Yesterday was the last regular season game for the Washington Nationals. While it wasn’t a win, it was a really lovely and memorable game. But what’s most important is that it’s not actually the end!
Thankfully, Nats fans have the post-season to look forward to. I for one, can’t wait. Luckily, I have a ticket for Friday’s game – but the rest I’ll be watching from home. And for all of us who will be watching at home, I thought we could use some ideas for Nationals playoff party foods. Plus this post is my opportunity to gush over the Nats one last time before the season is over.
Each idea below is centered on a cheesy food pun inspired by someone’s name. There are some favorite players whose names I couldn’t come up with anything for. Zimmerman and Trea for example, are left off this list. If you think of any great puns let me know! For now though, enjoy the eight I have below. (PS, number eight is my favorite!)
1. Bryce Cripsy Treats
As a Nats fan, you can’t help but love Bryce Harper. He’s aggressive in the field and at the plate. With a batting average over .300, it’s always exciting when he’s up at bat. It’s wonderful getting to watch him play. Plus he’s young, he’s awesome, and non-Nats fans sometimes just can’t handle it. Think about that Hunter Strickland fight this season, based off a three-year-old grudge. What Nats fan wasn’t fired up over that?! Other people being anti, just makes me like him more.
And for real, he’s just so good, and he knows it. I love that he’s confident and a bit flashy. His gold cleats? That white suit he wore in Miami? Perfection. And you can’t forget his hair flip. Wonderful.
Bryce Harper is a player staple for the Nationals. We need him, just like you need Bryce Crispy Treats at your playoff party.
Recipe – Rice crispy treats
2. Michael A. Tater Tots
When Adam Eaton got hurt at the beginning of the season, Michael A. Taylor became the regular center fielder. While sometimes he’s frustrating to watch at bat, he can also be unbelievable. Ryan and I were lucky enough to be at the game this past September when he was on fire. He went 4-for-5, which included an inside-the-park grand slam. An inside-the-park grand slam that happened exactly two years after his little-league grand slam against the Mets. That’s why baseball is great. You can’t write this stuff!
That home run in September, plus the 18 others taters he hit this season make Michael A. Tater Tots a great dish for enjoying the playoffs.
Recipe – Tater Tots.
3. Tony Two Bags of Chips and Salsa
I feel like recently Anthony Rendon has been getting a lot of press for being the kind of guy who doesn’t get a lot of press. I enjoy him so much because he seems like a happy dude who enjoys what he does and just gets to work and does it. And he’s good on offense, on defense – he’s just good.
He’s a pleasure to watch – in part because of all the love given to him by his team. First, he has a lovely bromance with Treat Turner. Then, the whole team’s t-shirt campaign of “Anthony Rendon is my favorite player,” was so endearing! I also loved Daniel Murphy referencing Rendon’s ranking on Fangraphs. Not only does the team support each other, but it’s clear they genuinely like each other.
Rendon’s recipe is inspired by F.P. Santangelo’s nickname for him – “Tony Two Bags.” This year Rendon hit 41 doubles. What’s a party without chips and dip? No good. Same for a game without Rendon.
Chips are Mission tortilla chips. Recipe – salsa.
4. F.P. Santanjello Shots
Ok, while not a player, tv announcers F.P. Santangelo and Bob Carpenter are a big part of my baseball experience. I am a big fan of F.P. Growing up, I wasn’t a baseball fan. As a result, there’s a lot I don’t know about the game. I like how he explains why players do what they do at bat or in the field. Also, I enjoy that by explaining what players do, he also gives advice to young players.
It’s also clear he loves the game and the team. He’s passionate about the Nats, and that’s what I always miss during Nationals broadcasts. But also, I’m a big fan of F.P. because he’s a bit silly. From commenting on the current gold chain trend among players to 2012’s rally napkin, F.P. makes me laugh.
Also, sorry no photo of F.P. I wasn’t sure what I could use royalty free. Instead, let me tell you a story. Once, I tweeted a question at him about scoring a balk and he asked it on the air and I thought that was the coolest thing ever. See, I learn from F.P.
I had been hoping to make these shots in an actual tangelo, but couldn’t find any so used oranges instead. Making these in fruit adds a little polish, and F.P.’s a man who dresses well so hopefully, he’d appreciate it.
Recipe – Fruit Jello Shots, substitute half of cold water with rum.
5. Dusty Baker’s Dozen (Hug Cookies)
Since I’ve strayed from players for a bit, let’s next turn to manager Dusty Baker. He has had an incredible career in baseball and just a cool life in general. I mean, he wrote a book about Jimi Hendrix and had a hand in the creation of the high-five!
I like that he’s considered a players coach. As well, I love that he straight talks during his press conferences. He’s enjoyable to watch and he seems like a man who loves what he does. Earlier this summer Ryan, Ryan, and I got to watch batting practice and we saw Dusty smile and shake hands with everyone. He’s a busy guy, but he warmly greeted everyone.
I also like him because he’s a hugger. To play off the name, I knew I needed to make thirteen cookies – and then I threw in hugs candies to represent the lovelyy way he appreciates his players.
Recipe – buy a pack of Tollhouse sugar cookies, shape into circles, press an unwrapped hugs candy on top, and bake according to package directions.
6. Scherzer Stalks of Celery and Karrots
Ok, I wholeheartedly believe that Max Scherzer deserves a more interesting dish than a crudité plate. However, Max is an incredible athlete and I need to include him somehow.
He is a ferocious competitor. There aren’t words to describe how good he is, how aggressive, and how compelling. When he’s pitching there is always an added intensity and excitement to the game. I love how he stalks around the mound after a pitch. This season when he told Dusty off and then was able to stay in the game – that was incredible television. But it’s not just pitching. He helps himself out at bat too – this year he hit his first home run. Plus, I just have to mention he boos the fans in Philly on behalf of Jayson Werth. That’s teamwork, right?
So, I know Max is more amazing than raw vegetables but stalks of celery to celebrate his stalks around the mount and karrots, with a K for all of Scherzer’s many incredible strikeouts. Plus Max is relentlessly good for the team, just like vegetables are for you.
If you want to make this yourself, cut up some vegetables and pour out your favorite dip. Recipe – homemade ranch dressing.
7. Jack Daniel(s) Murphy Chicken Thighs
This might be the food pun that is the biggest stretch. Even so, I really enjoy it. This season, I have been obsessed with Daniel Murphy and his batting stance. We all know he’s a power hitter, and that’s due in part to his stance. He holds the deepest squat and remains nearly motionless during the whole time he bats. How does he do it?! I am constantly in awe of the muscle strength he must have in his thighs.
So, that’s what I got this recipe idea comes from. I made a Jack Daniel’s sauce and baked into some chicken thighs. It’s a little weird, but I hope if Daniel Murphy ever saw this he’d know I’m just a fan impressed by his athleticism. Also, it’s not just the stance. He’s a thoughtful baseball player – looking at stats, analyzing the play, and always talking to the umpire. I think he’s a joy to watch.
Recipe – Heat oven to 425° and bake chicken thighs for 25 minutes. Meanwhile, make this Jack Daniels sauce. When the 25 minutes are up, brush each thigh with the sauce then bake for 5 minutes more.
In my opinion, I’ve saved the best for last because Jayson Werth is my favorite player. I started becoming both a baseball fan and a Nats fan in 2009. So when Werth signed with the Nationals in December 2010, I didn’t have a lot of preconceived notions about him because I hardly knew anything about baseball.
But I liked him. I liked that he moved to DC and made it his home. He came to the district and worked hard to be a leader and help foster a winning team. I liked that in 2011 he meddled in the President’s Race, trying to get Teddy to win and thereby change this city’s losing attitude. Also, I was tickled when he said he was the last member of the Bull Moose Party.
And then in 2012, we all fell in love with him after the “Werthquake,” his walk-off home run in game 4 of the playoffs. What more could we ever want from Jayson Werth?
I can still picture where I was during that moment. Surrounded by unfinished IKEA furniture, I was sitting on the floor of my apartment in Arlington. Earlier in the evening, I had planned to meet Ryan at the bar – but superstition told me “same seats.” So I remember holding my breath and then happily screaming for joy throwing my Allen wrench aside and leaving the furniture un-built. For seven years he’s been a wonderful National – working hard, playing hard, and being a leader for young players.
Also generally, Werth seems like an awesome guy to know. From cursing on camera with Dan Kolko to posing like “Step Brothers” with Bryce Harper – he’s funny and quirky and I am going to miss him so much. I am glad we will have at least a few more games with him, as it was so hard to watch him walk off the field yesterday. Thank you, Jayson for all you’ve brought to DC.
How will you celebrate the playoffs?
I hope you enjoy these ideas for Nationals Playoff Party Foods. If you have any Nationals food pun ideas please share them in the comments! There’s something to Charlie Slowes and slow cooker recipe. And Mike Rizzotto (risotto) got left on the cutting room floor. But I do want to hear others! For now, see you later.