Located less than 25 miles from Nationals Park, the home of the 2019 World Series Champion Washington Nationals, Ashby Ponds is home to hundreds of devoted fans. Following a frenzied fall filled with watch parties, community-sponsored trips to games, and, ultimately, exuberant celebrations, the loyal fans eagerly await Opening Day on March 26.
Facing division rival the New York Mets at Citi Field, in N.Y., the Washington Nationals will play both the Mets and the Miami Marlins before heading home to their fans for the home opener on April 2.
With plans currently underway for communitywide opening day watch parties, fans throughout the Erickson Living-managed community in Ashburn, Va., eagerly await to see their team back in action.
Throughout the 2019 World Series run, community members Chuck and Patti Blanchard watched their grandson Sean O'Brien serve as one of the Nationals' batboys. A student at James Madison University, Sean worked at all the home games, including the three World Series home games.
"Sean worked hard, and we're very proud of him," says Patti. "We texted back and forth with Sean during the last two games of the series. It was the thrill of a lifetime."
"It went from high drama to pure joy," Chuck adds.
Adorning the front door of her apartment with Washington Nationals memorabilia, longtime fan Peggy Wood is thrilled by her community's response to her team's success.
"Throughout the last few seasons, especially the playoffs, neighbors would drop by and take a look at my collection," she says. "People have gifted me with various Nationals items, including a pennant, a Christmas tree ornament, even a pair of flip-flops."
Like many of her Ashby Ponds neighbors, Peggy attends Ashby Ponds-sponsored trips to Nationals Park, but she prefers to watch her favorite players from the comfort of her own home.
"I'm a huge Nationals fan," she says. "I record each game so I can say with certainty that I have watched them all. I don't want to miss anything."
As a result, she admits that she did not attend the Ashby Ponds World Series run watch parties, opting to pay close attention to each game with friends. But she is both pleased and surprised by the fan involvement on campus.
"Washington is known as a transient city and there have been times when fans have been described as of the fair-weather variety," she says. "I'm happy to say that the Nationals have developed a devoted following. Especially here at Ashby Ponds."
Neighbor Cecelia Lazzaro agrees.
"The best part of the Nationals is their magic," she says. "The team's camaraderie and the fun they have together is infectious and the fans responded."
Shortly after his move three years ago to Ashby Ponds, Wayne Schrader began gathering his new neighbors together to watch the Nationals on television. He also traveled to Nationals Park with a group from Ashby Ponds during the season.
"Nationals fans at Ashby Ponds are very loyal and seldom down on the team," he says. "The players have a great attitude and seem to enjoy playing together. They are just so fun to watch. I love the team and will miss [Anthony] Rendon."
The departure of the Gold Glove finalist third baseman is a sentiment shared throughout the community.
"I was saddened to see Rendon leave," says Peggy. "He was always one of my favorites."
Yet, regardless of who fills this year's roster spots, the Ashby Ponds fans are excited to watch their team defend their title.
"There are so many key players that are exciting to watch," says Cecelia.
"I'd love to see a repeat of last year with another World Series win," says Wayne.
To learn more about all the fun community events at Ashby Ponds, request a brochure today.