NEW YORK -- The longest road trip of the Nationals' season is near an end, with Thursday's getaway game at Citi Field representing Day 11 and a much-welcomed flight home. It has been a productive journey, with a 6-2 record entering these last two games against the Mets, but 11 days are 11 days.
On Wednesday, Nats rookies Anthony Rendon, Ian Krol and Erik Davis decided to spend their last remaining casual hours on the trip at the MLB Fan Cave before heading to the night game against the Mets. At 12:09 p.m. ET, Rendon was waiting by himself in the team's hotel lobby and sent a text to Davis, who was still up in his room, as was Krol.
Here was the conversation, starting with Rendon's text:
When are we leaving
I've been down here forever
Haha I'm on way down, be there in a bit
Ah, the rookie life.
The three players made it to the Fan Cave for a fun adventure, complete with Krol going headfirst down a giant slide, Rendon sinking a bag-toss trick shot for the ages ($3,500 was raised for Sandy Relief in the Scott's charity event), and Davis revealing that he -- the "nerdy" and bespectacled Stanford guy -- never has been properly heckled in his career.
Rendon, the 2011 first-round Draft pick from Rice, has reached base in 31 of his past 35 games, recording his fourth three-hit game of the season during Saturday's victory at Miami. He is batting .259 with six homers and 29 RBIs in his first MLB season, and he also spent 36 games this year at the Double-A and Triple-A levels, so each day is new territory for durability.
Krol and Davis were each recalled when rosters expanded on Sept. 1. Krol -- a self-described MLB.com At Bat app devotee away from the ballpark -- fanned the side in his MLB debut, perhaps the most memorable part of his season, and is in learning mode with one earned run allowed in five of his past seven appearances, including his most recent one Friday in Miami. Davis has been unscored upon in six of his seven outings this year, his most recent one also coming on Friday.
MLB.com asked all three rookies the same question:
What was the one moment this season when it really hit you that you were in The Show?
Rendon: "My first moment where I really figured it out and got taken aback by it was when I first got called up. It was here in New York. We went out for stretch, and when we started taking BP, I was thinking: 'BP on a Major League field.' I thought: 'Dang, I'm here, it's crazy.'"
Krol: "My moment where I first realized I actually made it was my first plane ride. I never really traveled like that playing baseball before, obviously. You get the meals and the whole row to yourself. Then you get off the plane, you go to a nice hotel. I was just kind of overwhelmed by it all. At the same time, I knew I was so fortunate."
Davis: "For me, it was when I made my debut down in Atlanta. I came in the game with guys on base. You know Atlanta, great fans there, they've got 45,000 people doing the Tomahawk Chop. It was pretty intense. But even better feeling was getting out of it and making 45,000 people kind of shut up."
The remaining five Cave Dwellers have watched 2,165 games so far this season, with 265 to go. Davis, seated on the couch where they watch them all, took a look around and was impressed.
"Coming in, I think we've got it pretty good," he said. "These guys are up there. This is a pretty great lifestyle they're living right now."
Mark Newman is enterprise editor of MLB.com. Read and join other baseball fans on his MLB.com community blog.