Episode 27 – (Capitals, Nationals, Tiger)

The Capitals are up by two on the Carolina Hurricanes, the Nationals bullpen continues to struggle, Ryan Zimmerman is more of a liability than a car with no steering wheel, Serone’s boy Tiger Woods wins “The Masters,” and we once again get carried away talking about food and the good things in life…

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TIMESTAMPS:

  • Pre-Show Banter – (0:00)
  • Capitals Up 2-0 on Carolina – (19:00)
  • Nationals .500 on the Season – (43:15)
  • Tiger Woods Wins “The Masters” – (1:29:15)
  • Food is the Best – (1:35:45)

Music By: Kenneth Thomas (www.DJKennethThomas.com)

Supporters: We Organize “Professional Organizing Services” ~ Parrando’s Tex-Mex Grill

Episode 26 – (Skins, Wiz, Caps, Nats)

As we forget to start the show and reminisce on our shows history, we eventually get into some thoughts on Josh Rosen possibly to the Redskins, the Wizards draft position, Capitals series vs. Carolina, and the “Pig Pen” Nationals Bullpen that has stunk up the joint for most of the eight games so far…

Podcast Available: iTunes PodcastGoogle Podcast & Google Play Music

SUBSCRIBE – RATE – REVIEW!

TIMESTAMPS:

  • Pre-Show Banter – (0:00)
  • Josh Rosen to Redskins? – (17:00)
  • Wizards Draft Positioning – (26:50)
  • Capitals Playoff Series vs. Carolina – (32:15)
  • Nationals Bullpen Woes – (51:30)
  • “What Grinds Our Gears” – (1:18:40)

Music By: Kenneth Thomas (www.DJKennethThomas.com)

Supporters: We Organize “Professional Organizing Services” ~ Parrando’s Tex-Mex Grill

A List of Things I Trust More Than The Nats Bullpen

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The Nats Bullpen has been disastrous to start this season. A wonderful case in point was on Sunday when a 12-1 lead almost evaporated into thin air. Below I have listed things I trust more than the Nationals bullpen right now:

Oreo will keep cranking out hits

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I mean the box says it all. Not “a lotta stuf” or “a large amount of stuf” but the MOST stuf. Throw away the Oreo cracker part and just give me ALL THE STUF. I’ve tried desperately to shop for this but haven’t had any luck. Instead, the shopkeepers keep asking me to stop crying and let them leave.

I will continue to tell people “Yeah, I’ll watch Game of Thrones soon” and not watch it

I have nothing against the show. I’m sure it is very good. I hear there is a lot of graphic sexual scenes, and a lot of dragons breathing fire, and some seat that has knives on it. This all sounds lovely. I mean, literally every baseball team has a “Game of Thrones” night at the ballpark now. I understand I am very very late to the party. I’ll just be honest: I’ll tell you I’m going to watch it soon, but I’m not going to.

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Papa Johns will continue to be an overrated pizza chain

Facts are facts. Dominos has stepped up their game with the crust. Pizza Hut created an entire section of their restaurant dedicated towards Wings. They are showing the effort. I appreciate it. Papa Johns meanwhile has what to their name? A little cup of melted garlic sauce in the box and a few peppers that I always forget are in there before I stomp the box to put it in the recycling and get stuff everywhere? Plus the Papa of Papa Johns was kind of a psycho.

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People will not let you leave the metro car before they enter

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It is supposed to be a relatively simple situation. The metro stops, the people who need to get off do, the people who need to get on then enter, then we move on to the next station. Instead, I have seen the two groups basically smash into each other, limbs everywhere, each side attempting to push forward. I assume this resembles Game of Thrones, but without the dragons.

There is that panicked moment, even when you know for sure you have plenty of time to exit the train before the doors close, when you worry that you won’t make it. Give credit to the operators, they don’t wait around. If just an arm made it on, then that arm is headed to Foggy Bottom, regardless of if the body made it too.

The Metro stop Foggy Bottom will continue to make me chuckle

I mean, come on. Foggy BOTTOM. That is hilarious.

Dairy Queen employees will never forget to turn the Blizzard over

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I mean look at that guy in the picture. Is he smug or what? “This is what you came to see right? This is the GREATEST SHOW” as he gives a quick flick of the wrist and turns that bad boy upside down.

I’ll be honest, I dream of the day the employee does that and the blizzard spills all over the counter. But it never. freaking. happens.

Disney Channel Original Movies were cinematic perfection and will always hold up

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Look at that tagline: Kid today. Leprechaun tomorrow. 

Incredible.

Some of the hits:

-Motocrossed

-Zenon: Girl of the 21st Century

-Halloweentown

-Smart House

-The Thirteenth Year

I mean you could put basically stack any of those up against some piece of trash like Suicide Squad. 

My dentist will never say “your gums look good”

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I’ve tried really hard! Okay, maybe not really hard. But I have those little floss pick things, and I bought the water jet thing, I swear I’ve done everything they’ve asked. But it’s just not good enough. I feel like I’m trying to impress my dad every time I visit the Dentist.

“Didn’t I do good papa? Don’t my teeth look shiny!”

The hygienist will sigh as she continues to poke as hard as she can into my gums, blood gushing like I just slammed my face on a railing. I smile in pain, red streams pouring through the gaps in between each tooth.

Nope, you need to do better. Now stick this gigantic piece of plastic into your mouth without crying, we need to take X-Rays.

I will never know how to dress “cool”

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I’ve never liked wearing unbuttoned shirts over t-shirts. They always flap in the wind as I walk. A lot of the clothes I  wear were given to me for free over the years from various sports teams or organizations. One time in college, my roommate raided the lost and found bin at the gym where he worked, that provided me enough outfits for the rest of the year.

I once wore a zip-up that I thought was “cool” in high school. I walked in proudly, strutting around. My friend immediately came up and starting listing all the things that made that zip-up the most unfashionable thing he had ever seen.

This Baby could save me in a fire

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Look at that guy. The confidence, the swagger. The boy is a HERO.

 

Those are all the things I immediately can think of that I trust more than the Nats bullpen right now. I’m sure I could go on all day, but this is a solid start.

Mea Kulpa-What Ron Kulpa’s Power Trip Tells Us About the Current State of Officiating

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I can do anything I want!-Ron Kulpa to Astro’s Manager AJ Hinch.

Baseball twitter has been ablaze since the incident, so I’m sure you’ve read ten stories about it already, but here is a good companion breakdown of the Kulpa incident from Twitter:

Being an official at any level, in any sport, is not an enviable gig. When I was 13 I donned the powder blue polo, dark pants, and cautiously stood behind a nine-year-old catcher who appeared to be fairly surprised that he was going to be behind the plate that game.

“Have you ever caught before?” I gestured towards his worn catcher’s mitt. He quickly shook his head. Wonderful.

I umpired only for a few seasons, much more satisfied with being up in the press box running the music and scoreboard. But even in my short time umping I knew it wasn’t for me. It wasn’t the pressure of making calls, it was the constant swirl of annoyance being hurled at you at all times. From coaches, from players, from fans, at any given moment SOMEONE hated your guts.

It was an unpleasant feeling. And it didn’t seem to matter if you were doing a good or a bad job, they would be annoyed regardless. I remember one of the breaking points for me. Keep in mind I was again only like thirteen, but there was a play at the plate, bang-bang, and I called the runner out on the tag. Was he out? Who knows, but to me it sure seemed like he was.

Out trotted a grizzled 50-something-year-old coach, going ballistic.

No way was he out! How could you call that? He was clearly under the tag! That is a BAD call!

I decided immediately that the 15 bucks a game wasn’t worth being screamed at by this guy.

There are plenty of people that can get past the screaming and yelling, and make their way through the officiating circuit. You work your way up, go to clinics, attend camps, you get better, you gain more experience. Guys like Ron Kulpa have spent most of their lives doing a job that nobody wants to do. There is respect in that. And yet what Ron Kulpa did this week is part of the swing of officials in all sports to flex their reffing muscles, and show who is “boss”.

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If you are an avid sports fan you’ve noticed it. The ejections and technical fouls are coming hard and fast. Hell, Spurs coach Greg Popovich just set a record with his latest ejection.

We are in an age where officials everywhere are done being just rule-enforcers and are now the behavior-police. They seemingly are tired of being background characters, and now are itching for leading roles. Should we REALLY know the name Ron Kulpa? Do we REALLY buy tickets to see the Astros play, or do we buy them to see Kulpa ump?

My father umped for a while, and he reported back to me how militaristic the training sessions felt. How it didn’t feel like a cohesive plan to just enforce the rules and call a good game, it felt more like it is YOU vs. THEM. Them being the players and coaches.

Are there going to be times when an ejection is called for, when a player/coach takes it too far? Of course. Cursing up a storm, physically threatening, being an absolute nut, these are all things that I am completely okay with officials determining that particular person is not welcome on the field or the court at that time. We all lose our heads sometimes. But that should be a LAST resort, a final straw. Popovich was tossed before the Spurs even had a chance to score a basket.

I remember going to old RFK stadium to see the Nats take on the Cardinals. Albert Pujols was on the team then, and in his prime. We bought tickets to go see Albert, one of the greatest hitters of our generation. He was ejected in the bottom of the 2nd inning while discussing his previous at-bat with the field umpire. Just like that, our purpose of even buying tickets was headed off to the showers.

If the MLB truly cares about the players, about the fans, then Ron Kulpa should be suspended for a decent amount of time. Send him back to the minors, bring up someone else who isn’t here to look for fights. The goal of an umpire should be to call the best game he or she can, not to tussle with managers.

The MLB needs to send a message to Kulpa and to officials everywhere:

No, you CAN’T do anything you want.

 

 

Life of Luxury: A night spent with the upper class watching Bryce Harper’s return to DC

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When the Harper to Philly announcement was made, I had my phone out ready to go. I knew that the Phillies were going to come to DC on the 2nd of April, and tickets were a must. I purchased my usual 300 section, and was set. When the day finally arrived, I casually perused the StubHub listings to see what else was available. I spotted a pair of Delta Sky360 Club Seats, 7th row, behind home plate. These were typically $500+ per seat, but on a cold and rainy Tuesday someone was listing them for around $170 each. So I went for it. I sold my original tickets and snagged those bad boys. This was going to be a pretty big moment, why not live it up in style? Here is a quick diary recap of my experience.

I’m a big fan of getting to the ballpark early. Then again, I’m a fan of getting anywhere way too early. I think that comes from my mother. Growing up we would all pile into the car for Christmas Eve mass. I always thought it was strange that she would suggest we pack a book with us, but that was because the plan was to sit in the parking lot for two hours before anyone else decided to start getting their seats. I think even the priests were still sleeping.

The plan was to hop on the metro after work, get to the ballpark right when they allow you to start entering your seats at 5:30. Since we were going to be newbies to the home plate scene, I wanted to make sure to give us plenty of time to adjust to our surroundings and not look out of place.

My favorite part of riding the metro is the fact that the people who run the metro truly do not care about what the inside of the cars look like.

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My favorite seats are the weird yellow ones in the back. Sometimes they have a wall dividing them so you can pretend you are on your own little personal train and not the DC metro where the guy two seats ahead is throwing up in his mouth.

I also enjoy the game that the conductors play. It’s called “How terribly can I talk in this microphone to ensure nobody understands what I am saying?”

The move my wife and I typically do with Nats games is to take the train all the way to Capital South station and walk. It’s two stops past where most people get off to switch trains to the game, so you get a lot of confused and panicked looks from other Nats fans as they glance back at you when getting off. It involves having to walk a while, but it’s a fairly pleasant hike as you pass by million-dollar townhomes. In fact, it helped me mentally prepare myself for the sort of people we would be mixing in with at the “Sky Clizzub” (that’s what I have renamed the Delta360 Sky Club)

I’ll skip past the minor details of going through security and take us right to entering the clizzub. We had to enter some doors initially into a hallway with elevators that were supposed to take us down to where we needed to go. They must have been those types of elevators where they don’t actually work, so we took the stairs instead. BUT the stairs were carpeted, so I already knew we had entered a different rich world.

At the entrance there was a big machine to scan your ticket, and then a lady puts a wristband on you. I’m not sure why they needed to spend the money on a giant machine, when they could have given the lady a scanner, but then I remembered I was in the world of wealth.

I had done a little scouting ahead of time, and knew that it was basically a giant room with a bar, tables, buffets all over the place. Upon entering, a nice hostess escorted us to a small table that had plates and silverware. They even put the silverware in the correct order on the table which is something I constantly struggle with. It was slightly confusing because while the food was buffet style, there was still a “waitress” who could also get you things. So in theory, while the food was only 20-30 steps away, you could have her get it for you. Man, what a dream.

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I tried to take a picture of the food on my first plate, but I ate it already. There’s a chicken bone in the picture so you can get the idea. They had a few buffet sections in the middle with your higher end items like a meat board and potstickers. Then on the outside, because they know peasants like us occasionally make it through the gates, they had staples like pizza, wings, and a basket filled to the brim with chicken tenders. I snagged my first bud light of the night (classy), stacked multiple pieces of pizza on my plate (because I’m not a buffet amateur), and headed back to my seat.

I finished that plate within maybe 30 seconds, but wanted to give it a little bit of time before I got up again. My bud light seemed to disappear rather quickly, and the “waitress” asked if I would like another one. I nodded, but then she asked to see my ID. I thought this was a little strange. One, because I’ve looked 26 since I was 10. Two, I already had a beer. I hate to display my ID because I’ve been too terrified to go to the DMV and get a new picture, so it is still my 15-year-old mug. I had so many great ideas and hopes and dreams in that photo, now it gets laughed at by bartenders across the country. I seemingly passed the test because she went to fetch me another brew. Meanwhile, I went to fetch me another plate.

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I decided to class it up a bit and added a few potstickers and one thimble-full of rice (healthy). These chicken tenders were 100% different than the normal ballpark tenders offered. These must have been a different breed of chicken. Or perhaps these were actual chicken tenders, not whatever they sell at the normal vendors.

After finishing up this plate and beer, my wife and I hopped over to view the batting cages. The club has a giant window where you can watch the players hit a few baseballs in preparation for hitting baseballs in a game. We got to see Victor Robles and Matt Adams hit, which was a delightful treat.

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I tried to get their attention to see if it was cool if I took a few hacks, but they mostly ignored me. I should have kept one chicken tender to wave in their direction. I also forgot to mention that if you watch a lot of Nats games you may notice the two guys that sit behind home plate at every game. Those are the Itkin brothers according to an article I read. We were sitting at the table nearby them so my wife snapped a quick stealth picture.

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I think they are multi-millionaires, which is why I thought it was strange that one year they were apparently voted “fan of the year”. I don’t think you should give millionaires a “fan of the year” title. Save that for someone who survived the DC metro, walked a bunch of blocks in the rain, and ate your not real chicken tenders.

The game was delayed so I used my time wisely. I scarfed down a small bag of popcorn, a soft pretzel, a few mini cupcakes, and then my stomach started hurting. But I couldn’t show any sort of pain in front of the other club members, so I just fought through it.

My favorite part about rain delays is how many times fans will go up to random employees and ask if they know when the game is supposed to start. This question is usually met with confusion, as if the front office radios down to every single Nats Park employee all the pertinent information. Let me go ask the janitor about Howie Kendrick’s injury recovery.

The delay ended up only being until 7:45, which gave me plenty of time to eat another hot dog. There was literally a small shelving unit whose purpose was purely to hold hot dog buns. It was nicer than any shelves I have at home, and it was for buns.

It was finally time to start taking our seats, so we awkwardly waited while a nice lady took a very wet rag to wipe off our wet seats. It wasn’t effective at all, and I accidentally slipped her five dollars instead of just a few bucks.

 

There were a TON of Phillies fans all over the place, including all around us. This was great because they are widely known as super rational and kind fans, so I was sure we would be fine. In fact, I expected us all to be arm-in-arm humming songs by the end of the game.

 

I snagged a vid of Harper’s first plate appearance

The great thing about these seats too was a person comes around and takes your order so you don’t have to miss a pitch! I requested another hot dog and beer, as my stomach pleaded with me to stop the madness.

The game itself was not noteworthy and I don’t care to write about any of it. But my friends and family texted us constantly to let us know we were on the TV shot. I considered various things I could do to go viral but instead just crossed my arms and looked displeased.

Once the Phillies scored their 100th run of the game, we left. I considered snagging a few more hot dogs for the road but thought better of it.

Overall the experience was truly incredible. I mingled with the 1%’ers, ate my weight in food, and also got to watch some bad Nationals baseball. Maybe I’ll get back to those seats again someday. But for now, I’ll be dreaming of those cupcakes…

 

Episode 25 – (Caps, Wiz, Redskins, Nats)

With no special episode for the first time in weeks, Serone & Simpson are back to the status quo going over the Capitals clinching their playoff spot, the Wizards hopefully losing more to get better draft stock, the Redskins front office woes, and the Nationals opening series loss to the rival Mets. Plus, the fun stuff which includes: Pine Pony Express, Ben’s love for American Idol, and Mike’s hatred of Ryan Zimmerman continues…

Podcast Available: iTunes PodcastGoogle Podcast & Google Play Music

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TIMESTAMPS:

  • Pre-Show Banter – (0:00)
  • Capitals Clinch Playoff Birth – (18:30)
  • Wizards Draft Position Update – (30:25)
  • “What If” Redskins Front Office – (45:15)
  • Nationals Series Opening Loss – (58:50)
  • Mike’s Zimmerman Rant – (1:15:45)
  • “Pine-Pony Express” – (1:38:40)
  • Ben’s Thoughts On Serone’s Groomed Dog – (1:52:52)

Music By: Kenneth Thomas (www.DJKennethThomas.com)

Supporters: We Organize “Professional Organizing Services” ~ Parrando’s Tex-Mex Grill

 

Washington Nationals Season Preview – 2019

You have to love technology right? Due to the technical difficulties, our Season and Outfield Previews are one week old, yet still good listens. Check them out here!

Podcast Available: iTunes PodcastGoogle Podcast & Google Play Music

SUBSCRIBE – RATE – REVIEW!

Well, that was ugly: Thoughts and Grades on the Nats Opening Series

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It took a heroic effort from Trea Turner on Sunday for the Nats to avoid an opening weekend sweep by the Mets. Let’s dive into some grades:

Starting Pitching

Grade: B-

Scherzer (0-1): 7.2 innings, 2 hits, 2 runs (both earned), 12 K’s, 3 BB’s.

Strasburg (no decision): 6 innings, 7 hits, 4 ER, 8 K’s, 2 BB’s.

Corbin (no decision): 6 innings, 7 hits, 2 ER, 4 K’s, 2 BB’s

Overall the starting pitching was okay. Scherzer and Corbin both gave the Nats a chance, and even Strasburg recovered after a really shaky first inning.

This isn’t a great sign from Strasburg in his first start, especially with the Mets hitting .292 against him. We have spoken highly on what we hope will be a “comeback” year for Stras, this did not make me super confident yet.

Corbin shined in his debut, a lot of fly balls, some hard contact, but overall was impressive on a very windy cold day in DC.

Scherz was Scherz. He struck out a ton, gave up signature opening inning bomb, and put his team in a position to win a ballgame and they spoiled a great outing.

Bullpen

Grade: D

Yikes. This was the area I was worried about from the start, and this was the area that let the Nats down this weekend.

Barraclough: 1.2 innings, 2 hits

Sipp: 1.1 innings, 2 hits, 2 ER, 1 K, 1 BB

Miller: 1 inning, 1 hit, 2 K’s

Suero: 1 inning, 2 hits, 2 ER, 1 K, 1 BB

Grace: 0.2 innings, 2 hits, 1 ER, 1 K

Rosenthal: (didn’t register an out) 4 hits, 5 ER, 1 BB

Doolittle: 1.2 innings, 3 hits, 2 K’s

As a bullpen, they combined for a 12.27 ERA.

Rosenthal, Suero, Grace, and Sipp all had the most trouble this series. I’m genuinely scared about this bullpen situation. There are no go-to arms. Barraclough and Miller handled things well, and Doolittle got thrust into a scary Sunday finale, but overall this is a bad look for yet another Nats team that is lacking reliable bullpen arms.

We’ve heard this song and dance before.

Offense

Grade: C+

Obviously, the opening day game was dreadful offensively, but the Nats were able to turn it around and put up 14 runs total in their 2nd and 3rd games in the series.

Turner: 13 AB’s, 5 hits, 4 Runs, 2 HR, 4 RBI, 1 BB, 4 K’s, 4 SB, .385 avg, .429 OBP, .923 SLG

Eaton: 12 AB’s, 4 hits, 2 Runs, 4 K’s, .333 avg, 429 OBP, .333 SLG

Soto: 12 AB’s, 3 hits, 1 Run, 2 RBI, 1 BB, 7 K’s, 1 SB, .250 avg, .308 OBP, .333 SLG

Zimmerman: 12 AB’s, 2 hits, 3 RBI, 1 BB, 3 K’s, .167 avg, 231 OBP, .250 SLG

Rendon: 11 AB’s, 4 hits, 2 Runs, 2 RBI, 1 BB, 2 K’s, .364 avg, .462 OBP, .455 SLG

Robles: 11 AB’s, 5 hits, 3 Runs, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 2 K’s, .455 avg, .455 OBP, 1.000 SLG

Dozier: 10 AB’s, 0 hits, 3 K’s

Gomes: 7 AB’s, 2 hits, 1 Run, 3 K’s, .286 avg, .286 OBP, .429 SLG

Suzuki: 4 AB’s, 0 hits, 1 RBI

Adams: 3 AB’s, 0 hits, 2 K’s

Robles and Turner both with fantastic starts to the year. The speed with those two, plus Eaton’s ability to reach base sets the Nats big boppers up with plenty of RBI opportunity. Unfortunately Zim, Soto, and Rendon were not great out of the gate.

Too many K’s for young Soto, Zim is useless at the plate, and Rendon with a slow start. Again I declare I want more opportunities for Matt Adams. I’m tired of Davey using him in late-inning situations, give the man a full start and let’s see what he does.

Honestly, Trea Turner salvaged this series. If it wasn’t for him destroying the baseball, stealing bases, and saving the day this would have easily been a 0-3 team.

Overall

Grade: C

This was supposed to be a great tune-up opportunity for the Nats before they have to welcome back their former star Bryce Harper, and instead it exposed some immediate flaws with the way this team is built. Offense does not matter if your bullpen can’t contain the other team, and the Nats failed. Saturday and Sunday were both very winnable games (the Nats obviously did take Sunday in walk-off fashion) and now they take on the red-hot Phillies.

It is not time to panic, but this was not exactly the way this team needed to start in order to relax their nervous fanbase.

Next Series:

Nats vs. Phillies

Tuesday, 7:05 PM

Scherzer vs. Eflin

Wednesday, 1:05 PM

Sanchez vs. Nola

“Diehard” Fans Are Disappearing

You want to know what “Grinds My Gears” in the world of sports nowadays? You don’t? Then click off this page because I am going to tell you anyway.

The typical “diehard” fan is fading away. You have people jumping on bandwagon’s left and right in every sport, to where there are close to ZERO true fanbases. You can say places like Philly, Chicago, or even Seattle have the closest thing to “real fans,” yet the numbers still have dwindled. I mention those places because either there is nothing else to do in their town but go to games, they have held on to legacies like “Wrigley Field,” “Michael Jordan,” “We love Rocky! (even though he’s a fictional character),” and/or they want a team so bad they pack Seattle Sounder games with fans to show they’re interest. But sports are now used first and foremost as a social event rather than a rooting interest.

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You see people go to games only to post how “cool” they are going to the game! As you can tell by the example above, no one cares about the game. No one cares about Juan Soto’s triple down the line, or Strasburg’s knee-buckling filth. They only care about eating their churro and Cold Stone waffle cone. Now I love me some ballpark food, but I won’t be posing with a footlong in my picture or doing the “duck face” to post on Instagram.

Now don’t get me wrong. Not everyone has to be sitting down with their lunch pail the following day talking about the box score from last night’s win. But it seems to me that when you look at the spectrum from “diehard” fans who know the players, the game, the rules and enjoy the atmosphere of the event compared to people who show up in business suits to meet with potential clients, or the people who have enough money to sit court side but spend all night texting their friends “am I on TV!?” is favoring the latter.

It irks me a bit because I have never really experienced the days in the ’90s or early 2000’s when technology wasn’t readily available as it is today. I was born in 1991 and went to many Oriole and Redskin games but at that time I wasn’t old enough to get the full affects of the atmosphere itself. I go to too many games where the chatter is about some random bullsh** and not the ENTERTAINMENT that is right in front of you. The closest game, I attended, where the atmosphere was buzzing mostly about the game was Stephen Strasburg’s debut in 2010. You could just hear the sounds of the crowd from the first inning to his last pitch. (Check the Video Below) Now I may be a lunatic with all of these words but the ballpark to me is a safe haven and I want to go to games with people that are invested or at least want to learn the art of the sport, not to get a slushie and corndog to take pictures with.