We ended the first day of our vacation at Nationals Park in Washington to watch the Washington Nationals host the San Francisco Giants.

Our day was a long day, arriving in Washington via a red-eye overnight flight and spending the morning and early afternoon sightseeing. In the mid-afternoon we managed to get a couple of hours of sleep before it was time to head to the ballpark for this evening’s game.

My previous visit to Nationals Park was in May, 2009 when the weather was cold and wet, the Nationals were awful and hopeless, and attendance was terrible. This year, things are very different with the Washington Nationals. The Nationals sit atop the standings in the eastern division of the National League, and with Bryce Harper and Stephen Strasburg they feature two of the game’s brightest young stars. The Nationals are no longer playing in front of small crowds.

The Giants took an early lead in tonight’s ballgame. In the middle innings of the game, it seemed that a Washington comeback was highly unlikely. The Giants had a 5-1 lead with an excellent pitcher, Matt Cain, on the mound. The Nationals rallied for 3 runs in the seventh to close the gap and two runs in the ninth to win it by a final score of 6-5. Box Score

Everything in Nationals Park seems to revolve around Bryce Harper. Harper is featured heavily on most Nationals ads, promotions, and team apparel. There are plenty of Stephen Strasburg jerseys and shirts to be seen there too, but the attention given to Harper is overwhelming. I was surprised to see how little attention is given to Strasburg now that Harper is on the scene.

After the game, we hopped back to the Metro for the short ride back to our hotel. Then, we finally got some real and extended sleep.