Results tagged ‘ Nationals Park ’

Harper Turns 21

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As you’ve no doubt already heard, Bryce Harper turned 21 today. It’s worth taking a moment to realize just what that means, and to appreciate just how much he has already accomplished.

With that in mind, here are 21 of our favorite things about the Nationals All-Star outfielder, in an only somewhat particular order. Think we missed something? Let us know in the comments below:

21. The number of outfield assists Harper has amassed in his first two seasons, collecting 13 in just 115 games this year (more on that later).

20. At 20, on his first Major League Opening Day, Harper’s first swing of the season crushed a breaking ball from Ricky Nolasco into the seats for Washington’s first run. In his very next at-bat, he did it again, beginning his season with not just one bang, but a pair of them.

19. Harper provided a moment nearly as dramatic exactly three months later when he stepped back onto the field at Nationals Park, after a stint on the disabled list, and found the seats yet again. A standing ovation greeted him as he dug into the box, and he blasted an opposite-field home run, leading Washington to a 10-5 victory.

18. It was another 24 days until Harper’s next homer, but he didn’t lose his flair for the moment over that span. After Washington coughed up a ninth-inning lead against the Pirates, Harper blasted a two-run, walk-off shot into the Red Porch seats — the first walk-off home run of his career.

17. Of course, Harper can also win games with his glove. He gave up his body in the ninth inning of a one-run game in Kansas City, making one of his most spectacular catches to date.

16. In partnership with the Nationals and the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, Harper’s Heroes was a season-long program that treats families affected by childhood cancers to a fun-filled day at Nationals Park. The VIP experience, held on six separate occasions in 2013, included a private meet and greet with Harper as well as a special batting practice viewing, T-shirts and tickets to the game, complete with NatsBucks.

15. It’s probably time to stop running on Harper.

14. For running until they tag him.

13. The 2013 season marked Bryce’s second All-Star appearance in as many campaigns. We get the sense he’ll have a few more before he’s done playing.

12. That’s Harper’s total number of triples through two seasons, which allow us to appreciate his self-helmet removal device.

11. That’s exactly how many games back of the Braves the Nationals found themselves after a pair of tough losses in Detroit, when Harper decided to be more vocal. That led him to go out and make T-shirts for the club, which recorded the best record in the Major Leagues (34-20) the rest of the season.

10. C’mon. Stop running on Bryce.

9. That’s how many more seasons of Major League experience Jayson Werth has than Harper, whom Werth has taken under his wing. Watching their big brother-little brother relationship grow has been one of the most enjoyable aspects of the past two seasons.

8. The setup to “the steal.” After Harper was plunked by Cole Hamels with nobody on and two out the first time he’d ever faced Hamels, Harper stood at first as Werth dropped a single into left field. Recognizing that outfielder Juan Pierre was fielding the ball, Harper knew he could be aggressive on the bases, as he scorched around second and into third base. All of which led to…

7. “The steal.” With the lefty Hamels paying more attention to Werth, Harper timed him on a pickoff throw to first. When Hamels lobbed another ball over, Harper took off, sprinting home and sliding in ahead of Carlos Ruiz’s tag for a steal of home. He joined a list that includes Hall of Famer Cal Ripken as players who made their first stolen base as a major leaguer one of home plate. And he did it all in front of a national television audience on ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball.

6. Harper’s relationship with 13-year-old Gavin Rupp. Harper and Rupp bonded before a home game this season, when Harper went above and beyond the call of duty to not just spend time with Rupp, but to really get to know him as a human being. As part of the SU2C (Stand Up to Cancer) campaign during the All-Star Home Run Derby, Harper held up a card reading “I Stand Up for Gavin Rupp” for the world to see. Harper is among many in the Nationals family who continue to mourn Rupp’s all-too-early passing later that month.

5. Harper is one of just five players with at least 20 home runs and 20 stolen bases prior to his 21st birthday. The complete list:

Bryce Harper 42 HR, 29 SB
Ken Griffey, Jr. 38 HR, 32 SB
Mike Trout 24 HR, 40 SB
Andruw Jones 26 HR, 25 SB
Adrian Beltre 22 HR, 21 SB

4. Seriously. Don’t run on Bryce.

3. That is the total number of Major League players in history with more than 40 home runs at age 20 or younger. Harper’s 42 career long balls prior to age 21 trail just Mel Ott (61) and Tony Conigliaro (56) on the all-time list.

2. Although he didn’t win the competition, Harper advanced all the way to the finals of the 2013 Home Run Derby. He put on a show and gave eventual champion Yoenis Cespedes a good run for his money in what is hopefully just his first of many appearances in the annual event.

So, what’s number one?

1. That’s a clown question, bro.

Thank You for Your Service

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Putting on an event for as many as 40,000 people, feeding them, entertaining them, addressing their concerns and catering to their needs, is a tall task that requires many moving parts working together, in concert. Putting on 81 of such events, in strings of as many as 10 or 11 in a row, sometimes twice in the same day, is a monumental task. It requires far more helping hands than the front office staff alone can offer.

That’s where our TEAM Service members come in. A staff of 1,750 workers, local Washingtonians, Virginians and Marylanders staff the ballpark and provide everything they can to ensure your fan experience is the best possible. This year, we asked fans to nominate and vote for the best of the best, who were rewarded on the field prior to the first game of Sunday’s doubleheader on the final day of the regular season. Then, this past weekend, they enjoyed a trip to St. Louis to take in Game 1 of the NLCS between the Cardinals and Dodgers. The contest turned out to be a classic postseason ballgame, with the home side winning, 3-2, in 13 innings.

Selckman (back left), Lavigne (back center-right) and Howard (back center) were just three of the TEAM Service members on the trip.

Selckman (back left), Lavigne (back center-right) and Howard (back center) were just three of the TEAM Service members on the trip.

Karen Selckman, a bartender out at the Red Porch, was one of this year’s winners. She’s been pouring from the center field restaurant since the ballpark opened back in 2008 and has formed a group of regulars. But she was blown away to learn that she had received the honor.

“It’s completely overwhelming,” she said. “It’s flattering and I’m shocked.”

For employees like Selckman, customers with smiling faces is reward enough. This is just icing on the cake.

“What else can you ask for, you know?” she said. “If people are happy, we’re happy. It’s personal, so when you know that people are happy, it’s very fulfilling.”

Mike Lavigne has been a Guest Experience Usher, and has also worked at Nationals Park since it opened six seasons ago. He enjoys not just the company of the fans, but all his fellow coworkers, and was pleasantly surprised to be singled out among them for this honor.

“We’ve got so many good folks, how did I sneak through?” he joked upon learning of the award.

In his six years, Lavigne has seen the growth of both the team on the field and the fan base as it comes to accept the Nationals as its own team. That continued growth and connection keeps him coming back every year with more passion than the last.

“Just look at it,” he explained. “The fan base, when we were first starting out, there was a lot of excitement … I think Washington has been starving for baseball for a long time.”

The view from the seats at Busch Stadium.

The view from the seats at Busch Stadium.

Lavigne’s favorite part of the job is simply the human element, the ability to interact with fellow baseball fans as they escape their daily routine at the ballpark.

“I get to watch a little bit of baseball, I get to interact with folks that I don’t get to do in the regular job. It’s just a big win. Frankly, folks want to be here. This is different than other sports.”

“Big” Al Howard is a CSC Event Staff member, one of many in charge of managing crowd control in The District’s largest sporting venue. That can be a thankless position sometimes, especially when events outside of his control cause friction among the fans. But he takes it all in stride as part of the position.

“Customer service is exactly what it says: customer service,” Howard explained. “Sometimes you have to bend over backwards. Sometimes you have to take the mud in the face. But at the same time, you try to make that experience enjoyable and at least try to accommodate whatever their questions are.”

So what is Howard’s greatest reward in the three years he has worked at Nationals Park?

“People remembering your name. People remembering you for what you’ve done. Somebody saying ‘Thank you,’ or coming back to you, or asking for you or a compliment via someone else about you.”

Consider this a big thank you from all of us at the Nationals for another great season. See you all in 2014.

Patriotic Jersey Auction to Benefit Victims of the Navy Yard Shooting

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When a senseless tragedy occurs, it can be hard to return to a routine; the same can be said for professional athletes, even those playing baseball in the heat of a last-minute postseason chase.

Stephen Straburg and other Nationals players and coaches wore Navy hats in support of those affected by Monday's tragedy.

Stephen Straburg and other Nationals players and coaches wore Navy hats in support of those affected by Monday’s tragedy.

As the Nationals returned to the field on Tuesday, the team made clear that their thoughts were on those affected by the previous day’s events at the Washington Navy Yard. Reminders of the tragedy that occurred only blocks from Nationals Park could be seen throughout the day, from the flags flying at half-staff to the moment of silence before each game of the day’s doubleheader. On the field, the players donned U.S. Navy caps during batting practice and wore their patriotic jerseys featuring the stars and stripes Curly “W” during their win in game one of the doubleheader. But these were more than symbolic gestures – they will directly benefit those affected by the tragedy at the Navy Yard.

The Nationals will auction off the patriotic jerseys from game one, with proceeds benefiting the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS). TAPS has a memorandum of agreement in place with the U.S. Navy to provide bereavement support to the families of those who die in service to America. Just as they did after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attack on the Pentagon, TAPS will provide support and care for the families of Department of Defense civilian workers or defense contractors who died in this terrible tragedy. All of them were on duty for America.

Fans can go to to purchase the patriotic jerseys beginning Thursday, September 19. In the meantime, fans who would like to support the loved ones of those who lost their lives at the Washington Navy Yard can donate to TAPS at A $10 donation can also be made by texting TAPS to 50555 (you will be asked to confirm your donation).

Details on Today’s Doubleheader

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Due to the tragic events yesterday at the Navy Yard, last night’s game was postponed and will be made up as part of a split doubleheader, with the make-up game beginning at 1:05 p.m. today.

The Nationals will wear their Patriotic Blue jerseys for the first game of today’s doubleheader. We will hold a moment of silence to remember the victims of yesterday’s tragedy prior to the start of both games. Additionally, in accordance with the directive of the President of the United States, flags at Nationals Park will fly at half-staff beginning today through sunset on Friday.


Today’s games will be played as a split doubleheader, with each game requiring separate admission. Gates will open for Game Two 1.5 hours after the conclusion of Game One or at 6:00 p.m., whichever comes later.

If you had a ticket to Monday night’s postponed game, you may redeem it for today’s 1:05 p.m. game, any other remaining 2013 regular season home game, OR any 2014 regular season Value Game.

For any additional ticket information, please call the Nationals Park Box Office at 202.675.NATS(6287).

All-Stars Off The Field

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It takes more than just the players on the field to play a Major League Baseball game, much less 81 every regular season at each park across the country. In addition to the front office, we here at the Nationals employ a support staff of thousands of local D.C. area residents who see to it that our fans have the best guest experience possible at Nationals Park.

This year, we are rewarding those who have stood out as TEAM Service All-Stars, and we’re asking for your vote! You can vote both online and by text message, with the latter option entering you for a chance to win tickets to our final home game on September 22 and join your nominee on the field as they are honored before the game.


Up All Night to Get Lucky

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Like the legend of the phoenix…

Even a rookie reporter on the baseball beat will quickly learn the primary difference between a Major League clubhouse after a win and a loss. Following defeat, there is almost total silence, just the hiss of showers in the distance, the shuffling of feat and the murmurs of somber postgame interviews. But following a victory, the clubhouse stereo blares any number of upbeat tunes, often a similar playlist over the course of the season.

Deep into the 11-o’clock hour, following Washington’s 4-3, rain-delayed win Wednesday night over Miami – the second straight single-run triumph over the Marlins – there was a new song pulsing through the home clubhouse at Nationals Park: Daft Punk’s “Get Lucky.” It was probably pure coincidence, but the lyrics seemed to have something of a connection to these Nationals, fighting an expiring schedule and tall mathematical odds in a final push to rise from the dead and claim the last postseason spot.

Jayson Werth and Ian Desmond teamed up to lead the Nationals comeback Wednesday night.

Jayson Werth and Ian Desmond teamed up to lead the Nationals comeback Wednesday night.

We’ve come too far to give up who we are…

As the huddle moved towards Ian Desmond, whose RBI-single provided the game-winning run in the seventh inning, Jayson Werth snuck over to the stereo, pumping the volume back up. Werth, whose homer had tied the contest in the sixth, had been intentionally walked in front of Desmond. The shortstop admitted that “it was probably the right move” for the Marlins to make. But following an hour and 12-minute rain delay, after which the Nationals coughed up their early lead, only to come back and win, you get the sense that maybe it’s worth sticking it out to the end, just to see if this team can get hot enough to find its way back to October.

So let’s raise the bar…

The Cardiac Nats, that scrappy bunch that eked out one- and two-run wins all of last year, seem to have been at least momentarily resurrected. Quietly, Washington has won seven of eight and 13 of its last 18 games. Since the beginning of play on August 9, the Nationals have gained 2.0 games on Cincinnati, 2.5 on Atlanta, 3.5 on Arizona and 6.0 on Pittsburgh, the four teams currently in front of them in the NL East and Wild Card chase.

There is still a lot of work left to be done to even sniff the possibility of claiming one of those spots. It would take a run of epic proportion to do so, and probably some misfortune to befall one of the teams within striking distance. But hey, this is baseball, and you never know what might happen.

We’re up all night to get lucky…

Meet the #NatsCaveCrasher Finalists

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It was a tough task, but we’ve whittled down our field of over 500 entries in our #NatsCaveCrasher Instagram Contest to five deserving finalists. Now, they’ll go head-to-head Saturday at Nationals Park, putting their photography skills to the test for a chance to win that all-expenses-paid trip for two to New York City.

Each finalist will receive a shot sheet of things to photograph and upload to Instagram during Saturday’s game against the Mets and the NatsLive Free Postgame Concert featuring Gavin DeGraw. We’ll then compile each finalist’s portfolio into a gallery here on Curly W Live, where fans will have 48 hours to vote for their favorite. The grand-prize winner will be headed to see the Nationals play the Mets and visit the MLB Fan Cave on September 10-11, while our runner-up will win four PNC Diamond Lounge tickets to a future Nationals game.

Before we host our finalists, though, let’s take a look at what makes these Nats fans worthy of a chance to crash the Cave.

Meet the Finalists:

Andy BatesAndy B.


Hometown: Chevy Chase, Md.

Age: 26

After moving to the DMV in October 2009, Andy latched onto the Nationals as buzz began generating around Stephen Strasburg’s 2010 debut. That 14-strikeout performance was enough to hook this Nats fan for life. Though his favorite player is Bryce Harper, Andy also claims “utmost respect for Jayson Werth’s beard,” untucks his shirt after every Rafael Soriano save and does his best to hit the high notes during A-ha’s “Take On Me” during the seventh-inning stretch.

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Jodie Curtis Nationals PicJodie C.


Hometown: Washington, D.C.

Age: 30

Jodie moved to Washington around the same time baseball did in 2005. Having never had a team to root for growing up in Kentucky, she immediately called the Nats her own. Torn between Bryce Harper and Ian Desmond for who tops the list of her favorite Nationals, Jodie ranks Jayson Werth’s walk-off homer in Game 4 of the 2012 NLDS as “one of the best sports moments I’ve ever witnessed in person…I felt like Washington became a baseball town that October night,” she said.

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SueAnn CagleSueAnn C.


Hometown: Oxon Hill, Md.

Age: 31

Free tickets from participating in a blood drive brought SueAnn to her first Nationals game in 2009. The rest is history has her love of baseball and the Nats has grown exponentially since. She counts the Nationals division clinch last year among her favorite memories and was in the crowd when Michael Morse brought a champagne shower to the left-field stands.

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Nick PalastroNick P.


Hometown: Springfield, Va.

Age: 22

Nick’s destiny as a Nats fan was cemented the last time Washington hosted a Major League ball club. His dad was a Senators fan, having attended the last game at RFK Stadium on September 30, 1971 and the Nationals’ first exhibition game on April 3, 2005. Though Nick braved Philadelphia while attending college at Temple University, he’s undaunted in his Natitude — even outfitting the city’s Rocky Balboa statue with a Jayson Werth jersey.

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Jonathan BaldwinJonathan B.


Hometown: Fredericksburg, Va.

Age: 27

Jonathan had never been to a Major League Baseball game before the U.S. Navy stationed him at Washington Navy Yard in 2011. A whim brought him and his wife to Nationals Park for the first time that year, sparking their now-mutual love of baseball and the Nationals. Now, their nightly ritual involves switching on the Nats game, but nothing compares to being in attendance for Jayson Werth’s walk-off in the playoffs. “I will never forget the vibe in the stadium at that moment,” Jonathan said.

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***Voting is now closed. Thank you for your support, click here to see our winner!***

What to Watch for: 7.25.13

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Pittsburgh Pirates (60-39) vs. Washington Nationals (48-53)

RHP A.J. Burnett (4-7, 3.07) vs. LHP Gio Gonzalez (7-3, 2.89)

Washington turns to Gio Gonzalez to snap a season-high six-game skid and get back into the winning column for the first time since the All-Star break. Gonzalez has won his last four decisions, and his 2.04 ERA (21 ER/92.0 IP) since the beginning of May is second-best in all of Major League Baseball.


1. Harper LF

2. Lombardozzi 2B

3. Zim 3B

4. LaRoche 1B

5. Werth RF

6. Desmond SS

7. Span CF

8. Suzuki C

9. Gonzalez LHP


Gonzalez is 9-0 with a 1.93 ERA in 13 starts against NL Central foes since joining the Nationals (2012-13). Washington is 12-1 in those Gonzalez starts.


Jayson Werth’s two-run, ninth-inning shot on Wednesday night at Nationals Park was his fifth home run in the last four games. He became the first National to go deep five times in a four-game span since Adam LaRoche turned the trick on September 3-6, 2012 during a four-game sweep of the Cubs. Incidentally, Adam Dunn hit 5 home runs in a three-game span for Washington, July 7-9, 2010. Werth’s 1.157 OPS in July paces all of Major League Baseball.


The .539 winning percentage (278-235) posted by the Nationals Minor League system currently ranks fourth among MLB’s 30 franchises. Washington trails only Houston (first, .576), Texas (second, .566) and San Francisco (third, .543). The Nationals system has registered winning records each of the last five seasons (2008-12), but has never finished among the top five.

Guest Blog: Looking Forward

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As you may recall, we gave away the opportunity to blog with us for a day as part of the 13 Days of NatsFest. And while it’s been six months since then, we didn’t forget about our winner. Her originally planned date got washed away by the rain, but we were able to get her out to Nationals Park Friday night for the first game of the season’s second half. This is the story of her experience behind the scenes at the ballpark.

Looking Forward

by: Michelle Hendley

The Nationals were back from the All-Star Break, rejuvenated and filled with optimism for what the second half can bring. The majority of the players were healthy for the first time in what seems like a century. Errors were down and hitting was up. Yesterday’s pitching match-up, featuring former Marlin Ricky Nolasco and Washington ace Stephen Strasburg, was a rematch of Opening Day. Though the late July heat was stifling, the excitement was clearly evident on the field, and everyone was hopeful that the team could pick up some momentum heading into the second half.

Strasburg survived the heat to post a quality start.

Strasburg survived the heat to post a quality start.

The excitement was palpable for me as well. While I have been to many Nationals games as a spectator – probably more than I could count –  this was the first time that I had experienced the game up close and personally as a member of the press. As someone who grew up in a sports-mad family, working in the media for a professional team is as close to a dream job as I could get. Whether it was related to me being scared or me being realistic (probably a bit of both), I took a job in another field immediately after college. However, in the back of my mind, I always did wonder what path pursuing my dream would have taken me on, and today was the day for me to find out. Who knows what I may decide to do after that?

While the crowds gathered outside, eating at the food trucks and playing games, I started by observing Davey Johnson’s pregame press conference. Well, to be completely honest, I started by disregarding the GPS and getting myself a little lost on my way downtown. But I digress. Davey injected his trademark bit of humor into the briefing as we got updates from him. He was incredibly optimistic about the prospects of the team heading into the second half, telling everybody that, “We are right where we need to be.”  He’s definitely got a point. With the exception of Ross Detwiler and his lingering soreness, he’s got as close to an Opening Day lineup as he has had since, well, practically Opening Day. Davey wrapped up his presser, and I headed down to batting practice.

The ball just sounds different coming off of Harper's bat.

The ball just sounds different coming off of Harper’s bat.

Now, to say it was hot was probably the understatement of the decade. It was hot in the sense that I could have probably fried an egg on the warning track. While I was prepared for several players to hit in the air conditioned, indoor batting cages, I was surprised to see all of the players out there taking their hacks. I had been told that Bryce Harper’s batting practice was not necessarily just worth seeing, but worth hearing. It really was. If you ever find yourself in the park early enough to catch him, take the time to do so. The best way I can describe it is that the sound of the ball hitting the bat echoes like a sonic boom. It’s really impressive – but so is pretty much everything he does.

I settled in the press box for the start of the game. The view is really beautiful, although I caution you if you’re afraid of heights. You could see the vast majority of the field perfectly, allowing me to get a good grasp of everything that was going on during the game.

As the game progressed, I had a feeling that even though rest and a seemingly fresh start can really boost morale and infuse positivity, they aren’t necessarily magic. All bad things don’t turn into good things overnight. The most you can hope for is progress, and although the Nationals lost, they definitely showed progress. In tough conditions, Strasburg pitched superbly. The Nationals made several defensive gems, and put nine hits up on the board. Historically, Ricky Nolasco has had a lot of success against the Nationals, but they put up a great fight. There is a lot to build upon in this second half, and the team needs to continue to look forward. As Davey said, wrapping up his postgame presser, “Tomorrow is another day.”

You can’t keep looking back and talking about what you could have done differently – a lesson that applies to both baseball and life. All you can do is to continue to improve. I think the team is learning that. And I think I am as well.

A NatsLive Weekend

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The Fourth of July may be in the rear-view mirror, but there’s still plenty going on at Nationals Park this weekend. As you may have heard, we’ve added an additional performer to our 2013 NatsLive Free Postgame Concert Series. That means we’ve packed back-to-back postgame concerts in this weekend. Thompson Square will perform following Saturday’s 4:05 p.m. game vs. San Diego and on Sunday, award-winning group Third Day will take the stage after the 1:35 p.m. contest.*

Thompson Square: Saturday, July 6

The husband-and-wife country duo of Kiefer and Shawna Thompson has made a splash in Nashville with hits like “Are You Gonna Kiss Me Or Not?” and “If I Didn’t Have You.” Their chart-topping songs have earned them GRAMMY consideration and distinction as country radio darlings.

Third Day: Sunday, July 7

Now on their 12th album, Miracle, the Christian rock group infuses rock anthems with life-affirming lyrics that have resulted in an impressive body of work. Third Day has earned four GRAMMYs and has released several Gold and Platinum albums.

Gavin DeGraw: Saturday, August 31

After breaking onto the scene with 2003’s Chariot, DeGraw has enjoyed a steady stream of success with his self-titled 2008 offering, a live album Free, and 2012’s Sweeter. Hits like “In Love With A Girl,” “I Don’t Want To Be” and “Soldier” are pop radio stables.

Montgomery Gentry: Saturday, September 21

Eddie Montgomery and Troy Gentry bring with them a new album, a new label and a new sense of purpose for a duo recognized as on of country’s most enduring acts. They’ve delivered 14 Top 10 hits since emerging in 1999, but Rebel On The Run looks poised to be Montgomery Gentry’s best since their debut.

For additional concert information, visit

*Must have corresponding game ticket to attend FREE postgame concerts. All promotions and events are subject to change. Some restrictions apply.