The Hundley Goes to DC

May 12, 2008 | Comments (0) | by The Hundley

When you make a trip to the nation's capitol for a vacation, many fun things spring to mind. A trip to The Lincoln Memorial, a sightseeing trip to The White House, get your picture taken in front of the Capitol Building, experience some of The Smithsonian. Yes, all of these diversions will satisfy your curiosities and provide you with meaningful diversion. But what they can't offer you is a once-in-a-lifetime pitching matchup of Tim Redding and Ricky Nolasco (the man who was part of the deal that brought us Juan Pierre). I must say, I liked what I saw. Nationals Park is a place to behold.

Transportation: It doesn't get much sweeter than being dropped off in front of the stadium. Okay, not the front, but centerfield, where 70% of the fans will enter. If you've ever used The Metro subway system, you know that it's a clean, inexpensive, and efficient way to travel. The Green line gets you here. The problem here is for those who don't use The Metro. By many personal accounts, it's horrific to try and drive there. It's slow moving getting to the stadium's location, and even if you manage to make it there, parking is scarce.

The Team: If you read this blog, chances are you're a baseball fan, and you don't need me to tell you about the tough times that The Nationals are experiencing. Particularly the pitching staff, whom even baseball diehards would have a hard time recognizing the names. Needless to say, I left the game thinking, "At least I got to see Hanley Ramierez."

Concessions / Souveniers: "Senator Sausages" and "Pizza Slice Down the Line" are a few of the witty names given to the various vendors. It varied from standard ballpark fare to more specific area favorites like an outfit that specializes in chili as a condiment. Chili on hotdogs, chili on burgers, chili on pizza, chili on chili, etc. Miller Lite appeared to be the main macro-beer pushed, but the real treasure lies in the special draws of Stella Artois and the Pennsylvania-brewed Yuengling Lager, which The Hundley has blessed with his full endorsement. The main concourse was chock full of merchandise shops, and from the minor perusing I did, it seemed the prices weren't too bad, maybe $3 or $4 more than what you'd pay for the same stuff at a shopping mall.

Customer Service: You have to think it's easy to walk up to the park and get day of game tickets to a Nationals / Marlins game, right? Oh, yes. You don't even have to deal with a person at a box office. Instead, you walk up to a machine that looks like an ATM, insert your credit card, and select your tickets. The entire process took less than a minute. Inside the stadium, each section had an usher, all of whom were donned in red and sported Nats caps. There were plenty of beer and food vendors, though it may have been a different story if the place was packed. The staff loses some points for not removing their hats during the National Anthem, which is a disturbing trend that bugs the crap out of me.

The Ballpark: Hey, it's a new stadium, what more do you want? The outfield upper deck seats are always $10, and that night, was one of the more populated sections of the park. Box seats went upwards of $75, but with it being a modern stadium, there really are no bad seats. In fact, the cheaper upper deck seats allow some a view of the Capitol Building and the Washington Monument. The real gem, however, is the giant TV screen on the outfield scoreboard, which shows it's picture in high definition. Just plain crazy how great it looks. Also great, and much like most modern stadiums, you are able to walk around the entire stadium concourse on one level, and bathrooms are plenty and clean.

Atmosphere: I realize a matchup with the Marlins isn't quite Cubs-Cardinals. But for crying out loud, if you can't draw 15,000 people in a new park, on a Friday night, during decent weather, well...things don't look too good. As I said, the upper deck was quite rowdy and boisterous, and it almost felt like I was sitting amongst passionate fans. From what I could tell, the lower level appeared to be a bit on the stuffy side, who were more inclined to rattle their jewelry than to stand up and shout their approval. The biggest reaction of the night was probably the reaction to The Presidential Race, in which Washington, Lincoln, Jefferson and Teddy Roosevelt hold a footrace that's eerily similar to the sausage race up in milly*walk*KAY.

Hey, at least I got to see Hanley Ramierez. But I didn't have NEAR the fun that these two blokes had.

When you step off The Metro, you walk right to the Center Field Box Office
A 4,500 square foot Jumbo-Tron. Oh, and it's in sparkling HD.
I was shocked when I realized these weren't actually the ex-Presidents, Washington and Lincoln.
People can't wait to get their hands on some Senators Sausages.
Lot's of fans dressed as seats on a Friday night.