ENGAS: The Comeback

Every Nats Game's A Story is our project aimed at describing what it's like to be a Nats fan, one game at a time, from the voices of those who experienced it. Today's story comes from Tolu Sogunro, also known as @DArkMeathook on Twitter.

I saw the Washington Nationals come back from their biggest deficit and it was AWESOME!

The story probably starts the previous day on April 27th, 2015. I flew down to Atlanta to watch my team play. I try to see the Nationals play on the road at least once a year in an effort to go to all 30 MLB stadiums. I am currently at 11 stadiums (9 active since Yankee Stadium and RFK no longer host baseball). That day, I saw the Nats play and lose 8-4. It was not a good game. Normally reliable Doug Fister was not reliable. The defense was still shaky with 4 errors. The offense (which usually stinks in April) was OK but it was not enough to overcome the pitching and defense. The Nats were supposed to slaughter everybody in the NL East enroute to their 3rd NL East title and they were in last place. I was sick of hearing “The Chop.” I was cold, hungry and tired since I had been up since 6 AM. If I could be anywhere, or anyone else, I might've taken that opportunity.

That opportunity came.

While walking back to my airbnb, a guy tried to sell me a social security card. I thought about taking him up on his offer, and the new identity (maybe the new me could be a Braves fan), but I declined. I got back to my place, put on a jacket, walked a mile to Waffle House in the middle of the night, got some steak and hash browns, walked back and then slept in a very warm bed. At least I wasn't going to be cold, hungry and tired in the morning. The other problems had to wait until tomorrow evening to solve.

If anyone could solve shaky a defense, it would be staff ace Max Scherzer. He's getting paid $15 million a year for 14 years. He can do anything! All day, I was looking forward to seeing him on the mound but then I checked the lineup right before going to Turner Field, and saw that A.J. Cole would be starting in place. I wanted to see what he could do since I like seeing new players but I was disappointed that I would not see the $210 million man with multicolored eyes.

I got to Turner Field and the first thing I did was get the Grand Slam Dog I had heard about on the Braves pregame show the day before. This was a half-pound hot dog with peppers, onions, vidalia relish, bacon, sauerkraut, chili and cheese. This was heaven in a bun. Next, I went down to my seat, which was in left field, right behind Jayson Werth. The team was still doing batting practice. I saw Gio Gonzalez shag some fly balls, and (playfully) yelled at him when he tossed a ball to a Braves fan and not me. Thankfully, bullpen catcher Sam Palace had my back and tossed me a ball. Later on, since I was right by the Nats bullpen, Octavio Martinez tossed me a ball unsolicited because of my Nats hat. We shared a laugh over my nonexistent catching skills. I also met up with @PracticalWalri, who drove from North Carolina to be at this game. I thought this was a good omen, I had a great dinner, I got 2 balls from the Nats and I met up with a twitter friend.

For a while it was. Bryce Harper had an RBI double in the first and might have scored if Nick Markakis hadn't made an amazing catch on Ryan Zimmerman's liner. But then the Braves struck back with 2 runs in the first and some bad pitching, bad defense and questionable managerial decisions made it 9-1 by the bottom of the second inning. It was looking like a repeat of last night. I thought about leaving, since I wanted to go to Vortex Bar & Grill during my trip, but I decided not to since the people around me were cool. One Braves fan said he likes Bryce Harper because he plays the game right. Eventually, the fact that it was a blowout and there was some drizzle, made it so that they left and the drunken idiots replaced them.

By the 7th inning, the score was Nats 10, Braves 12, so there was a chance. By then, the drunkards and idiots in LF had taken over, cursing at Jayson Werth in Spanish, saying that he sucked and talking about his family. Top of the 9th came around, and former Brave Dan Uggla was at the plate with 2 men on. Dan Uggla is probably the only person who could beat Bryce Harper in a booing contest in Atlanta, so when he hit a 3 run home run to give the Nats a 13-12 lead, I was excited but all the energy in Turner Field evaporated. The ball landed 2 or 3 sections over from me and I was ecstatic. Drew Storen closed it out in a relatively uneventful bottom of the 9th inning and I stood up and gloated. A Braves fan sarcastically congratulated me for being tied for 4th place and I laughed. Afterwards, I got some brisket and moonshine from a place right across from Turner Field and celebrated the victory. I'm glad I didn't change identities!

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