Ballpark Review: Nationals Park

Franchise: Washington Nationals

Year Opened: 2008

Capacity: 41,418

Game Attended: September 5, 2014 v Philadelphia Phillies

Section 409, Row 1, Seat 1

With the third ballpark review, I take on Nationals Park. It’s a nice park with some cool aspects to it, but it fails to single itself out from the other modern parks. Despite that, I enjoyed my time and recommend knocking this park out next time you visit D.C.

1) Aesthetics- 16/25

Exterior- 4/5

The exterior is pretty modern looking and different than most parks so I like it. Also, the left field gate is my favorite gate of any stadium so far. You just walk past the entry and boom, you’re on top of the field left seats as players are taking BP.

Interior- 7/10

I love the scoreboard and the stadium is nice (as it should be when it’s less than 10 years old) but there isn’t anything special about the place. There is no cool skyline in the distance, no unique design to the fence or its alignment, or any other distinguishing feature. It is about as regular as a park can look without being a cookie-cutter stadium.

Backdrop- 5/10

From select seats in the upper deck you can see The Capitol building which is really cool, but only a handful of fans get that view. Moreover, there is a lot of construction and ugly buildings visible in the backdrop, which hurts its rating. That said, it still has a solid look to it.

2) Seats & View- 12/15

Sight lines- 4/5

I sat in the upper deck and had a great view of the game. On the third base side I could still pick up what kind of pitches were being thrown and had a great vantage point of all the players so I could track their movement. From walking around, I could tell there were other great views. I thought the left field seats were really cool. When you walk through the main gate in left, the seats are right there, straight ahead. I’ve never seen a stadium with a design like that, but I thought it was awesome and it gave a great view of the game, the bullpen, and the scoreboard.

Proximity- 4/5

Like most new parks, seats are built closer to the action than ever before.

Comfort- 4/5

No complaints from me.

Best Seat- Left field

3) Atmosphere- 11/15

Fan Participation- 4/5

Even though the team has been good the past few years, I wasn’t expecting much of a fan base. I was pleasantly surprised at the game I was at. Fans were vocal in support and they have even had a special “Nats” chant for each run scored. This fan base has potential so long as the Nats keep winning.

Attendance- 3.5/5

I went to a September game, on a Friday, in a season where the Nats won 96 games. It was crowded, but they could have drawn more.

Fan Knowledge- 3.5/5

4) Attractions- 4/15

Museum & Team History- 1/10

There is no team history. And through no fault of their own, there is little team history to show off.

Stuff to See and Do- 3/5

Much like The Bank, there isn’t much in the way of anything at the park.The boardwalk area is alright and featured a live band. The team store was really big with a nice selection, but it was the only such store I saw. Also, there is a cool wall with fat heads of the players and a height chart, so that you can measure yourself compared to a Nationals player.

5) Food & Drink- 7/10

Hot Dog- Ballpark foul. I didn’t have one.

Best of the Rest- 7/10

There was a good amount of food choices, especially in right field where they had some boardwalk-esque atmosphere going on. From what I remember though, the food there was relatively expensive. But they had anything from burritos to Caribbean jerk chicken. I ended up with chicken fingers, which were alright, but extremely salty.

6) Game Entertainment & Presentation- 5/5

The Brewers may have started the mascot races in the Majors, but the Nationals mastered it. The Racing Presidents are by far the best racing mascots in baseball and they get physical with it. Some fans might enjoy this more than the game itself.

7) Cleanliness- 4.5/5

The park was clean, as it should be when it’s new. The concourse is pretty open and the bathrooms were nice.

8) Local Scene & Location- 1/5

There is none. You have to take a crappy transportation system and the stadium is kind of in the middle of nowhere. There are food carts and a restaurant right outside the stadium, but that is it.

9) Access & Cost- 2/5

Tickets are a little bit on the costly side, but it is not too bad and the upper deck tickets are pretty cheap. However, you will find yourself spending a lot on food, drink, and transportation getting there. Otherwise I would have given a better cost score as far as their game tickets go.

Access is terrible though. Driving is tough and using the location transportation is terrible. You definitely need to take time to plan out how you will arrive here.

10) Misc +2

Stats & Info- 1

Concourse- 1

Tradition- 1

The president’s race!

11) Personal Opinion- 3.5/5

I think the park is better than what my overall score will show. As I have mentioned, it is a nice, clean park with a good atmosphere and a couple cool aspects such as the player height chart and the boardwalk area. But overall, there is no special quality to the stadium to separate it from the other modern stadiums (like PNC has with the skyline or ATT with the bay). I do recommend a game here.

Overall Score- 68/115

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