Our latest stadium critique comes from the land of politicians….Nationals Park. This critique was given by a man who despite the Swine Flu, despite the threat of rain and who ignored other “threats” that his friends suggested he might face traveled 5 hours by bus to see the Cardinals vs Nationals on Saturday. Yes, he is your friend and mine….Tom Spirakis.
National Park Critique
This past weekend I took a trip to our Nation’s Capital to catch a game between the St. Louis Cardinals and the Washington Nationals. I got there nice and early and was able to get down near the field to watch batting practice. I had a great seat on the field level adjacent to third base. I was about 10 rows from the field. Aside from Albert Pujols sitting out and the Cardinals losing it was a great game experience.
The stadium is really nice and although I didn’t expect huge crowds I was astonished at how few fans showed up for the game. Cardinal fans out numbered the Nats fans.
The stadium is nicely designed and felt pretty compact. Without sitting in the upper level seats I can’t really comment on the sight lines, but if your seat is in the upper level I think you can safely move down into any number of empty seats on the field level. I was really impressed with the score board. It provides a ton of in game info including adjusting the pitcher’s ERA after each out. The food at the concession stand was very impressive. I enjoyed a veggie burger and parmesan garlic fries (perhaps the best stadium food I ever had) They have a cool area behind center field for kids with the Play Station Pavilion and the Exxon Strike Zone. They also have a Build a Bear and a Jungle Gym. I though it was especially nice when the crowd was directed toward members of the Armed Services sitting behind home plate, they received the loudest and longest ovation of the day.
The empty stadium was disappointing. I realize that the Nats are new to the market and have not put a winning team on the field but people need to start showing up. I was also surprised to see nothing relating to the franchise’s years in Montreal. The pillars as you walk around the stadium are decorated with images of former Washington stars such as Walter Johnson and Frank Howard but I didn’t see Gary Carter or Andre Dawson anywhere. There also were about 5 mascots too many for me. Although the Presidents race was somewhat amusing I don’t see the need for George, Abe, Teddy and Tom (Mt. Rushmore) to be walking around during the game. Add to the mix Screech the Bald Eagle and the Geico Gecko and you really have had enough.
Overall Gameday Experience
Overall game day experience was 7 out of 10. If you want to see your team on the road it’s a great city and stadium to check out. I really enjoyed myself.