NatsFanZone Interview: Meet “Rita 103,” NATS fan (52 games last year)
You won’t be surprised that Rita sits in section 103 (and shares some other seats in 100 with friends) in left field…near the Red Porch and Brew House, putting her close, by the way, to Jayson Werth on whom her granddaughter has a big crush (for Rita, he is “Werth-more” or “Werth-less,” depending on the day). She likes the “straight on” view from 103, and the easy in/out entrance for her “bum knee.”
Rita has had the half season package for 6 years, before that shared with her daughters-in-law, and went to 52 games last year. The NATS became her #1 team when they drafted Ryan Zimmerman, “the epitome of class;” she is excited to see #11 injury-free (and doing great) this season. She has also enjoyed watching Bryce Harper grow up from a teenager to a “tough young man.”
Some of Rita’s Favorite Past NATS: Chad Cordero, Livan Hernandez, Pudge Rodriguez, Mike Morse, Tyler Clippard, Alfonso Soriano and Nyjer Morgan.
How did Rita 103 became a huge baseball fan? Rita grew up outside Pittsburgh (isn’t everyone in D.C. from Pittsburgh?) and was a huge Pirates fan. She played baseball, had her own equipment and learned from her dad. Though she had big hopes, she grew up in a different “boys only” era but settled for team water girl (with her own hat!)….she has great memories of those days at the field.
Her dad took her to old Forbes Field where she got to see the greats like Clemente, Mazeroski, Haddox, Groat, Virdon and Elroy Face, sitting in the sunny bleachers with her dad. Her dad had one rule: she had to score the games (or he wouldn’t take her again); dad was the official scorer for the local Little League. She learned at age 6 or 7 and, to this day, scores every game she attends. She managed her son’s team but her coaching career did not last long as she was again a bit ahead of her time on mom-coaching.
Why she loves baseball: “I love the beauty, psychology and complexity of baseball.” Sharing baseball with her grandchildren has become a great bonding experience, sitting through rain, drizzle, cold and heat with her. Her 12-year old granddaughter loves baseball and she’s the one who also loves Jayson Werth (who plays right in front of their seats). Rita’s husband, Dave, also from Pittsburgh, has stuck with the hometown team and accompanies when the Pirates are in town (he just sort of shakes his head over Rita and her NATS thing). Dave’s attendance has been good for the NATS side, however (Pirates have yet to win a game he has attended), so we encourage Dave to show up more often.
NATS and Nationals Park:
Red Carpet Rewards: Rita and her friends enjoy the Red Carpet Rewards; she is in a network with her seat-mates to keep track of all the codes. Sometimes they bring food and other times they eat in the Brew House or from nearby concessions. She had to give up beer a few years back (allergies, ugh) so complains more about the price of water now….like most fans, she brings her own bottle.
NATS Staff: Her experience with the NATS staff and employees has been great: very friendly and helpful NATS staff at the park, and her ticket agent, Brandon, has been “terrific.”
Bob & FP & Charlie & Dave: Rita loves Bob Carpenter & FP Santangelo (who doesn’t) with their teachable moments, and she usually listens to Charlie Slowes & Dave Jaegler on her old Walkman at the games. She enjoys learning baseball facts, stats and arcane baseball – the stuff reserved for “crazed fans.”
Pay attention MLB: Like the rest of us, she dislikes “having to listen to other announcers (ESPN, etc) doing NATS games; they don’t know the nuts and bolts, quirks of our team.”
Pay attention NATS Execs – Rita’s Pet Peeves:
Fans walking up and down the aisles during at bats.
Visiting opponent fans heckling Werth (we know who they are).
Kids food: the NATS need more concession packages for kids. Kid food and kids prices; other parks have much lower prices.
Water: the price is outrageous.
Rita is proud to be a NATS fan and is looking forward to the playoffs (World Series!) and All-Star game next year.
Thanks, Rita 103, for our first NatsFanZone Fan Interview!