View Full Version : Went to Nationals Park yesterday...

04-28-2008, 11:40 AM
Just went to my first game at Nationals park yesterday. I responded in the thread about the ballpark rankings that Chris DeLuca of the Sun Times published today in that thread, but here are my detailed comments. I agree with DeLuca in that you feel largely disconnected from the rest of the city when you are in the park, except for the upper decks of right field from which you can see the Capital. I really hate that the prominent sight you do see is of the parking garages, which are woefully inadequate anyway. Most of the undeveloped land around the park is being earmarked for commercial development. I've lived here for 23 years, so I know the developers here get there way, and this is yet another example of that.

They are really trying to encourage/force you to take Metro, which is what I did. I'm fortunate in that I can park in my office building's garage even on the weekends, but that is a luxury few people have here. We arrived an hour before the game without hassle. After the game, it took about 20-25 minutes to get on a train. The announced attendance was 33,795.

The experience inside the park is much better than the view. The food is a combination of local landmark establishments (like Ben's Chili Bowl, for those who know DC) and national franchises like Papa John's. All much more expensive than what you will pay outside of the park, of course. A beer costs $7.50 whether you order it at a concession stand or at your seat. One unique aspect of the concessions is that they have fully-stocked liquor sales throughout the park, not just at the club level. I don't recall seeing that in any other park before.

Speaking of seating, I sat along the right field line about 10 rows up from the rail. The seating is confortable, though the cup holders on the back of the seat in front of you are tilted, so you have to take a couple of swigs before setting down your drink, otherwise spill city. The huge scoreboard is on the right field wall. It gives updates to all the MLB games electronically, with information on inning, runners on base, and score of of course. Curiously, there were no score updates for any other sports. The Wizards had a playoff game in town at the same time and there was not even a PA announcement of what was going on there. Odd.

The Nats crowd is a bit polite when it comes to defending its turf, IMO. I went with a Nats season ticket holder and she agreed with this assessment. When the Cubs fans starting chanting during Cubs rallies, there was not much effort to drown them out. The only other crowd that came across that polite in my experience was the Coors Field crowd. Even they booed loudly, though, when Barry Bonds came up to bat. My guess is that the Nats crowd is still getting used to having a team in a real ballpark (no, RFK definitely did not count). At any rate, since the Cubs fans didn't have much to cheer about, it was not a big issue yesterday.

All in all, aside from the chilly weather, it was a good experience. I disagree with the DeLuca that Nationals Park should be ranked ahead of Camden, though. Camden, IMO, is still the standard bearer as far as parks go.

04-28-2008, 12:01 PM
Yeah, I've been to one game, a sunday game against Braves a few weeks ago. Had a seat in the upper deck in right, but wandered around the park for most of the game. It's a perfectly nice park and I don't have much bad to say about it, but it didn't wow me, either. Although the Ben's Chili Bowl was very good.

Went to an empty Camden Yards the following wednesday (saw a White Sox winner), and Nats Park doesn't even compare. SBC Park in SF reminds me a lot of Camden Yards, virtually the same layout. Nats Park seems more akin to the newest parks, like Citizens Bank Park; which I have yet to get to, but also has an asymmetrical look, a 'split' upper deck in right, and about four decks on top of each other.

04-29-2008, 12:35 PM
I caught the replays of the cubs game and absolutely LOVE the camera angle of the field...it is like an overhead angle you can really see the flight of the ball AND the outfielder pursuing it. I was wondering what kind of rig it was on or if it was just positioned higher than at other ball parks...