Monday, March 31, 2008

let's go Nats!!!

Sniff, sniff. Can you smell that, peeps? The fresh scent of pine? The smell of soft, supple leather? No, they're not opening a new S&M club in DC. It's baseball season!!! Woo hoo!

So what's a baseball fan in the nation's capital to do?

Well, you show up on opening day of the season at the new Nationals Park! With tickets in hand of course.

Here are some shots of opening day.
Main entrance

Main entrance

Curly W Bike Racks

Welcome Home

Inaugural Festivities

me and my boo





Behind scoreboard



Nationals Park Panorama

The entire set of photos can be viewed here.

And here's a video of Bush's warm reception at the stadium before the first pitch:

I have to say, I have mixed feelings about the Park itself. Thankfully for the Lerners (the Nats' owners), the bar was set really low with RFK Stadium being the previous home of the Nationals. RFK was a dump and that's putting it nicely.

Nationals Park is nice, with it's many, many beer concessions and cherry blossom trees. But it's no Petco Park. Unfortunately, I've been to a number of new ball parks* and I mentally compared them to Nationals Park while I was walking around yesterday. But San Diego's Petco Park captured Southern California culture so perfectly (yes, I'm usually biased about all things SoCal, but I am not a Padres fan), that I was hoping Nationals Park would do the same for D.C.

However, I could barely see the Capitol Dome and the Washington Monument, and I thought that was the whole point of the views. There were lots of opportunities for drinking, from the many beer concessions to the Red Loft and Red Porch bars to the beer pen on the 2nd level terrace (behind the scoreboard). So it was very fitting that they captured the drinking nature of this town.

Also, the architecture of the stadium is supposed to be some kind of homage to the monuments but I'm not an architecture aficionado so I can't really speak to that.

I know they still have some kinks to work out at the stadium, but I have to mention the total lack of TV screens at the concession stands. Considering how long the lines were to get food, it was impossible to keep track of the game while waiting in line for grub because there were no TV to keep you in the loop.

And about the food, they really needed to provide some seating areas for those of us who wanted to buy food, but not eat it at our seats. Please see Petco Park on how to do this right. I thought it was kinda sad to have a band playing on the terrace behind the score board, but not provide any seating for us to enjoy the music while eating some food.

Finally, I heard the Metro was a pain. So Jesse and I decided to drive to RFK and take the Nats Express shuttle to the game. I highly recommend it. It took us less then 30 minutes to get home last night and I'm sure it would've taken us a lot longer had we taken the Metro.

Still, the game was lots of fun. And it was nice to see so many Nats fans in one place since I usually see more of the opposing teams fans at Nats games.

Will I go back? Hells yeah. I love baseball too much not to go and appreciate the game. Jesse and I already have tickets to the Angels series in June (I'm an Angels fan first and a Nats fan second, so I'll be decked out in Angels gear for that series) and I'm sure we'll go back before then.

*For reference, here are the parks I've been to:
Angel Stadium (home of my Anaheim Angels)
Dodger Stadium (ugh. please avoid at all costs)
Camden Yards (home of the B-more Orioles)
Wrigley Field (home of the Cubs)
Yankee Stadium (home of the Yanks, obviously)
Citizens Bank Park (home of the Phillies)
PNC Park (home of the Pittsburgh Pirates)
Petco Park (home of the San Diego Padres)
At&T Park (home of the SF Giants)

I will be going to Coors Field on Saturday for the Colorado Rockies' Opening Day


Anonymous said...

did you read fromkin in the Post today? Is it true that President Bush got boo'ed? ~Erika

lizzie said...

erika--yeah, there was booing. if you check out the youtube video i posted, you can hear the boos (and someone behind me was using very foul language) before bush's name was even announced. apparently, on tv (and even in the video i posted), the boos seemed to be drowned out a bit by the cheers from the peeps in the expensive seats.

J Fitty said...

RFK is awesome! Granted I have only been for Skins and United games.

But that place is magical.

lizzie said...

j fitty--i haven't been for skins or united games. but it was a horrible place for baseball. and i completely understand that it was the nats' temporary home. but still, that place was crap.

Mme. Meow said...

Aw.... there is still fondness in my heart for RFK, as dumpy as it is. But I've yet to experience the new ballpark, so I can't say anything yet.

We can't wait to go! (and take Herr Meow to a game at a place that's sure to create lots of good memories for him)

J Fitty said...

One person's sh*t is another person's treasure I suppose.

Go to the upcoming World Cup Qualifier there. It'll be one of the best sporting events you'll ever go to in your life.

lizzie said...

madame: well, the new ball park is way better than RFK. there are all sorts of fun things for the kiddies, so i'm sure herr meow will have a very fun time!

and if you're looking for a sweet treat at the game, go for the sundaes in the souvenir baseball caps. yummy!

j fitty: hmmm, we'll have to agree to disagree.

before angel stadium was remodelled (yes, i used to go to angel games long before it was the cool thing to do), that place was kinda dumpy. since the remodel, it's awesome. but the condition of the stadium never had much to do with my experience of the game. the game is much more important.

if you're referring to RFK's character, well, then, yes, RFK has much of it and nationals park doesn't right now. but it will over time.