Of course, I got tickets to the official opening game at Nationals Park, watching the Braves play the Nationals on Sunday.
Those of you outside the DC area might not know that they built the park with very little parking. As a 20-game ticket holder, I could have gotten a parking pass for $20-$35 per game, but it's a difficult part of town to get in and out of, so I decided to use one of the other two options: Metro, or the National's unique shuttle service, where you park (for free) in a lot at old RFK Stadium, and then take a shuttle bus to the new park, all for free. Must cost the Lerners a bundle. Tonight, I decided to take the shuttle, which winds out of RFK, onto the Southeast-Southwest Freeway (I295/395), past the Marine Barracks, and dumps you about three blocks from the stadium. All in all it went pretty smoothly, but this was a Sunday night. How things will work during rush hour is anyone's guess.
Since I had tickets up (way up) above first base, when I got to the park
I headed for the first base entrance, where I found a rather long line:
The problem, of course, was that Dubya was present, so we all had to go through metal detectors. That's fine, except the first base side only had four. After an hour or so, someone from the Nationals finally got a clue, and told us that in right center field there were twenty (count 'em, 20) gates, and small lines. Gee, thanks guys. There were dozens of Nats employees hanging around, saying “gee, look at the long lines” for an hour or more, and they finally say something at about 7:50, for an 8pm start.
I eventually got in, and up the the main concourse in time for the National Anthem
and, thanks to the wonders of TV commercials, up to my seat (second row from the top, though our regular seats will be much closer to the field) in time for the first pitch
Odalis Perez to Kelly Johnson, for a strike.
The Nats scored twice in the first inning, then made 24 straight outs before Ryan Zimmerman ended it with a walk-off homer with two out in the bottom of the ninth. During the game, I took a bit of a walk-about, and got this picture of the Anacostia waterfront, which looks a lot better at night than it does in the day.
All in all, the park looks to be a pretty good place to see a ball game. The main question is whether or not 40,000 people can get to it during a DC rush hour, or out of it after a day game. But as a place to watch baseball, it looks like it's going to be a winner.