Chris Graham: 18 innings of all-you-can-eat-and-drink baseball

Chris Graham: 18 innings of all-you-can-eat-and-drink baseball

all you can eat baseball
Chris Graham between bites and drinks. Photo by Crystal Abbe Graham.

I always thought the coolest part of sitting behind home plate at a Washington Nationals game would be, you know, the sitting behind home plate part.

Now I know that sitting behind home plate is, yeah, it’s unbelievably cool, but it’s just one part of the experience.

The wife and I were behind home plate for both games of Saturday’s doubleheader with the Colorado Rockies, and over the course of about nine hours, got a sense of what it’s like for the 1 percent.

It starts with the all-you-can-eat-and-drink element. There’s something called the Terra Club there, just off-camera for fans watching at home on MASN, that includes multiple buffets, a full-service bar and a dessert area that should be illegal.

So, you do that before the game, because the food is free, once you bought the tickets.

Then, you order food and drinks, and they bring it to your seats.

This went on all day long, both games.

Well, OK, full disclosure, I got impatient after a while with the they bring it to your seats part, so I figured out that I could get a drink and something from the dessert bar and get back to my seat before the first pitch of the next half-inning.

At least I burned calories going back and forth, I guess.

chris eating burger
Chris Graham in his element, enjoying a cheeseburger. Photo by Crystal Abbe Graham.

Friends and family watching at home noticed that I was back and forth. Crystal’s aunt Kay texted her to tell her it was nice I kept bringing her snacks.

Truth was, I was having her hold my snacks while I sat down. And then had her give them back to me.

She was being sensible on the consumption front. I most certainly was not.

My stepfather-in-law also made note of how I kept bringing new drinks back for us to try.

Clarification: for me to try.

See above.

I gained four pounds on Saturday.

I’d still be eating if they didn’t make us leave eventually.

That was the sad part, that it had to come to an end.

The baseball part was heaven, naturally.

chris crystal nationals game
Thanks to the Nats usher for taking this photo for us.

We were fifth row for Game 1, and fourth row for Game 2.

The sound of a pitch hitting the catcher’s glove, of the ball coming off the bat, interesting.

The smack of 98 mph from 75 feet away, of 110 exit velo on a line drive.

I couldn’t help myself from doing what I do when watching at home, holding up my right hand when I observed what I thought was a strike, except that I was doing so for the folks watching at home, too, so, sorry if I was annoying there.

My stepfather-in-law noticed at the end of Game 2, which the Rockies won, 3-2, after the Nats had taken Game 1, 13-7, that I was biting my lip on the last batter.

Yeah, because I wanted the Nats to rally and tie the game, to send us to extras, and if it went 15, 16, 20 innings, great.

I didn’t want the clock to strike midnight, basically.

We sat in our seats for about 10 minutes after the final called third strike before one of the nice ushers came over.

“We had to be here at 9:30 this morning. The bar is still open,” he said, hinting that, you don’t have to leave, but for the love of god, please.

It will be hard to do baseball any other way now.

Next time, I won’t feel the need to Joey Chestnut the free food.

Story by Chris Graham

Chris Graham

Chris Graham

Chris Graham is the founder and editor of Augusta Free Press. A 1994 alum of the University of Virginia, Chris is the author and co-author of seven books, including Poverty of Imagination, a memoir published in 2019, and Team of Destiny: Inside Virginia Basketball’s Run to the 2019 National Championship, and The Worst Wrestling Pay-Per-View Ever, published in 2018. For his commentaries on news, sports and politics, go to his YouTube page,