On a lazy Saturday morning, while I was sort of listening to Mike Wallace on “Nats Talk” talk about how pitchers prepare for Spring Training, I got a message from Steve M. with an invite from Bob (Section 222) to Mike Rizzo’s Hot Stove meeting. Luckily my hot water and printer were both functioning. A quick shower, print the ticket and, off to the Park.
I literally forgot my usual route, that’s how unfocused I’ve been in the off-season. But I got there in plenty of time. The Park was neat, clean, and COLD. The cherry trees don’t even have buds.
Hundreds of people made the same trek to Nats Park for this event on February 6th. Here they are in the Norfolk Southern Club in front of me, (and behind me—not pictured).
Valerie Camillo, Chief Revenue & Marketing Officer for the Nats, spoke first. She triple-warned us against making videos, but said photos were OK. I took notes. Some items of interest.
- The slogan is “Countdown to One.” A little ambiguous, apparently deliberately so. Right now we are counting down to Opening Day, I guess.
- The Budweiser Clydesdales will be at the Home Opener. That’s because the Nats have a marketing partnership with Budweiser. This changes some vendor placement, Be reassured you can still buy beer of various kinds.
- You can use e-cash at Shake Shack (I didn’t know you couldn’t last year) and Shake Shack will be expanded into its next door neighbor’s space (they’ll be relocated). That will mean less wait time in line. Maybe, but it doesn’t seem to work that way when they expand I-66.
- Some of the more celebrity=chef type options will be offered on the Gallery Level. The Gallery Level will be great. Just so you know.
- We had a fashion show to select some items of clothing for the Team Store by audience vote. I couldn’t see the models very well, but I assume those who could choose, chose wisely.
- Got to the subject of bobbleheads, gnomes and Elfs. Gnomes have to have beards, a rule neither I nor Valerie was aware of. The mention of a Papelbon bobblehead got really loud boos. Regrettably, a Papelbon voodoo doll doesn’t seem to be an option. People are in favor of a Michael A. Taylor bobblehead.
- Something like 50% of Red Carpet Rewards go unredeemed. Therefore, they are adding more chotchkes. Since I use all my RCR for extra game tickets I can’t see how this affects me.
- Speaking of things that don’t affect me, the PNC Diamond Club is being expanded and the overflow won’t have to use the tent. The tent will be used for something else. Either that’s a surprise or I forgot to make a note of it.
- Every Little League team in the District wore Nats uniforms and used equipment supplied by the team. They are going to expand the program into northern Virginia (Fairfax County). No one wants to see Little League Pirates uniforms anywhere in the DMV, now, do they?
- Valerie recommended that you Google Harper’s MVP jacket. Here, I saved you the trouble.
- While not forgetting its District roots (“Liberty and Justice play ball”) the team is looking to be a “regional” sports team. I take it the “region” is northern Virginia, because not a word was mentioned about Maryland or Prince George’s County.
- There will be Theme Days. Bryce Harper suggested a “Rat Pack” day, and what Harper wants, Harper gets. (You think the Yankees will be like that, kid?).
- There still be special ticket days (such as Yoga). This year there will be a pre-game Food Tasting special ticket day, a “Taste of the World.”
- Yes, there will be a Kids’ Day this season.
My Part II will be focused on Mike Rizzo. This piece was really about Valerie Camillo’s portion. Laura aka ArVaFan and Don and Bob aka Section222 also posted up their notes, and this is just a different take on the same event. Hope you enjoy.