The morning of the trip to Washington I was reserved and content on how I thought the day would end up. I really didn’t know what to expect. I’ve never organized such a mass undertaking with being responsible for a large group of people. Also, this is the first time Phillies Nation has ever participated in conducting a roadtrip to a Phillies game in any capacity. By the end of the night I couldn’t believe what had transpired over the course of Saturday June 10th, 2006
It was truly a learning experience for me. I was nervous and sweating bullets the entire time pondering the "What ifs" any given situation which may or may not occur. What if members of the group go missing? What if someone is stabbed? What if Aliens land in left field? Thankfully, only one of the three actually occurred.
The bus arrived around 8:35ish at Lot P of the Phillies Parking Lot and the bus ride down was fun yet uneventful. We arrived to R.F.K. stadium’s parking lot at 12:15 and a bunch of us went inside to check out the stadium and to receive our Chad Cordero bobble head dolls. For those of you who haven’t been to R.F.K. , you aren’t missing anything. It is absolutely the worst stadium you will ever go to. It makes The Vet look like the Sistine Chapel. When walking though the gate I was expecting to be handed a box, instead a voucher that told me that I had to go to the PNC ‘funzone’ to pick up my doll. Just for kicks I headed over there to expect a quick retrieval. To the contrary I was standing at the end of a line that rapped around 5 sections and up a ramp to the next tier of the stadium. I immediately abandoned my plans and went straight to my seats. Handing out a voucher and having thousands of people clog up a concourse to receive bobble heads is the absolute dumbest thing I ever seen. Hey, that’s the Nationals for you. Though the stadium’s amenities were bad and the game day direction was equal horrendous, the view from Section 513 wasn’t that bad. Despite being up top in the Yellow Seats their were great sightlines with no obstruction of the field.
For the first couple of innings it was a really, really boring game. So, we supplemented our boredom by making our own fun. Screech, the eagle mascot of the Washington Nationals, was walking around the sections up top attempting to get the Nats fans hype. When he was approaching 513 he was greeted with boos from our group to the dismay of Screech and the Nationals fans around us. an impromptu chant of "The Phantic Is Better" rang from around us which hurt Screech’s feelings. He flipped us the bird – yes ironic that he did that – and then proclaimed that he had "his eye on us."
I attempted to make a peace offering by screaming down to him to come up and take a picture with us but he was to scared to climb the 11 rows and take the time for a photo.
Up until the 8th inning, the only real action of the game for the Fightin’ Phils was when Cory Lidle drew a walk then eventually scored on a Chase Utley sac fly to left. Lidle also had a no hitter going into the 5th until Marlon Anderson’s double down to left, which could of been more bases if it wasn’t for the ball hitting the edge of the wall that protrudes toward the foul line.
Every time the Phillies started gettin’ something going we got up a "Let’s Go Phillies" chant, which was immediately booed down by the Nationals fans. In retaliation a "Let’s Go Nationals" chant was starting in the section next to us, but it wasn’t loud enough to take notice or even feel threatened by it. Even when the Nationals took the lead for in the 5th it wasn’t a detractor to our enthusiasm for the team. All of our cheering and bashing of the fans took flight when the Phillies dropped a 5 bomb in the 8th.
By this time, every Phillies fan around our sections gravitated toward us to cheer the team on with us. Our group magnified itself 200-percent and they all went crazy went Burrell hit a drive into the Phillies bullpen. By inning’s end, the departing Nationals fans who wanted to beat traffic were serenaded with "Hey Hey Goodbye" song and a chant of "Still The Expos" over and over again.
Flash Gordon retired the bottom of the 9th and we put another one in the win column for the Fightin’ Phils.
And there it was, the first ever Phillies Nation trip. The only real excitement we had group wise was having a couple stragglers come 20 minutes late to the bus. They were lost and we understood, it’s a huge stadium that is confusing to navigate.
Everyone had a great time. I personally believe it was one of the best baseball experiences I have ever been apart of. Hopefully the word of the time Phillies Nation puts on grows and we can get even more people next time around.