Meet the Grounds Crew

Sloan Baker is a pre-law student at the University of the District of Columbia in Washington, D.C. Originally from Brooklyn Heights, N.Y., he has been in Washington since 1988 and an avid Nationals fan since Day 1. He currently lives in Chinatown and is a season ticket holder in section 109. He is also co-host of "It's Your Business", a student-run consumer advocacy television show on Channel 19 in D.C.

Carol and Tom Brooke of Falls Church, Va., hold season tickets in Section 314 of the upper deck behind home plate. Carol, 38, grew up watching the Orioles at Memorial Stadium and spent several years in Southern California, occasionally enjoying Dodger Dogs at Dodger Stadium. Tom, 48, learned to keep score from his mother at his first baseball game at RFK almost 40 years ago. They will be joined by their daughter Libby, who will be a year and half on Opening Day, and another daughter to be born in April.

Tom and Carol have high hopes for the food and food service at Nationals Park and hope to make friends with at least one beer vendor. Carol intends to roam the concourses with the kids to check out the facilities. Tom looks forward to seeing if vendors make it around to their seats regularly, as he does not want to miss the action on the field.

Emilie Cole's first ever baseball game was Opening Day 2005 and she's been hooked on the Nats ever since, including a 2-year stint rooting from San Francisco. She recently returned to the Deece and looks forward to getting sunburned from Section 321 while sipping $8 beers. You can read more from Emilie on her regular column at

Kyra DeBlaker-Gebhard, a Washingtonian by way of Cherry Hill, N.J., moved to the District in 2004 and quickly became a Nats fan when the team made its debut in 2005. Kyra, a resident of Capitol Hill, is expecting her first child at the end of the regular season, but before the Nats' newest fan arrives, she looks forward to many summer evenings at the park with her husband, tasting the local offerings and rooting for the home team from section 305.

Gillum Ferguson is a 17-year-old from Arlington. He has been passionate about baseball since he went to his first game at Camden Yards as a toddler and loves the Nats almost as much as Peter Angelos loves destroying a franchise. He will be sitting in section 221 in the new stadium, so feel free to talk to or argue with him (he enjoys both).

JP Finlay, 26, grew up in purgatory as a baseball fan in D.C. Throughout childhood, JP would make the trip up I-95 to Camden Yards, though he always desired a team to call his own. A season ticket holder since the Nationals' inception, JP looks forward to finding the coldest beer, loudest section and best hot dog Nationals Park has to offer. JP has seats directly behind the visitor's bullpen, and looks forward to some summertime heckling.

Rachel Gibson, 39, lives in the District and sits in section 202 with her friends Amy and Diego. Rachel's first game as a kid was at the Braves' Fulton County Stadium. She thought she loved the Braves for life, but when the Nationals showed up in her newly beloved city, she turned coat without blinking an eye. Her family claims to have forgiven her, but she suspects that will change when the Nationals take the division.

Dick Ireland, 59, of Chevy Chase, is a lifelong baseball fan from Baltimore and a Washington-area resident since 1972. During the day, he works on ship designs at the Navy Yard, which resulted in him taking a real interest in the remake of the ballpark neighborhood. Between Baltimore and Washington, he attends about 20 ballgames a year. He's been a Nationals patron since the team arrived. This year, he'll get to the games by public transportation and will watch from section 320.

Peter Kahn is 58 years old and has been a baseball fan since first attending a Senators game with his dad at Griffith Stadium. Commuting from Fairfax to RFK was a breeze, so he hopes the new trip is not too much longer. He plans to try the RFK shuttle, Metro, and maybe even biking in from some point. Looking forward to the better food choices, better service and checking out the view from section 203.

David Park, 31, loves a good hot dog and a beer on a hot summer afternoon in a beautiful ballpark. He considers Wrigley Field a monument rather than a place to watch a game. He's also a connoisseur of great hot dogs, brats and condiments. In other words, he loves food. David lives in Fairfax.

Ed Ramras grew up in Queens, N.Y., and spent his teen years in the $1.30 general admission seats in Shea Stadium, leaving for college in Michigan just in time to miss the Mets winning the World Series. He has lived in six other major league markets (including that of the Seibu Lions) and came to the D.C. area 10 years ago. He never had season tickets for a sports team until this year. He looks forward to sharing this season at Nationals Park with Grounds Crew readers -- and maybe getting to the World Series in a year or two! Ed, 56, lives in Montclair, Va., and has seats in section 419.

When baseball returned to D.C., Michael Solem started up the G-Nats, a club for gay Nationals fans. The G-Nats appreciate everything from Zimmerman's penchant for knickers and stirrups to a well-executed 6-4-3 double play. So, from finding the coldest and strongest beer to winning arguments with Mets fans (hint: be polysyllabic), Michael looks forward to sharing his ideas for enhancing the Nationals Park experience. Pitchers, catchers and margaritas, oh my! Michael is 36, lives in Washington, D.C., and will watch the Nats from section 223.

Derek Teslik was born and raised in the D.C. area. Growing up, he fell in love with the Orioles at Memorial Stadium and out of love with the team at Camden Yards. He has lived in St. Louis and Los Angeles but has returned to D.C., he thinks, for good. Baseball came back to the city around the same time he returned, and the Nationals have helped him build a new life in his old home town. Derek, 30, has seats in section 116.

Scott Watson, 48, of Prince William County, is an independent-record producer and musician. He keeps his day job as an appellate litigator. When Scott was 10, he saw his first Senators game on a beautiful August day at RFK, and he fell in love. A month later, the team moved to Texas. Grudgingly following the Orioles and his hero Dennis Martinez, Scott waited - and waited - for baseball's return. He intends to experience everything the Nats and D.C. offer from section 241 this season.

Greg Young is a student at Annandale High School, where he is the sports editor on the school's nationally recognized newspaper, the A-Blast. He holds season tickets in section 132, and he looks forward to blogging about all the various features of the new stadium, including the food, guest services and other amenities. As a fan of the Nationals for all their three years in D.C., he loves the nostalgic and relaxed feel of watching a baseball game and is curious to see how the atmosphere in Nationals Park will compare with that of RFK.

By editors  |  March 26, 2008; 9:08 AM ET  | Category:  About this Blog
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Please email us to report offensive comments.

So lets see....our bloggers consist of a Braves fan, a Mets fan, a SF fan, a Dodger fan and a few O's fans. Hmmm, can we call them the Bandwagonners instead of the grounds crew?

Posted by: Fushezzi | March 31, 2008 10:31 AM

Real classy of Nats fans to boo President Bush last night. Nice way to show your appreciation for the leader of our country, as he takes time out from his insanely busy schedule the night before he travels to Europe for a NATO summit.

Whether you agree with his policies or not--you do not boo the president of the United States at a baseball game. He did not have to be there. The Nationals wanted him to be there, and he made the opener a lot more "special" for the Nats and most of their fans by taking part in the pregame ceremonies, throwing out the first pitch, and staying for most of the game.

And for this--he was greeted with loud boos by the Nats faithful. Great way to kick off the new stadium douche bags, showing the world how classless and petty you are.

Posted by: Barno | March 31, 2008 11:13 AM

To the previous poster, keep your right wing propoganda to yourself. Yeah, the Prez prob shouldnt have been booed but he was, its over, get over it. In some circles Booo is a good thing.

Posted by: Fushezzi | March 31, 2008 1:32 PM

Uh oh. Sounds like a race war is heating up. Now that's what I call a sticky situation!

Posted by: Fushezzi | March 31, 2008 2:35 PM

"Pitchers, catchers and margaritas, oh my!" ... huh? Could someone please tell me what exactly is the purpose of Michael Solem's blog? I don't think being gay provides a different or special baseball game experience. What does sexual preference have to do with attending a sporting event?

Perhaps it's there to break some kind of stereotype -- sadly though, it looks like instead it's reinforcing another one.

(btw, nice job slipping in the term, "pitchers and catchers" ... yeah, we get it.)

Posted by: Perez | March 31, 2008 4:00 PM

@Fushezzi: Find a true baseball fan who didn't root for any team before the Nats came to town. Being a lifelong Yankees fan doesn't make me any less of a Nationals fan.

@Barno: Many Americans do not like or respect this President, some even feel that he has damaged the country, and they have to right to boo him whenever and wherever they choose. It's not due to any lack of class (and I'm not sure where you get "petty"), it's due to living in a free country. Frankly I feel that dead silence would have been more effective, which is why I neither booed nor applauded. How busy he is or whether he "had" to be there has nothing to do with it.

Posted by: Section 312 | April 2, 2008 5:07 PM

david...seems like you like a good hotdog. where's a good place to get one?

Posted by: kjundo | April 3, 2008 11:44 AM

Section 312...being a Yankees fan not only makes you less of a Nats fan, it makes you the enemy. If they Yanks ever come to DC to play, you will be sitting in your seats at Nats Park cheering for the opposing team. That much is true.

Posted by: Fushezzi | April 10, 2008 3:20 PM

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