Sunday, March 30, 2008

Nats Stadium - Ready to Rock and Oh So Nice

This sports clown went to the Nationals vs. Orioles exhibition game on Saturday the 29th.

All I can say is Wow. The stadium is amazing. Normally I'd sit here and pick apart the piteous effort by both teams to score runs, but it was an exhibition game and most of the starters were taken out by the third inning.
Let's put it this way, I was too busy walking around the brand new stadium, in compete shock and awe to care about the game.
(I will add a few notes on at the end of this post about strengths and weakness... and by a few I mean 12.)

If I were to compare the stadium to another in the league, the closet would be Busch II in St. Louis. Which makes sense because it is the previous most recently build stadium, but what makes this stadium different is its open feeling and really expansive nature. Maybe it's because it was an exhibition game and the masses hadn't taken over yet, but as I watched the game I got a really good feeling that even though I was with thousands of other people the game I was watching was just my own. Bottom line, great sightlines from every seat that I sat in.

The concourse has a similar feel, real open in places. They have a cool bar area in dead center. I'm not sure if it's going to be open to everyone when the regular season starts, but the Red-zone was a pretty chill place to watch the game (especially for all you fans that like mixed drinks, or are with ladies that don't want another $8 beer)
I can see the food area getting absolutely crazy. I'm not sure they did a good enough job giving their venues enough space for lines and the fact that the main food court area is in the shape of a "V" with only complicate things as the different vendor lines smash together.
They do however have a lot of options. A big failure of RFK was remedied and there is great food all around the ballpark. Red Hot and Blue, Hard Times, Boardwalk fries, Ballpark Classics, Ice Cream, Dippin Dots, Chicken Tenders, Pretzels, Pizza, Chili. The best part is each food has its own stand. So if you want chicken, you won't have to wait in line with all the people that want a hot dog and vice versa. And, Oh Yeah!
Five Guys is coming!

Note: The main food vendor area is tilted on the third base side of centerfield and the main picnic area is tilted on the first base side of centerfield. You've got to walk around past the Playstation area and the Red Zone tower to find the tables. I hope they plan on putting in more tables.

Everything is pretty expensive. I had a beer and a pulled pork sandwich platter for 20 bucks, was still hungry and had to add fries for another 5. But seriously, when has stadium food ever been cheap. Back in the day they probably complained that their frankfurter was costing them a nickel when they could ride the train to the Coney Island for 2 cents. It's the nature of the beast and I can suck it up for a night of entertainment.

All-in-all the stadium is very nice and the money put in was well spent. It looks great, the food is gourmet compared to RFK and the viewing experience is second to none. They've managed to capture a spring training/interactive/personal feel on the big stage.

Metro = > This is the nitty gritty about getting to the ballpark. They have other methods that include a shuttle from RFK and parking for season ticket holders, but that could be just as squirrelly so I recommend using the Metro. No matter where you are coming from you'll need to get on the Green line and get off at the Navy Yard. For most that means Green line towards Branch Avenue and for everyone that I know that means transfer to green at L'Enfant Plaza. This will bring you up right next to the stadium, literally take a left and there it is. Pretty cool situation and a real fun sight to see when you are ready to go to a ball game.


Now listen up because this is important. When the game is over, do not follow the rest of the sheep back into the Navy Yard stop. Go past the mob, take your first left and follow the signs to the Waterfront stop. It's hiding next to a Safeway, but you'll see the overhang. The Waterfront is one stop down on the green line and if you are walking briskly or even an above average pace you will by-pass the entire clustersmuck leaving the stadium. It'll still take about an hour to get home, but headaches will be at a minimum.

Now for the less than stellar part of the evening, the game... (click the tab for expanded analysis for the positives and negatives)

Positives:

- We won 3-0
- Kearns looked sharp and ready to prove himself
- Nick Johnson is still healthy
- The bullpen was very strong
- Bergmann didn't disappoint my high hopes for him
- Ryan Zimmerman is still the dreamy poster boy of the franchise so I bought a jersey

Negatives:

- Paul Lo Duca can't throw out my grandmother, prepare to watch a lot of teams run
- We only scored 3 runs against the Orioles
- Elijah Dukes left 10 runners on base and 5 in scoring position, striking out twice
- The bench looked really weak (Lopez 0-2, Boone 0-1, Young 1-4, Flores 0-1)
- Bergmann walked more batters than he struck out
- Dmitri Young is listed at 6'2'', 220 Lbs in the media guide, haha. Yeah right.


The Nationals have a lot to work on, but at least they are doing some things right. I've said it before, they will be a competitive team on most nights but lets just hope they can turn that into a couple more wins than we are used to.

- The Hokie

3 comments:

DMG said...

They have a cool bar area in dead center. I'm not sure if it's going to be open to everyone when the regular season starts, but the Red-zone was a pretty chill place to watch the game (especially for all you fans that like mixed drinks, or are with ladies that don't want another $8 beer)

Such people do not belong at a baseball game.

The Friendship said...

haha, I was just there to drink beer on tap and enjoy the view. But all the people around me seemed to be drinking vodka tonics and stuff like that.
I won't need to venture back, but like an explorer in an exotic jungle I felt indebted to check it out and report my findings for posterity.

DMG said...

Good man, good man.

Just for the record, I have no problem with ladies or mixed drinks...but a baseball stadium is just a place you grab a beer.