Friday, June 20, 2014

Washington Nationals

I finally arrived at our Nation’s Capital (that’s Washington DC for all of my OK and WV friends). I was apprehensive about driving since I have heard so many people talk about getting bogged down in gridlock and not getting anything accomplished. Then I realized they were talking about the government and not the city itself. Ba da dum.

Actually, the traffic was not that bad, I have, after all, lived in Tulsa during the great road construction project of 2012-13 (you would have had to been there). I was REALLY surprised at how easy it was to get to and from Nationals Ballpark. Even though I had to pay ten bucks to park, which in DC is a steal. But hey, I am on a budget. Ten buck buys a lot of peanut butter. And I was surprised at the ticket window. In one of our country’s most expensive cities the cheapest seat was just a sawbuck...that’s right five dollars. Are you listening St. Louis?

The ballpark itself is very modern. It has a parking garage built into it (not the $10 parking I assure you) and is adorned with large chrome baseballs on the outside, a large circular message display that looks like a giant halo greets you at the centerfield entrance. It has clean lines and a red cement flood speckled with multi-colored anti-slip flakes. The concourse is very wide and mostly open to the field. The food booths are very modern and have cool DC-related names like “Steak of the Union,” “Senator’s Sausage,” etc. The outfield wall has some sharp angles and a digital out of town scoreboard in the right field wall. Plus, the entire stadium is either red, white or blue. How is that for a patriotic tie-in? Overall it reminds me of 21st century modern meets Ikea meets airport. Not a bad thing. It is very unique and tasteful. I give the Nationals credit for bucking the retro-park trend (that’s so 20th century anyway) and doing their own thing. They did a fine job designing a ballpark.

Bun-fresh, albeit a bit mushed from the wrapper.
Taste-the Hatfield’s frank was pretty good.
Toppings-better than I have run into lately, but they need a bit more for top score.
Price-$5 is not too bad for a MLB venue. Others do better but still a decent price.
Portability-the Reynold’s Wrap type foil does a dandy job, but tends to smash the bun. You are not losing a morsel in that wrap job.
It Factor-food choices, and good ones, abound in Nationals Park. But the variety of hot dogs is not so vast.
Location-it is in the Navy Yard area, which is close enough to call it a downtown ballpark.
Access-metro, walk, bus, boat.
GA Ticket-$5 is a sweet as it gets. The Nats know how to bring ‘em in.
Cleanliness-they do a great job of keeping the stadium spotless.
Fans-I was impressed with the Thursday night turnout. LOTS of fans and they were very vocal for the home team. In a town where everyone is probably from somewhere else, that was also impressive.
Ambiance-I hate to do it to such a great venue, but while it is a clean and modern ballpark it lacks that baseball vibe. It was a bit like a baseball game broke out in the warehouse section of Ikea. I still love the park though despite its shortcoming in the ambiance category.

DogBallparkTotal Dog/Game
Portability5GA Ticket Price5
It Factor3.5Fans5

My Sweet Seat Benefactor
Weird things happen in DC (hey Marion Barry used to be the Mayor, it don’t get no weirder than that) but sometimes it is good weird things. As always I got the cheapest ticket, when about the 2nd inning a man shows up and asks if I want to sit behind home plate. Well, you know you are not supposed to talk to strangers, but that rule is automatically waived if they have tickets behind home plate. It turns out he is the guy that takes X-rays on site if needed for either team. He gets several tickets for each game in the sweet section and if no one in his family or friends accompanies him he plucks someone out of the stratosphere seats to enjoy them. Who said good people don’t live in DC (although he is technically from NY)? And, he had renewed my faith in Yankees fans. Thanks Doc for the great seat. I was so close the home plate umpire was asking me if the batter had gone around on the swing.

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