Refusing To Give In I’ll Never Be The Same – Balls 698-705 (May 24, 2017)

Seattle Mariners 1 – Washington Nationals 5

Nationals Park – Washington, DC

May 24, 2017

Game 4 of the East Coast road trip and it was the end of the line for us, even if the plans said otherwise. The next day would be a complete rainfest in Cleveland, so this was the last chance at seeing some baseball on the road for the foreseeable future.

The rain mainly stayed away for this contest, but the cold, grey skies were definitely still sticking around. Even though Memorial Day was only a few days away, the unofficial start to summer felt like months away.

Before I get too much into the baseball portion, I’d like to take a quick time-out to discuss the theme of this post – one that many of you probably wouldn’t pick up on. Normally I don’t get too excited for my choice of clothing, but for this particular game I was pretty stoked. I had bought a shirt just for this road trip and it was by far the pinnacle of my shirt selections probably for any game past, present, or future. Look at the photo below and you’ll see I’m wearing a modified version of the DC logo – instead of stars, there are Xs.

DC is known for their history of punk bands, particularly ones of the hardcore genre. An offshoot of that genre is straight-edge. Straight-edge is a philosophy, much deeper than just a punk ethos, but a way of living your life. I do not live mine based on this philosophy, but came to the same conclusions before hearing this style of tunes. The idea is simple: don’t poison your body; that means drugs, alcohol, or other “excessive” behavior. It’s a counter-movement to the widespread rock and roll idea of “sex, drugs, and rock and roll”. Seeing those musicians and even their fans burn out (and/or die) at a young age were probably propellant to this movement.

So with the straight-edge alignment in my own life, being in the home town of one of the most famous straight-edge movements, and even picking up some straight-edge punk records (one on accident, as it was just a recommendation without me requesting a “sxe band”), everything came together perfectly. So I decided to use some lyrics from the record I picked up at Joint Custody in DC and put a pretty bow on this straight-edge experience.

Back to baseball…

I met Doug Hakey (if you are a ballhawk, you’ll know the name) at the lesser-known centerfield gate and we chatted about a little bit of everything. As it was not just a giveaway day, but a Max Scherzer Snow Globe giveaway, the crowd showed up early and this would easily take the cake for highest attendance on this trip. When giveaways happen it is kind of a double-edged sword – on one hand this means more people that get in your way when ballhawking, but on the other hand those folks aren’t ballhawking and many competing hawks stay away.

Once inside the gates though, I met another local ballhawk named Chris and after a few minutes of gates being open, the biggest name of all made an appearance… The Hampster himself.

The balls came in fairly steadily and I put up a decent “ocho” for the day, but those stories are boring. Outside of one easter egg, I continued the rut of toss-ups. However, Nelson Cruz and Steve Cishek both used my big glove, so that was pretty cool/memorable.

The game itself saw a streak come to an end. No, not a ballhawking one for me, but this was the first time in 2017 that I saw a home team (outside of Target Field) win. It took SEVEN games to finally happen, but it happened. Congrats, Washington, you broke my home team curse.

(And on the way home we walked up tot he Capital before getting a Lyft.)


Repeat from previous post: All of the balls listed after the photo were toss-ups. I told you it’d be boring, but so be it. The next time I visit these stadiums I will know a little bit more about how to play them and not feel like I have to soak in the surroundings as much.


Ball 1 – Unknown National

Ball 2 – Unknown National

Ball 3 – Unknown National (Easter Egg)

Ball 4 – Policeman in CF

Ball 5 – Tony Zych

Ball 6 – Steve Cishek

Ball 7 – Todd Tichenor

Ball 8 – Bat Boy – Visiting Team (Mariners)

MVP Thank Yous:

  • Doug, Chris, and Zack – again, next time we’ll spend more time talking
  • Todd Tichenor
  • Jared – for joining me on this adventure
  • Megan – for allowing Jared to join me on this adventure

As you may have been able to tell, I am running low on storage space via WordPress. I have resorted to posting one collage per post, but I miss having extra pix, especially showcasing some panos from new stadiums. If you have a good work around or would like to see them posted somewhere else, let me know. If interest is high enough, I could be swayed to additional platforms.


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