Our 2013 baseball trip took us to Washington to see the Nationals and Baltimore to see the Orioles.

We enjoyed a couple of beautiful days in Washington and on our first morning did a walking tour to see the White House, National Mall and to visit the Air and Space Museum on the Smithsonian campus. Unfortunately, some idiots had thrown paint all over the Lincoln Memorial and it was closed for cleaning the morning we visited so we were not able to get very close to Lincoln’s statue. We then walked past the Washington Monument, which is being repaired following damage it sustained in the August, 2011 earthquake. The custom scaffolding was mighty impressive. We walked to the Air and Space Museum, saw the airplanes, rockets and all the other items on display there and headed back to the hotel. We figured that our walking tour was nearly 8 miles and we were stoked to find a Potbelly around the corner from our hotel so we could sit and enjoy lunch.

We stayed at the Embassy Suites Convention Center on 10th Street. The room was nice but it took several calls to get the air conditioning to work correctly. The room was very stuffy on our first night but the manager comped our parking so that made up for the hassles.

We took the Metro to the game from the Chinatown station and got off at the Navy Yard stop, just blocks from Nationals Park. As you walk towards the park from the train station, you’ll find the Half Street Fairgrounds. This is an open-air beer garden complete with multiple food booths and a stage for live music. Admission is free and the Fairgrounds are open for 2 hours before and after the Nationals games. It looked like a cool place to hang out but the old man in the group really wanted the giveaway t-shirt, so we did not spend much time there.

As you enter the park from centerfield, you’ll find a large plaza with a team store to your right and a number of statutes.

Here is Josh Gibson.

I thought Nationals Park was beautiful and a great place to see a game. We witnessed a low scoring affair but were treated to a walk-off home run by Ryan Zimmerman in the bottom of the ninth that sent the crowd home happy. When you go, you have to try the Half Smoke All the Way. It was the best thing I have ever eaten at a ballgame.

We toured the National History Museum the next morning and were off to Baltimore, less than an hour’s drive.

We stopped for lunch at Frank’s Diner in Jessup, Maryland. It had a great old school feel and even jukeboxes at every booth but we were all very disappointed with the food. I would avoid this place.

For our visit to Baltimore, we arrived at the Holiday Inn Express on Gay Street and checked in just before a massive thunderstorm rolled through. This hotel was in a rundown part of the city and had a criminally tiny parking lot. It was close to the ballpark but I would not recommend walking through that part of town at night.

The rain let up and we made our way to Camden Yards. The game started a little late but we were able to explore Eutaw Street before sitting down for first pitch.

This game featured a match up between two former Cubs starters, Ryan Dempster and Scott Feldman. We got to see Big Papi ejected for arguing balls and strikes and a home run granted on a video replay. The Orioles lost but what an awesome ballpark and experience.

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