Royalty Tours USA

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Royalty spends the last weekend in July in Washington DC watching baseball & soccer!

Saturday morning July 27th I got up early so I could take public transportation out to Avis on Long Island in New Hyde Park which is right near where I used to live. I decided to rent a car for the weekend so I could see the Mets play the Nationals in our Nation's Capitol. In addition, I went to see a soccer game too. More importantly, I was hoping to see some people I know who live down there.

I wound up getting a Chevy Impala which was equipped with an XM radio. With that being said, I had the luxury of listening to all kinds of different music and sports. It worked out really well. Since they gave me a car with a half a tank of gas, I had to stop to get more on my way down. I did that at a familiar place. I went to Wawa's in Elkton, Maryland.

I ran into some pockets of traffic along the way but luckily I was able to park the car on the street for free within walking distance of Nationals Park, home of the Washington Nationals. I was considering parking by RFK Stadium where the DC United play soccer since I was going to see them after the baseball game. I would have taken the Metro to Nationals Park. Since I was pressed for time, I decided to drive straight through.

Prince Outside Nationals Park

The King and our pal Vincent Ascanio were already down in Washington because they went to the day night doubleheader that was played on Friday. They stayed over in the area. By doing so, they got to the ballpark early. As a result, they were able to get to $5 tickets at the box office a few hours before the game started. They were able to get me one as well. As I like to say, teamwork makes the dream work. I wound up parking the car at 2:46PM. I called the King and he met me at the gate at the ballpark at 3PM. He passed me out the ticket. Shortly thereafter, I met up with a young lady named Neva outside the ballpark by the team store. She was with her cousin and a friend of hers. They couldn't make the game due to a prior engagement. She met me because I arranged to get a picture signed that she had taken with Gio Gonzalez at one of his foundation's functions. I told her I was going to do my best for her. True to my word, I did indeed. When I saw Gio at Citi Field at the end of June, he signed it. Being the special person he is, he said he remembered her when I asked him. When Neva found out that I got it signed, she was lost for words. She was so happy. She couldn't thank me enough. She told me I made her entire summer. I didn't do anything special. I just asked Gio to sign the picture I printed out in color for her. Thankfully I was able to see him in order for him to do so. When I told her I got it for her, she wanted to know how she could get it. I told her we can meet at the ballpark. True to my word, we did. Ironically the other day she told me she bought a frame for it. That put a big smile on my face. Thanks to me, she now has an autographed framed picture of her and Gio. It's amazing how a small gesture can go so far in someone else's life. With that being said, I feel so good. I know I made a difference just by being who I am.

Gio Gonzalez on cover of Nationals' program
After we spoke briefly, I walked into the ballpark so I could see the game. I stayed downstairs for the first inning then I went upstairs to stand under the press box with the King by section 312. Shortly thereafter, we got a surprise visit by our friend Joe Rossi who came down for the game with a few buddies of his. As always, it was a pleasure to see him again. Later in the game, I got a visit from another person I knew. I'm referring to fellow ballpark chaser David Cordell who came by with his son Sam. Ironically they saw Gio Gonzalez before the game on the field. Since they have season tickets for the Nationals, they were able to take part in a special meet the players event. David said and I quote "Gio signed autographs for everybody who was there." I wasn't shocked at all. That's the Gio I know & love as a baseball player and a fellow human being. He's an inspiration to others. David also told me that his son Sam who is autistic was going to Gio's Special Camp in August. Sam is a lucky child even though he has a disability. He's blessed with great parents. David's wife, Janice who I met at Citi Field in April is a baseball fan too. She stayed at their seats while they came over special to see me. I want to personally thank David for being so kind & thoughtful.

As for the game we saw, the Nationals hit three home runs off Mets' starter Dillon Gee that afternoon. Ian Desmond & Denard Span hit back to back homers in the second inning and Bryce Harper hit a two run homer to back the great pitching that day by starter Dan Haren who was finally on his game. As a result, the Nationals went on to beat the Mets, 4-1. It should be noted that the King, Vincent & I left the game in the bottom of the eighth inning when the sky opened up. The game wound up being delayed an hour and two minutes. They were going to Baltimore to see the Orioles play the Red Sox at Camden Yards on their way home & I decided to go to see the DC United play the New England Revolution in a soccer match at RFK Stadium.

When I got to the parking lot, I heard the end of the baseball game I left. Nothing special happened so I'm glad I did what I did. I parked in Lot 8 since Neva told me that's where the supporters hang out before the game. Mother nature dampened the party atmosphere somewhat. Since I needed a ticket for the game, I decided to go inside so I could relax before the game started once I got one. I wound up buying a ticket outside from someone for $15. It worked out well since the seat was located by mid field so I had a good view of the action. By going there, I was able to say that I've now seen three different sports in RFK Stadium. In 1996, I saw a Redskins game and in 2005, 2006 & 2007 I saw 20 Nationals' games there. It was great timing because the week before I read that they're building a new stadium for the United so their days are numbered at RFK. That sealed the deal for me. I decided I'm definitely going to see that game. In addition, I needed a break from baseball.

Prince at RFK Stadium for DC United
As for the game I saw, I finally saw my first ever goal in an outdoor soccer game in the 8th minute as Luis Silva of the United scored to make it 1-0. In the second half, the Revolution, got even and then some as they went on to beat the United, 2-1. The best part of the game was that at 9PM it was over. They play two 45 minute halves in running time. They usually add on some extra time but in general soccer matches are played in a timely fashion. On this night, I was tired and hungry so I wanted to take care of my body. After the game, I did just that. I drove to Jessup, Maryland where I spent the night at Knights Inn. They also had a Country Pride restaurant there which was open so after I checked in, I went there & I had a hearty dinner.

Live action from DC United game
After I got a good night sleep, I went back there for breakfast. When I got done, I went to Nationals Park to see the Nationals wrap up their weekend series with the Mets. I bought a $5 ticket at the box office & I went inside when the gates opened. I was hoping to see Gio Gonzalez again but there was no batting practice so I was unable to see him. I plan to catch up with him at Citi Field in September when the Nationals return to NYC.

Prince at Nationals Park on Sunday
As for the game I saw, the Nationals took batting practice during the game as they went on to whip the Mets, 14-1. Wilson Ramos hit a grand slam to lead the offensive explosion.

As for the traditional President's race, Abe Lincoln aka Honest Abe won that.

After the game, I drove back home. On the way back, I stopped off at Golden Corral where I helped myself to happiness in Bensalem, Pennsylvania. It was a perfect to end off another memorable weekend.

Stay tuned for my w/o 7/29 in review as I slowly but surely play catch up. Please bear with me.

Thank you for reading & following along.

Yours truly,

Gary Herman

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