A home opener is every reason for happiness

Seeing a great smile can turn your day around, and never is that idea more true than when the smile comes from the biggest loser in town.

Thursday morning was a rough one at work: three hours of staring at a screen and trying to diagnose a problem that was a combination of the world’s most annoying hidden tags and Firefox’s awkward puberty. While the work led to a solution, my eyes began to weaken and worry.

But then I left. I had planned weeks earlier my first hours off of 2012, comp time for double projects last month. I left the building through a back door, walked the three blocks to Mt. Vernon Square’s Metro and walked into the Nationals’ ballpark 20 minutes later for Opening Day.

Just inside, there was Teddy, smiling because spring had come.

Buddy Jeff and I sat in the lower bowl in left, and my parents sat a few sections over. The crowd wasn’t a sellout, but it was good for a home opener a week into the year. The pretzel stand behind left continued to be my favorite, adding Blue Moon’s nice spring beer to its offerings.

I didn’t attempt the new eight-pound Strasburger, like these guys did. I thought it was a bad idea to try and eat something bigger than the “Old 96er” John Candy ate in Great Outdoors. Also, I would have died.

The Racing Presidents ran through left field instead of right, a nice way to keep the race fresh. And they came near our seats. But of course…

My phone ran out of battery shortly after the race, but you saw in the paper how the game turned out. We blew a 2-0 lead in the ninth, and our hero, Ryan Zimmerman, was the closest thing to the culprit in the situation. But in the bottom of the 10th, with two outs and the stadium on its feet, the Reds pitcher threw a wild one, and an alert Zimmerman ran in from third for the run and win. High fives resounded in our row.

Other highlights? Our new No. 2 starter, Gio Gonzalez, was fun to see. In seven shutout innings for us, he struck out seven, gave up two hits and walked none. He had a detective air — half scrutinizing, half aloof — except for when he singled and had a Racing-Teddy-like smile. And Craig Stammen had an absolutely beautiful top of the 10th. I’d never seen a 10-pitch, three-strikeout inning before. (Would I ever again?)

Jeff and I walked up to Capitol South after and caught Metro there. I returned to work for a couple hours, staying late. Didn’t mind it a bit.

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