Everything You Need to Know about Nats Park

Brian MarkhamCorrespondent IApril 27, 2008

I interrupt my normal O's coverage to bring you an in-depth look at the Washington Nationals' new ballpark in southeast DC. 

I imagine that a lot of gamers out there are going to want to flock to the new stadium to check it out.  Since I've already been three times this season, I'm starting to get to know the routine pretty well.


Getting There

Take the Metro.  For those of you coming from out of town, do not drive to the stadium.  Trust me on this. 

The Nationals don't have all the parking lots open or finished yet, and driving offers you no real advantage except avoiding the metro. 

If you've come in from out of town, check out this map and look for a station with a car next to it.  That means the station has parking. 

You're going to want to start somewhere close to the green line, and to do this Greenbelt is probably your best option for parking.  That's right off of the beltway and is so easy it's almost criminal. 

Once on the metro, take the green line to Navy Yard.  If you have a smart trip card, stay to the right.  If not, stay to the left.  It'll all make sense later! 

Look, there are going to be lines but it's not that bad.  Once you've made it past the metro turnstiles it's no sweat getting down to the train platform.


The Park Itself

Once you're outside the Navy Yard metro, look to your left—Nats Park seems to rise out of the ground. 

It's massive from the outside, and as you get closer the scale of the park really begins to set in. 

Once inside, you are surrounded by the obligatory DC gimmicks.  I'm not from DC but I truly do believe we are the most ADD fan base in America.  We've got PlayStation, Build-A-Bear, mascots running around, and all sorts of other eye candy. 

Take a walk around the concourse.  Enjoy the pillars adorned with hall of fame players.  Check out the spoils of being rich in the PNC Diamond Seats (us peasants can only peer longingly through the windows though). 

You'll get a pretty good sense of the variety of food as you tour the concourse.  If you make it to Five Guys I highly recommend it.  Another DC mainstay, Hard Times Cafe, has a stand as well.  The Red Porch/Loft in left center field is a bar where you can sit and hang out before or during the game.  It's pretty unique and has a very cool vibe. 

Concessions are expensive, and they are still working the kinks out of their operations.  Plan to wait if you want a hot dog in the fourth inning—the lines are long.


The Game

Nats Park has the best scoreboard I've ever seen.  It's huge, clear, and is always displaying good information.

Away game scores appear on the right field wall.  This sucks though if you're sitting in the right field stands because you can't see anything and iPhone EDGE coverage is less than great. 

MPH is on the main scoreboard, while the count and a selected set of stats appear on the first/third base club level boards. 

I have yet to experience anything but a great seat in the ballpark.  The field is beautiful, the seats have great views, and there's a photo op every minute. 

Even if you sit really far away, the t-shirt guns can reach you—if you're into that sort of thing. 

For the money, I recommend the $36 LF/RF corner seats.  Great view and angle.  Plus, foul balls—bonus.



Nats Park doesn't try to be anything that it's not. 

It's a modern park for a modern city that doesn't kid itself into thinking this team has been around forever.  It's a concrete and steel temple of modern baseball. 

Leave the retro to Camden Yards and the history to Wrigley Field. 

DC will take it's ballpark with great views, modern amenities, and a variety of gimmicks—it's a unique ballpark and a must-visit if you're in the city.


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