Nationals Park
Washington, District of Columbia
Year Opened
2008

Current Team
Washington Nationals

Affiliate
N/A

League
National League

Capacity
41,222

My Grades
Stadium B+ Atmosphere B- Concessions A

Photos taken in 2008
After playing three season in antiquated RFK Stadium, the Washington Nationals finally moved into their new home in 2008. While Nationals Park (what, no corporate sponsor ?) is a huge improvement over the cookie cutter that RFK is, it is not a park that overly impressed me in terms of its structure or setting. The ballpark is located south of the National Mall, near the Navy Yard and the Anacosta River. Currently the whole area is under redevelopment, so it feels like a construction zone. Once completed, it should be a nice blend of office buildings, stores, and condos which comprise the surrounding area. Currently there is not a lot of parking and what there is, is located a fair walk from the park. Hopefully this will improve over time. The main entrance to the ballpark is in centerfield, where fans are allowed in an hour earlier than at other gates This seems to be a popular trend as ballparks in San Diego, Philadelphia, and Atlanta also have outfield concourses which open early. Nationals Park features three separate concourses - one on the main level that circles the entire park, one on the second level that is situated behind the right field seats and the scoreboard, and one on the upper deck level that provides access to the 300 and 400 level seats. All the concourses are very spacious and provide numerous concession stands. The array of food options available here is pretty impressive - Philly cheese steaks, bratwursts, crab cakes, burgers, fish tacos, burritos, and garlic fries are just a few of them. Prices are a bit on the high side, but the portions are large and the quality is good, so it seems you are getting a decent value for your money. A large team store is located in center field, right next to the main entrance. Also in center field, below the parking garage, there are various interactive games available for the kids. The seating areas were designed with "neighborhoods" in mind, which leads to the overall ballpark not having a congruous feel. Also, this causes navigation of the ballpark to be confusing. There is a myriad of stairs, escalators, elevators, and ramps connecting the various levels but they are not always easy to find nor are they intuitive. One unique seating section is the Red Porch located in left center. It features two bars (one inside, one outside) and some luxury seating. The scoreboard in right field in probably the biggest in the majors and provides a crystal clear HD picture. My only complaint with it is that it doesn't have a dedicated section for the linescore, so if you're looking for the score in between innings, it is nowhere to be found. One other minor complaint I had was with the atmosphere - it seemed a bit minor league at times. There was a DJ that would come on between innings to play a silly game or contest with the fans. Also, t-shirts were tossed into the crowd. I'd prefer these be left for the minor league ballparks. Nationals Park does not break any new ground, but provides a comfortable and fun experience for both baseball and non-baseball fans. Which is certainly needed during these times when the Nationals fielding a pretty awful team.
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All Photos Copyright Brian Merzbach
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