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.