With more than 40,000 folks in the building, it figures there'd be a few of the unusual type of fans. Here are their stories. (The usual type of fans, by the way, are the kind that were giving Daniel Cabrera mock cheers after strikes. By the second inning. And booing
Ronnie Belliard Anderson Hernández by the third.)
Above, meet Suzanne Igo of Manhattan Beach and Colleen Kennedy of Ashburn, both 26. Last year, they got extremely into the Nats and Nats Park, and went to every home game from July through September. They also started making these massive two-yard banners, often celebrating the team's lesser stars. "Shell Rings My Bell," for Steven. "Lastings All Night Long," for Milledge.
("It's kind of dirty, but we tried to make it family friendly," Suzanne said of the latter.)
The signs came with glitter--"pounds, probably," Suzanne said--and the glitter ended up over all their friends' houses. They made 20 banners last year, three more for today's opener. Except the interesting part is Suzanne now lives in L.A., so she flew cross-country for the opener, and is then heading straight back to SoCal. Uh, really?
"Yup," she confirmed. "I am the Nats SuperFan. Last year was like the best summer of my life, coming to all the games, so I had to come to Opening Day. Then I'll go home and go back to work."
As you might have noticed, they also came in special Nats snuggies.
"We didn't want to be cold," Colleen said.
"And with the snuggie, you can high-five, you can have a drink, you can do everything, because it's a blanket with arms," Suzanne added. "Why not make it a Nationals snuggie?"
Indeed. Moving on to Jimmy Cirrito. You might know him as the owner of Jimmy's Old Town Tavern in Herndon, but he also helps run the fastest bartender contest. So he's at Crystal City Sports Pub last year, and Dmitri Young and Ray King happen by, and Ray is wearing this t-shirt, which might be the best LOOGY t-shirt in the history of the world. Ray asked to be a part of the fastest bartender contest.
"I'm like, 'Bro, I need a shirt, I need a shirt,' " Jimmy recalled. "He said it was the only one he had. I said if I had it I'd wear it to all the games. Three hours later he handed me the shirt. God bless Ray King, I wish I knew where he was."
The Ray King shirt is signed. Jimmy, in turn, presented Ray with an autographed Jimmy's Old Town Tavern hat.
Finally, presenting Rich Mahon. Last year, he mounted a Nats-uniform-wearing Mr. Potato Head on his Nats' helmet. This year he wanted to do something different. Since center field's plaza is now occupied by those superhuman statues of Josh Gibson and Frank Howard, Rich affixed these action figures to his helmet. That made him an extremely popular fellow among the news crews today. I asked him why he did it.
"Attract attention, I guess," he said. "I don't know. Everybody's got something going on for Opening Day."*
* Offer does not necessarily include Daniel Cabrera.
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