Famous faces at Nationals Park

Nationals welcome American heroes
Astronaut Colonel Terry Virts, STS-130 Pilot for the Endeavor (February 8-21, 2010), returned home and visited the Washington Nationals on Tuesday.

Virts was a catcher out of Oakland Mills HIgh School in nearby Columbia, Maryland. On his last mission he traveled over 5.7 million miles and completed 217 orbits around the earth. During that time he experienced 16 sunrises and sunsets per day.

He was in the area Tuesday to visit with wounded veterans at Walter Reed and to make a trip to Capitol Hill. In between he was able to take in the Nats game with the rest of his crew. Before the game they mingled with Nats skipper Jim Riggleman and some of the players. It was a thrill for Virts and his crew and they thoroughly enjoyed watching the game behind home plate while sampling some ballpark food.

Virts is a friend of former big leaguer Jeff Conine and he told me it was fun for him to be able to chat with Adam Dunn. Virts also threw out the ceremonial first pitch.

Eight is greatCraig-Stammen_Apolo-Ohno_John-Lannan.jpg
Wearing a Nationals uniform with the number 8 on it, eight-time Olympic medalist and speed skater Apolo Ohno delivered the lineup card to home plate for the Nationals Tuesday night.

Ohno is in town to visit the White House and spend some time on Capitol Hill trying to push some initiatives that will help kids.

He also has launched a nutritional supplement called 8 Zone and he teamed up with the Century Council’s Ask, Listen, Learn program in an effort to discourage underage drinking. His goal is to promote healthy living and he told me he is anxious to spread the word.

I told Ohno that Nats pitchers Craig Stammen and John Lannan are two players who support his ideals, and he was thrilled when I introduced them to him in the dugout before the game.