Pressed for a Chia Pet: Diamondbacks at Nationals 8.5.15

In the spring, I did a story for Flyer News on the Jayson Werth garden gnome, and Paul Fritschner’s experience arriving to the park hours early to be first in line for it. Exactly one year after the gnome-ageddon, the Nationals are giving out 20,000 Jayson Werth Chia Pets. I am credentialed media for the event and and blogging live from the press box at Nationals Park.

This was the scene on half street as we approached:

Half street as we approached

Paul said that it was not nearly as crowded at 4:30 as it was last year for the gnome. Nats Park gates open at 4:30 for 7 pm games. Last year, Paul arrived at approximately 2 pm.

The press box at Nats Park is high above even the 300 level:

Media pass in press box

I was on the field for BP early on:
Nats BP from behind home plate

I tried talking with some fans as well as broadcasters to see if they could give me some extra insight on the Chia Pet, especially after the gnome last season. I talked with FP Santangelo of MASN and Dave Jageler, the radio broadcaster who I met last year with Paul. I’ll be using their quotes for the Flyer News article hopefully.

If any of you are wondering why Werth was made into a Chia Pet, behold:

Jayson Werth with fans

Dan Uggla was friendly, of course, to fans:
Dan Uggla at Nats Park

Paul Goldschmidt also signed for the fans on the field:


Paul Goldschmidt signs autographs

Here’s me and Paul (not Goldschmidt) during batting practice:

Me and Paul at Nats Park BP

Paul acquired two batting practice balls. One was an Ian Desmond homer he caught on the fly. Here he is with it:

Paul with his Desmond HR ball

The Jayson Werth Chia pet:

The Werth Chia

There was a shattered window in the press box. Apparently it occurred when the panes were being slid open or closed. Details unknown.

Shattered window in the Nats Park press box

The Game

Gio Gonzalez pitched a scoreless first for the Nats. Yunel Escobar, who led off last night with a home run, doubled to deep center field in his lead off at bat today.

It’s hard, I can’t clap in the press box because it’s supposed to be neutral territory. I let a single clap slip on the Escobar double. Whoops.

1st inning: The Nats loaded the bases with nobody out in the first. Ryan Zimmerman and Jayson Werth each hit sacrifice flies to right field to make it 2-0 Nats.

3rd inning: The Nationals failed to get a crucial double play, and Arizona took advantage on a sacrifice fly later on to make it 2-1 Washington.

4th inning: The Presidents Race in the middle of the fourth was easily the most entertaining I’ve seen here. Teddy came out dressed as a magician with a magic hat. He stopped four other presidents, put a Chia Pet into the hat, did a wand twirl, and pointed to the bullpen. Abe ran out of the bullpen with a green Chia beard and sprinted to win the race.

7th inning: The Diamondbacks broke out for four runs in the sixth inning to gain a 5-2 advantage. The Nationals had it coming to them however, as they have been out-hit all night. The hit tally currently stands at 12-3 in favor of Arizona (top seventh inning).

8th inning: A side story to each Nationals game from here on out will be scoreboard watching. The Mets are currently leading the NL East after overtaking Washington last weekend. New York squared off against Miami this week, and let’s just say it was not pretty for my Fish. However, the Marlins almost mounted a comeback tonight against New York. They were down 8-0 going into the bottom of the ninth and rallied for six runs. They even got the winning run to the plate with two outs, but could not cap off the comeback. A “Let’s go Marlins” chant broke out in the 300-level as Miami’s score closed in on New York’s in the ninth, but soon deflated. If the Nats lose tonight, they will be two games behind New York in the divison.

Wellington Castillo hit a long home run into the Red Porch in the 8th for Arizona. They now lead 8-2.

9th inning: Arizona has gone up 9-2 after Nats pitcher Felipe Rivero balked with a runner on third. Most fans have left the stadium and it feels like it did back in 2008-09 when Washington struggled to win at all. It would be a good night to be a fan in the seats. Lots of foul balls, not many fans to get them.

An infield single has plated another run for Arizona. It’s 11-2. Diamondbacks have 17 hits. One out in the top of the ninth. Tyler Moore is into pitch!

Moore’s first batter was Paul Goldschmidt. The remaining fans lept into a loud “Let’s Go Tyler!” chant–a little too loud for the number of fans in attendance. Moore induced Goldschmidt into a 5-4 fielder’s choice for the second out of the inning.

Moore then drilled Wellington Castillo, who homered in the eighth (intentional?), then got a line out to secondbaseman Anthony Rendon to end the inning.

Michael A Taylor drilled a two-run homer into the Red Porch with one on and one out in the bottom of the ninth. Jose Lobaton singled before Taylor’s bomb, which landed right at the back of the red seats and in the center of the section. It was very close to the spot that Wellington Castillo hit his.

11-4 Diamondbacks. Final.

View of Nats Park from the press box

Here’s a night shot of the park:

Nats Park from the press box at night

During batting practice, I met a fan on the field who was excited to grow his Chia Werth and said that he had Chia Pets all the time growing up. Here’s a picture he sent me Thursday of his progressing Chia:

Chia Werth in progress

6 thoughts on “Pressed for a Chia Pet: Diamondbacks at Nationals 8.5.15

  1. Were either of Paul’s balls the 10th anniversary ones you’ve been trying to get?

  2. No, they were just normal baseballs. I don’t think the Nats use the special ones during BP.

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