The Nationals and Cubs open their best-of-five National League Division Series on Friday at Nationals Park. The NL East champion Nats are seeking their first playoff series win in their fourth postseason appearance. The NL Central champion Cubs are looking to avoid a first-round exit after winning their first World Series title in 108 years. Here’s your guide to Game 1.
First pitch: 7:31 p.m.
TV: TBS (Ernie Johnson and Ron Darling on the call; Sam Ryan reporting)
Radio: 106.7 The Fan
Gates: All gates will open at 5:30 p.m. on Friday.
Giveaway: Red and white “K” cards will be given to fans at all gates. Scanning the back of the card with your phone or smart device will reveal an augmented reality feature. (The Minnesota Vikings have done something similar with their game programs this season.) Strasburg struck out 13 Cubs in his only start against Chicago this season, so the cards could be put to good use.
Pregame ceremonies: Congressional staffer Zack Barth and lobbyist Matt Mika, who were among those injured in the shooting during a congressional baseball practice in June, will deliver the lineup card. U.S. Navy Master Chief Petty Officer Wes Tavares will deliver the game ball. D.C. Mayor Muriel E. Bowser will shout “Play Ball!” House Majority Whip Stephen Scalise (R-La.), injured in a shooting during practice for the Congressional Baseball Game in June, will throw out the ceremonial first pitch and the U.S. Army Chorus Quartet will perform the national anthem.
The Nationals will hold a moment silence for the victims of Sunday’s Las Vegas shooting. A PSA featuring Las Vegas natives Bryce Harper and Kris Bryant encouraging fans to donate to victims of the shooting will be shown on the scoreboard. An MLB-produced PSA encouraging fans to support those affected by Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria, as well as the earthquake in Mexico, will also air.
Weather: Partly cloudy and 76 degrees. Almost perfect.
New food and drink: The Nationals have expanded their concessions menu for the postseason, so you’ll have more ways to eat your feelings during those stressful late innings. Let Teddy Win has photos.
- The Natitude (available in Sections 110, 129, 141 and 211) is a half-smoke sausage patty with crab mac ‘n cheese and crispy Virginia ham on a brioche bun. Max Scherzer approves of the name, at least.
- A maple doughnut croque-monsieur, featuring Virginia country ham, Gruyere cheese and maple bechamel on a griddled, glazed doughnut, will be available at the Throwin’ Cheese stand in Section 114.
- Taste of the Majors stands in Sections 115 and 314 will offer the District Duel — a foot-long half-smoke sausage with Latin braised beef and giardiniera on a foot-long bun.
- Breyers stands in Sections 115, 129, 136 and 310 will sell chocolate chip cookie dough, soft serve vanilla ice cream, chocolate sauce, whipped cream and mini chocolate chips in a souvenir Nationals helmet.
- Other new additions include a half-smoke burger biscuit at Virginia Country Kitchen stands in Sections 130 and 315, a crab pretzel in Sections 107 and 320, and a “Cinnamon Apple Curveball” cocktail (vodka, amaretto and apple cider) at all bars that serve liquor throughout the park.
Transportation: Metro doesn’t close until 1 a.m. on Friday and Saturday, so it shouldn’t be an issue for Games 1 and 2.
Other fan stuff: The Nationals are encouraging fans to wear red to all NLDS home games and the folks at TalkNats.com suggest bringing curly W flags and/or curly W signs to counteract the Ws that the Cubs fans in attendance will wave. One die-hard Nats fan is encouraging you to be loud and into the game.
If you don’t have a ticket but want to be close to the action, you can watch the game on the 12-foot-by-20-foot LED video board at The Bullpen, which may or may not be closing this offseason. The Bullpen will open at 4 p.m. for Friday’s game. Fritz Hahn has more on where to eat and drink near Nationals Park during the playoffs.
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