Hot Stove in the District, part 2 of 2

This is the second article about the Nationals Hot Stove panel discussion for full season ticket holders held on January 28.  The focus here is on “off the field” stuff.

The Nationals customer relations staff stepped up their complimentary light food and beverages menu compared to years past.  Beef sliders, warm pretzels with your choice of beer infused cheese or spicey mustard. Fresh popcorn bags, and the obligatory peanuts (peeled and bagged!) and cracker jack. Plenty of soft drinks, bottled water, and ice available too.

Batting leadoff, Mike Carney, Executive Vice President, Business Strategy and Operations gave a short outline of the proceedings. Carney and all who followed him expressed sincere gratitude to the full plan holders seated around the low-rise stage.


In the second slot was Ryan Bringger, Vice President, Ticket Sales and Service. Bringger was hyped about some of the promotional calendar items displayed on the TV screens spread around the upper walls. Here are just a few of the highlights:

  1. STAR WARSTM Day featuring dueling Hawaiian shirts (Dark side vs Light Side) May 20 vs Detroit.
  2. Eighteen “college days” (Hello Syracuse and Baylor!).
  3. “City Connect” tee, fedora, and beer stein.

Within the team store, new apparel offerings from Erin Andrews and Darius Rucker will be available.  Bringger also noted a couple of cool new items in 2023.  In addition to the Washington Senators, gear from the Homestead Grays and Montreal Expos will be on sale. Count me as excited for this development.

Giving Back

Batting third was Gregory McCarthy, Senior VP, Community Engagement.  McCarthy gave an impressive overview of the youth baseball movement that the Nationals  sponsor in the District, Maryland, and Virginia. The key donation since 2015 has been jerseys.  They are all different colors or styles, which is important for the recipients within the 30 leagues in the tri-state area.  Basic “Curly W’s” in a multitude of colors, Camo, and City Connect round out the variety of tees supplied.

The Nationals “Team Up” with INOVA and provide the tops and caps to the 18,000 youth players annually.  In the first 4 years of these donations, member leagues saved nearly 1 million dollars. Every player also receives two free tickets for a ball game and regular visits from Nationals players.

Covering the Bases

McCarthy then discussed what the Nationals do for service members and their families. In terms of experiences, “Nats on Base” is offered to all military personnel living on any of the thirteen regional bases.  To enhance the quality of their work lives, the service men and women take the playing field for regular physical training, including running the steps at Nationals Park.

McCarthy then talked about the “Battle of the Bases,” an intramural league for whom the Nats donate another 3,000 jerseys and caps.  In the championship game last October, Joint Base Andrews Tech. Sgt. Garrett Rayfield jacked the first ever over-the-fence “soft ball” homerun at Nats Park in an 11-9 victory.  Dude sent the 4-inch ball above the railing in left field.

Avoiding the Summer Slide

Lastly, McCarthy described how the Nationals also get involved with K-12 education in terms of reading.  In this case, the Nationals help with trying to avoid a “summer slide” whereby students can lose five to six months of reading comprehension. The seven regional libraries co-sponsor with the Nats to incentivize reading by offering prizes and free game tickets for about 14,000 kids.

To promote literacy and reading during the summer months, a Nationals player hosts an hour-long program in the conference center at Nats Park . The Library of Congress, Smithsonian, National Children’s Museum, and National Geographic are other co-sponsors.  Sean Doolittle has been a mainstay during “Summer Reading Sundays.”

Tough Ticket to Williamsport

In an e-mail to Nationals plan holders, the Nationals ticketing office provided an update regarding the MLB Little League Classic game between the Nationals and Phillies on August 20th, 2023, in Williamsport, Pennsylvania:

“In keeping with the spirit of the game, the participating players, coaches, and families of the 2023 Little League Baseball World Series are granted access to Bowman Field’s limited seating capacity. As such, MLB is unable to allot any tickets to Nationals plan holders, including those who originally had the August 20 game included in their season plan schedules.”

Key upcoming Dates:

  • February 15: Pitchers and Catchers report
  • February 21: Rest of the team reports
  • February 25: First spring training opener @ Cards
  • March 28: Exhibition vs NY Yankees at Nats Park
  • March 30: Home Opening Day vs Atlanta
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Dominic Toto

Blogging about the Nats since 2022. Nats nut since 2004. Once hit a batting practice ball that cleared the infield dirt at Nationals Park. On a fly.

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