It is never too early to plan ahead if you are hoping to catch a glimpse (or a game) of No. 1 prospect Bryce Harper in the Nationals system this season.
Many Nationals fans are hoping to see Harper in Woodbridge, Va., which is just minutes from the Capital Beltway, if he is promoted quickly to Single-A Potomac.
Most believe Harper's first taste of minor league baseball will be with Single-A Hagerstown Suns. Hagerstown, Md., is an easy drive from the D.C. area, just 71 miles from Washington via I-270 and I-70. The Suns' home opener is slated for Friday, April 15, at 6:35 p.m. against Lakewood at Municipal Stadium.
Hagerstown will be home from April 15 through April 23. Tickets available by calling 301-791-6266. Season tickets are very reasonable, ranging from $380 to $450. Individual game tickets do not go on sale until April 15, the date of the home opener.
I enjoyed my visit to Municipal Stadium last June to watch Danny Rosenbaum pitch. They had great food selections and the staff did a great job to get the fans involved in the game with special promotions and on-field events.
But the first game for Harper could very well be the Suns' season-opening series from April 7-10 in Rome, Ga., against the Rome Braves. Their first game is slated for April 7 at 7 p.m.
Getting there is a different story. It is a 10-hour trek, locking in at a day's drive of more than 600 miles. Your best bet would be to fly to Atlanta, Ga., and then drive north west to Rome, just 75 miles from "Hotlanta." The Rome Braves Web site says individual tickets for home games go on sale in March. You can order them by calling 706-378-5144.
Which brings us back to the P-Nats. If you assume Harper does well in Hagerstown in April and gets the promotion to Potomac by May, the P-Nats are home in Pfitzner Stadium May 2-4, 13-15 and 23-29. P-Nats individual game tickets go on sale in March, as well.
I have not broken down the Harrisburg or Syracuse schedules just yet. I better hurry up before Harper gets there, too.