All Stage and Sound had the great privilege of providing a 16’ x 24’ rolling stage and press risers for the post-game ceremonies at the 2019 National League Championship Series final game, which the Washington Nationals won in a 4-game sweep of the St Louis Cardinals. We have done similar stages before, but never at this high-level a game, with such amazing energy throughout the stadium. The crew for the event, Richard Benning, Tom Cipu, David Stuckenschneider, David Durbin, Errol Bailey, Mark Waltos, Alex Sheffield, and Laura Benning, arrived at the stadium and proceeded “back stage” to the grounds crew area, where the rolling stage had been pre-built earlier in the day. We were briefed on the game plan, then allowed to go watch the game. We were asked to be back at the top of the 8th inning.
The atmosphere was absolutely electric after an amazing 7-run first inning for the Nats. Many comments were heard about “we’re definitely going to the World Series now!”, but baseball is a superstitious sport, and those comments were quickly silenced for fear of jinxing it. The middle innings were pretty uneventful, although the Cardinals tried to make a run for it by scoring 4 runs.
At the top of the 8th inning, we all reported back down to the grounds crew area, where the stage was set up. It was covered with tarps to avoid any appearance of “taking a win for granted”. We anxiously watched the game on the tv in the grounds crew area, sitting among all the John Deere turf gear. When the top of the 8th went by with the Cardinals scoring no runs, we started to believe this could really happen. Once the first out occurred during the top of the 9th inning, we were given permission to pull the coverings off the rolling stage and get ready. The next two outs happened very quickly, and as soon as that last pop fly landed in Victor Robles’ glove, the gate was opened and we started rolling the stage, with the help of the grounds crew and the Nat Pack.
It was amazing to be out on the field with the fans screaming and jumping up and down, the fireworks going off, and of course the players having their center field celebration. We didn’t really get to soak it all in though, as the stage had to quickly get to 2nd base, get locked into place, steps placed, and drape adjusted. Two small press risers were also rolled out for the media cameras. We were able to get it all done in about 5 minutes, much quicker than the 8 minutes we were given to complete it. We then moved off towards the visitor dugouts to watch.
That’s when it really hit that the NATIONALS ARE GOING TO THE WORLD SERIES! All the players’ families were coming onto the field, the players were changing into the NL Champions shirts, everyone was hugging everyone else, and the fans were STILL screaming. No one had left the stadium. Being right on the field to see all this was the thrill of a lifetime.
We watched the pennant ceremony and waited until the field was just about cleared off, then rolled the stage back to the grounds crew area, where it will sit until needed (if needed) at the World Series. Many thanks to the Nationals Organization and the Lerner family for the opportunity to serve the team, the fans, and the city of Washington, DC..