|Chronological Tour: Stop 332|
Home plate entrance to Nationals Park, Mar-2008.
A look in at the field, including the boxes behind home plate, from left field.
George Washington and Saint Joseph’s play the first game ever in the park.
Standing in against Saint Joseph’s University junior Jason Hessler, the senior outfielder from New Jersey hit a ground ball to third base. Mike Boyland picked it up and fired to first, but too late to get Kruer, who became the first player to record a hit at the new Nationals Park. Two batters later, Kruer became the first player ever to score a run at the new park in the Capitol Riverfront district, when Andrew Abokhair singled up the middle.
The facility wasn’t going to host its usual home team for another week, when the Nationals would return from spring training to play an exhibition game and their regular-season opener over the next weekend. But Nationals management arranged in early March to have the Colonials shift one game of their season-opening Atlantic-10 Conference series against the Hawks from their usual park in Alexandria to the new park, giving the Nats a chance to take their new home for a shakedown cruise.
In keeping with the latest trend in building new ballparks, Nationals Park is small. It holds nearly 15,000 fewer fans than Robert F. Kennedy Stadium, which was the home of pro baseball in the District from 1962-71 and 2005-07. Of course, it has its fair share of luxury boxes and other premium amenities, but it also has a decent number of affordable upper-deck seats.
Another recent trend that Nationals Park follows is restricting access to seating areas behind the plate. These are reserved for premium ticket holders, with boxes immediately behind, which means there is no view directly behind the plate from the main concourse. There are, however, limited upper-deck seats directly behind the plate.
The upper deck is also broken up halfway down the first-base line, meaning one cannot walk clear around the length of the upper deck. This is also a feature of the recent parks in Cincinnati and Philadelphia.
One nice touch is the presence of several cherry blossom trees on the concourse in left field, mimicking the displays in the parks near the Potomac River. Another is the large LED scoreboard in right center field, along with LED ribbon boards along the rim of the second deck.
When I attended the college game in March, the team totals on the main board were highlighted as red digits on white in the game score on the main board, as opposed to the rest of the line score (white digits on black). This actually proved a little confusing; by June, they had switched the main score numbers to yellow on black. Also, in the dry run of the college game, there was no auxiliary score display, so fans walking the concourse in right field had no view of game data. By June, these boards were fully operational, showing either the batter’s previous plate appearances or season statistics, including on-base and slugging percentages.
One drawback is that there are limited escalators to the upper deck, and the ramps between the decks are exceedingly long. Also, there is very little parking in the vicinity of the park. Fans are encouraged to take Metro Rail to the park, which is a block from the Navy Yard station on the Green Line.
|47||Sat 22-Mar-2008||Atlantic 10||Div I||GEORGE WASHINGTON 9, Saint Joseph’s 4|
|924||Sun 22-Jun-2008||National *||MLB||Texas 5, WASHINGTON 3|
|980||Sat 20-Sep-2008||National||MLB||San Diego 6, WASHINGTON 1|
|981||Sun 21-Sep-2008||National||MLB||San Diego 6, WASHINGTON 2|
|1120||Mon 30-May-2011||National||MLB||Philadelphia 5, WASHINGTON 4|
|1189||Wed 4-Jul-2012||National||MLB||WASHINGTON 9, San Francisco 4|
|1219||Sun 19-Aug-2012||National||MLB||WASHINGTON 5, NY Mets 2|
|1309||Mon 26-May-2014||National||MLB||Miami 3, WASHINGTON 2|
|1413||Sun 23-Aug-2015||National||MLB||WASHINGTON 9, Milwaukee 5|
|1456||Sun 29-May-2016||National||MLB||WASHINGTON 10, St Louis 2|
|* Interleague play.|