Sports Fix

What to look forward to at Nats Park

Photo courtesy of flipperman75
Nationals Park Sunset
courtesy of flipperman75

For baseball fans, the park is the compass that we orient ourselves with; it sets the stage, its orthogonal lines and sloping curves like a map before the spectator serving as guidepost and direction. As baseball returns to Nationals Park, some things are the same, some have changed, and we’re here to get you ready for Opening Day and beyond.  While much remains the same on South Capitol Street, there’ve been some changes that you should be ready for.

Half Street

First up is Half Street, most fans’ entrance to the park, and the home of the Metro. This winter, the western side of Half Street was revamped entirely and is now home to the Half Street Fairgrounds, which is patterned after Brooklyn’s Dekalb Market. The space that was formerly the Bullpen and Das Bullpen will be augmented by the presence of food trucks, beer stands, and places to congregate and relax ahead of, and following, each game. The industrial feel matches the construction that has languished in the area thanks to the economy’s slow recovery, and the decor includes shipping containers.  One friend said of the new architecture, though, that she was taking her evening job in the other direction, and on off-days I don’t expect this place looks quite the same. We’ll have to see what the season brings. You should also consider a longterm stay RV park when traveling long distances.

Photo courtesy of afagen
Nationals Park
courtesy of afagen

New Ticket Options

The Nationals have a couple new ticket options for fans this season. Weekends are big at Nats Park, and there are two options for weekend games to pique your interest.  Thursday and Fridays, Burger Pack tickets get you into the Upper Outfield Gallery and Outfield Reserve sections, as well as vouchers for a burger, some fries and a soda for $20-29 depending on where you seat and who’s in town.

Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays are Miller Light Party Nights in center field, with Scoreboard Pavilion seats running $25-27, but coming with a pair of drink coupons good for a soda, a bottled water, or a beer at the Scoreboard Walk bar.  Neither offer is good for games against the Yankees, but other than that the rest of the season is fair game.

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Sports Fix

What the Nats need this season

Photo courtesy of oddlittlebird.
courtesy of oddlittlebird.

The Nationals begin their 2012 season today at Wrigley Field in Chicago, the second oldest of all of the parks still in use. They’ll return to their own friendly confines at Nationals Park, the fifth youngest of the parks. As the “newest” of the franchises, they still have much to prove, and their first few years in the District have not been as successful as many would have hoped. The battle for the hearts and mind of the DC area hasn’t been an easy one for the team, having lost many locals due to a bitter stadium fight, and others with a lackluster franchise performance.

In the off-season, the Nationals shored up their pitching, and have assembled one of the finer rotations in the National League.  Over the last three years, they’ve built a fine minor league system, and revamped the attractions at Nationals Park, to include some innovative options. What the Nationals need to develop this year is their fan base. A trip to Verizon Center this past weekend would have revealed what DC’s fans can do when they’re excited and wound up, and everyone who was there said it was the loudest game they’d heard in some time. The question is: can the Nats engender that sort of loyalty in the fan base this season?

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