’ve not been willing to brave the throngs then, I usually get him tickets for one of the first games of the season. This year, we came across a Groupon deal that lured us out of our lair north of town to venture downtown in the middle of rush hour on the metro and down to the ballpark.

It wasn’t all that bad getting to and from the game, though it was indeed crowded. The metro, while a little long, isn’t that much longer than driving, and you don’t have to pay $40 for parking and deal with traffic. The Navy Yard station is mere blocks from the entrance.

The Nat’s stadium is quite new, since they haven’t been back in DC for all that long. It’s spacious and open and clean. It also has a ridiculously high definition screen. I could almost count the hairs in Jayson Werth’s beard.

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Bart and I had a nice time. The weather was perfect, and a National’s win over the White Sox topped off the evening. One game isn’t sufficient to claim fan status, but I feel like we’re well on our way to root-root-root for the home team.

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