Silver Chips Online

Take me out to the ballgame

Nationals' new ballpark has a lot to offer

By Anshul Sood, Online Sports Editor
June 5, 2008
The Washington Nationals may be last in the NL East with a losing record, but at least they have one thing going for them this season: their new stadium. Located right along the Anacostia River, Nationals Park seats nearly 42,000 and is designed for the comfort of the modern fan.

Surprisingly, the ballpark's novelty is still untapped for many Washingtonians, as the average attendance is one of the lowest in the league, not even surpassing 30,000. But never fret - there are still over 100 games left in the Nationals' season, so there is plenty of time to check out all that the stadium has to offer. Since it can be a little confusing, Silver Chips Online is here to give you a glimpse of some of the stadium's features as well as suggestions for the best the ballpark has to offer.

Transportation and Parking
Getting to Nationals Park is not complex. The stadium is just half a block away from the Navy Yard Metro station on the green line.

However, if you drive to the stadium, there are a couple options for parking. Fans can park for free at RFK Stadium, the Nationals' former stadium, for as long as one and a half hours prior to the game. Free shuttles run from RFK to Nationals Park before and after the game. There is closer parking, but it comes at a price. There are three lots located a few blocks from the stadium where prices range from $15 to $20. Valet parking is also available at the stadium for $40. Reserving parking ahead of time is recommended. Visit the Nationals Park website to reserve parking and view parking maps.

SCO Pick: Take the metro and follow the crowd. Driving through D.C. proves to be a pain, especially on game days, and the metro is the cheapest and easiest way to get to the stadium.

Seating
The new stadium has a wide variety of seats and ticket prices. Single game tickets are available at the box office on game day or online. If you're looking to get inside without emptying your wallet, you can pick up a $5 ticket and stand in the grandstands, where the view of the Jumbotron beats the miniscule action below. The grandstands are located in the corner of left field and have three levels where fans can stand and watch the game. If you prefer to sit, you can move to the upper galleries behind home plate or to the right field terrace for $10 or $18. A step up is the gallery level behind home plate, which costs $18 or $24. Next is the Mezzanine level priced around $33, which can place you along the foul lines or in the Scoreboard Pavilion.

Club level tickets are sold out for the season, so the next upgrade brings us to the field level seats. You can get a seat above the two bullpens or in the corner of the outfields for $35 and the boxes along the outfield baselines cost $58 a seat. Then there are the center field seats, known as the Red Porch. Center field club seats are $47 and center field lounge seats are an overpriced $67, but redeem themselves with $20 in food and beverage credit.

Dugout seats are sold out for the season, which leaves only the luxury seats directly behind home plate. First there are the PNC Diamond seats for $170 a seat, which are close behind home plate and come with a parking pass for the Nationals Park garage, access to the PNC Diamond Club in the stadium, $35 in food and beverage credit and in-seat food and beverage service. Finally, for $325, you can sit directly behind home plate in the Presidential seats. Along with the seat, a ticket gets you parking in the garage, a gourmet buffet, complimentary in-seat refreshment service and access to the President's Club, PNC Diamond Club and Stars and Stripes Club.

SCO Pick: If you don't have a lot of cash, the best value deal is the lower right field terrace for $18 a ticket. Located right by the right field foul pole, you get a good view of the field and have the possibility of catching a home-run ball.

Food
Nationals Park offers the traditional ballpark foods: peanuts, crackerjack, popcorn and hotdogs. But the selection has also been upgraded to include pizza, burgers, fries, chicken tenders and sandwiches. And aside from the usual kiosks, the ballpark offers lounges and club restaurants and boasts options from specialty outside restaurants like Five Guys and Georgetown Grill, as well as dessert choices from smoothies to Dippin' Dots.

SCO Pick: One of the unique food options at Nationals Park is Gelato's Italian Ice Cream. Gelato's is an extravagant venue known for its exquisite frozen dessert that comes in a wide variety of flavors and is a great choice for a hot game day.

Extras
If you were dragged to a game but don't really enjoy baseball, Nationals Park has solutions. Located within the park are a few escapes where you can have some fun that doesn't involve RBI's and ERA's, including a PlayStation arcade, a Build-A-Bear Workshop and a batting cage. There is also a small playground within the ballpark for younger visitors.

SCO Pick: None. If you're at the park, watch the game!

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