As promised, here is my full recap of meeting Roger Bernadina and becoming Fan of the Game. A heads up to our regular readers (or just lone reader?) this post is longer and more sentimental than our normal, satirical fare.
Zac and I arrived at the stadium early in hopes of meeting Bernadina down by the field prior to the game. The Fan Photo takers swarmed us like sharks descending on their prey and we happily posed with our Shark sign. After that, I was approached to be filmed for Fan of the Game. Terry was filmed at the April 2nd game and then he didn't get on the screen (they went with little kids). I was approached at the April 14th game but right before he filmed me, the voice in his headset told him they had all they needed. This time was different. I used all of my Shark moves in front of the camera- chomping, jumping, and swimming my way to certain victory. Sure enough, in the 5th inning when Fan of the Game was up on the Jumbotron (video), Nats Park cheered for me, and by extension, The Shark. To be fair, the odds were stacked in my favor as the other two contestants were not super hot girls or cute little kids.
After having some hot dogs and beer, we went down to our seats. On our way there we heard a call of "Sharkadina!" It was "Jorgath" and "sweetpearacer" from one of the biggest Pro-Shark sites out there: Federal Baseball. They complimented Terry's Photoshop skills and we chatted for awhile before the rain started coming down and we were forced back to the concourse. There we met a nice couple, "Whiskey Dave" and his wife, who are also big Bernadina fans. The more people I talk to, the clearer it becomes that The Shark really is a fan-favorite!
Once the rain stopped we headed back down and I kept my eyes locked on the dugout for any sight of a dorsal fin. I saw it rise above the surface and we lifted our sign into the air like a beacon. He saw us immediately (obviously using his Shark-sense) and started to walk over. Zac and I navigated the waters of section 135 and made it to the fence in record time. We shook hands, posed for pictures, and talked about how we hoped he would be in DC for awhile and how much he likes the blog. That was about all we got in before other autograph hounds elbowed in to meet the most Jawesome player in the league.
When Terry and I first wore the Shark hoods and made the sign on a whim last August, I never could have imagined that eight months later we would have a popular(ish) blog and that so many people would adopt our nickname and use it online and at games. I definitely didn't expect to have the honor of meeting my favorite player. I hope it is the first of many meetings and hope they will continue once Terry gets back to DC next month.
It really was an awesome experience and we were on a high for the rest of the game. The Nats played a great game (if you ignore the top of the 9th inning) and The Shark had a single and a double! He also had a great dive that came up inches short from catching a fly ball in left. That play proves he is one of the speediest, most athletic outfielders in the league (certainly on the Nats roster) and why he first earned the "Shark" name.
We are obviously really big fans of Bernadina at this blog, and in all fairness, I wanted to link to this great article by Patrick Neuman at the Examiner discussing Bernadina in the larger context of the Nats organization. He says "If Bernadina catches fire this season (most likely after returning to Syracuse this weekend), the Nationals would be very happy and could start envisioning a solid outfield lineup."
Not only would the Nationals be very happy, but The Shark and his fans would too.
More to come.