17 July 2008

Nats Park, the Sequel

A ride on the Metro took 25 minutes from the Rosslyn Station to Navy Yard, including a transfer at L'Enfant Plaza. Before boarding the train, I took what is purported to be the third-longest escalator in the world.

The escalator ride itself took over two minutes.

The first game's start was delayed thanks to rain that impacted me as I drove from NYC to DC. The second game's delay waited until the middle of the game.

Overall, three of the six games I attended were hit by rain delays.

This next picture shows the press box above the lower section of the upper deck. Why did I include this? The upper deck of Cisco Field will have a similar look (minus the red).

Again, the concourses are spacious and well-planned. On the other hand, the gray beams could use a splash of color.

The Presidents Club seats have been sparsely filled at most home games this season. I suppose that makes Washington powerbrokers the most fairweather of fans.

My original assessment of Nationals Park stands: serviceable but uninspiring. I take away from the DC portion of the trip one particular observation. It's going to take a long time, perhaps decades, to make DC a baseball town again. It's not just the omnipresent Redskins that make the place a football town. When baseball left our nation's capital for the seemingly the last time in 1971, the institution that is attending baseball games - that is fandom - also left. As a result, lots of Nats attendees don't have a good sense of what it is to be a die-hard fan (not helped by the Nats' constant crappiness). The relative proximity of Baltimore only made it worse, as fans from say, Northern Virginia, had to deal with lengthy drive. If you have a family of four and you leave at 5:30 to attend a 7:05 game, you probably have to leave well before 10 if you want to get home at a decent hour. For most of that Friday night's fans the mass exodus occurred in the 6th inning.

Coincidentally, the distance from B'more to DC is approximately the same length as my drive from San Jose to Oakland. I can see this type of situation playing out in Fremont among the South Bay fans, who have been conditioned to this way of attending games for decades. When a ballpark is only 15-20 minutes away, many will have to learn to attend games the proper way (apologies to families with small children, who tend to dictate this on their own). Conversely, those further north will have to get used to allotting more drive time for games they attend. It sucks, of course it sucks. When it comes to building stadia these days, beggars can't be choosers.


Zonis said...

ML, peopl seem to be grumbling that the Fremont plan has derailed. What exactly is the current status of the plan? Any hitches or problems in the EIR? Or are people saying this just because the EIR takes forever with no news generating from it.

Marine Layer said...

None in the EIR AFAIK. The financing situation may be another matter and isn't something I'm privy to. I wouldn't be surprised if they held off on pursuing financing until the economy turns around.

Anonymous said...

I just made a temporary move from the Bay Area to DC. The design of Nationals Park is nice, but I wish the facade was prettier. They had an opportunity to have Roman architecture like the rest of the city.

Anonymous said...

Robert Bobb is back in Oakland. Unfortunately, it's only as a consultant to help Dellums restructure his staff. Sure would be nice if it was to head up a new effort to get a downtown stadium and village proposal put together.

EIRs take time. There's really no news there. But anyone can see that the housing market is not being invested in for the foreseeable future. Given that's supposed to be the engine for funding (whether it be Fremont, Oakland, wherever) you have to be concerned for a new A's ballpark.

Anonymous said...

OTOH, when the housing market rebounds , as it will in job rich, housing tight Bay Area esp closein to Silicon Valley, expect the demand to be for close -in housing with walk to amenities ( sports, movies, shopping,bars,entertainment,groceries) as the Ballpark Village in Fremont will provide . When you don't have to deal with the choke point Sunol and Altamont passes out of SV, the commute is a lot shorter and less stressful . Come home, walk to ballgame or catch a quick bite and a movie then grab some groceries for the healthful walk home afterwards.
With high gas prices, who wants to commute 2 hours each way to tract homes in Tracy and drive around all weekend to get anything anywhere.
I think the Village will be a big hit with the 25-35 y/o Silicon Valley techies with start up money who are the ones driving Priuses and trying to be " green " among their peers.

Anonymous said...

Yes, I agree completely. It's just a matter of when the rebound will occur.

James said...

I'm sure the rebound will at least start by 2012, when the CF is scheduled to open (and the Warm Springs BART station is scheduled to open that year as well!). Also, it's important to remember that the housing component to the village is to occur in phases over, IIRC, ten years.