Jam Packed

Brooke Family

From Tom: The President just arrived at the first base side garage. The sidewalks are jammed with tens of thousands of people. Patrons are barely dribbling in through the gates to the stadium. Home plate gate particularly packed, and it took me 25 minutes to get through one of the four the metal detectors.

By Brooke Family  |  March 30, 2008; 7:04 PM ET  | Category:  Brooke Family
Previous: Some Early Tips | Next: Slow Scoreboard

Comments

Please email us to report offensive comments.



We waited in line from 6:40pm to 8:15pm to get thru the lines. We were at the 1st base gate (second biggest gate in the ballpark) and there were only THREE metal detectors set up. THREE in a gate that was over fifty feet wide!

It ruined our entire experience for the game. As a season ticket holder I was very disappointed not being able to see the first pitch and part of the first inning.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 31, 2008 1:01 AM

The Nats played a great game, but I was really disappointed in the stadium. I arrived two and a half hours before first pitch, but spent most of that time in lines. First the security line, it was crazy how long it took. Then I spent another 45 minutes to get a burger that was pretty low quality. It felt much more crowded and chaotic than RFK. It was difficult getting through the concouse. The concession lines back up and leave no room for people to walk by. The team store near home plate gate was horrible. I was surprised while riding the Nats Express after the game, I saw RFK and actually missed the place.

Posted by: Steve20016 | March 31, 2008 1:49 AM

The Nats played a great game, but I was really disappointed in the stadium. I arrived two and a half hours before first pitch, but spent most of that time in lines. First the security line, it was crazy how long it took. Then I spent another 45 minutes to get a burger that was pretty low quality. It felt much more crowded and chaotic than RFK. It was difficult getting through the concouse. The concession lines back up and leave no room for people to walk by. The team store near home plate gate was horrible. I was surprised while riding the Nats Express after the game, I saw RFK and actually missed the place.

Posted by: Steve20016 | March 31, 2008 1:55 AM

We got there nearly 3 hours before teh first pitch and had to wait in a line with 3 metal detectors for more than an hour. Ridiculous. There was no one outside to tell us that lines were any shorter around the stadium. And all personnel seemed more interested in making sure President Bush had easy access to the building. At least his surge to the Nats game worked. Do better next time. Great game and ballpark, but Lerners and Kasten totally unprepared for crowd control.

Posted by: Jim H | March 31, 2008 9:45 AM

I also had the experience of waiting about 90 minutes in line at the first base gate. I found out later that some other gates had shorter lines. I wish ballpark staff had directed people to gates with shorter lines. I also waited about 45 minutes to be let into the seating area below the scoreboard; it was blocked off before the fireworks display.

Aside from that, the game was enjoyable, the food was good--although, again, long lines--and the sightlines in the park were very good.

Posted by: John D | March 31, 2008 10:16 AM

We too arrived in plenty of time for the game, but were held up in the absurdly long and slow security lines. All the blame was placed on the Secret Service who were just doing their jobs. Ownership and Management had to be prepared for this, but we saw only one team representative duirng our 90 minute wait who chastised us for not arriving at 3 p.m. No apology and no directions to other gates. Finally a D.C. policeman gave us guidance, but by then our experience was ruined. Others simply left. Way to go Nats.

I also note that the Mayor and the Media were comfortably inside. I noted only one paragraph buried in one Post story about this. While you were having fun inside, the real story was outside. Nice reporting.

An incensed Season Ticket holder and long-time D.C. resident

Posted by: Chip E | March 31, 2008 10:27 AM

"but Lerners and Kasten totally unprepared for crowd control. "

I don't want to sound like I'm in the tank for the Natinals -- Kasten and the Lerners infuriate me at various times. But I think that this one was beyond their control. The Secret Service was plainly direting the action, and were using the small number of metal detectors to more-fully control the incoming crowd. More importantly, I heard on Saturday on two news reports that Nationals had urged everyone to "be in [their] seats, or at least through the gates, by 6:30" if they wanted to see the first pitch. I don't see that they had any choice in the matter.

Now I *would* like to cashier the Kastens and Lerners for blocking all access to seats under the scoreboard for almost 40 minutes to accmomodate their lame fireworks display. They knew they liked to use fireworks at Nats games -- they should'a found a better spot from which to launch them!

Posted by: 241 Scott | March 31, 2008 10:39 AM

I got there at 5 pm to try to be through the gate by 6:30 AS DIRECTED and didn't get to my seat until 8:05. I did see Bush pitch and Denyce Graves sing the anthem, but it was close.

I was furious with the stadium for not putting ushers or staff outside to direct people to shorter lines or just give information about expected waits or crowd flow. Even offering water or handwarmers or something would have been appreciated as it was a long, cold 2+ hour wait.

Posted by: alexva | March 31, 2008 10:51 AM

Wow, I guess we were in the minority- walked right in at 5 p.m. No lines of any kind; in fact, the SS guys were standing around just waiting for people. (This was at the main entrance.) We remembered Opening Day 2005 and knew the lines were going to suck, which is why we got there as early as we could.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 31, 2008 10:53 AM

I have to say that I am impressed by the first game at the stadium. After having suffered through two summers at RFK, I was expecting horrible lines.

Yes there were lines in the team store, but what do you expect on opening day. I am admittedly a very impatient person, but the lines were continually moving. I was pleasantly surprised.

Two thumbs up to the organization for the first night in a new ballpark.

Posted by: Dirk | March 31, 2008 10:55 AM

I'm confused--Alexva said they got there at 5pm and didn't get to their seat until 8pm?!! I can hardly believe that. Seriously. Aren't we exaggerating? Did you stop and eat along the way to your seats and that's why you didn't get there until 8pm? We got there at 5:30 from NAVY YARD Metro stop, walked straight through the on the red carpet to the Center Field gate and waited oh, 4 minutes to go through security to our seats. 3 hours for Alexva?? Where the heck were you???

Posted by: 20910 | March 31, 2008 11:40 AM

We walked right in through the center field main gate at 5:30 -- 5 minutes max through security. Sure there's not a little exaggeration in not getting to your seats in THREE HOURS, arriving at 5???? Granted, I didn't walk around the stadium looking for longer lines, but such a dramatic variance to me sounds hard to believe.

Posted by: Randy | March 31, 2008 11:48 AM

We had similar expereinces. Drove to RFK, and used the buses. Forty minutes from our home to the ballpark. Hour and forty five minutes to get inside (from 6:00 to 7:45). There was no one outside to provide instructions. There were lines for the bathrooms, and at the food counters. The food we bought was cold and expensive. We were in the 200 sections; it would have been nice to see the right fielder-I thought all seats would have unobstructed views, guess I need to spend more on tickets next time.

I hope it gets better.

Posted by: capsfan | March 31, 2008 11:52 AM

I'm surprised at all the negativity--oh wait, no I'm not. We're Americans, we're entitled to everything.

Blah blah blah. All I know, is that after growing up 'in' Fenway Park, now as an adult whenever I get around baseball, even RFK, I feel like a little kid again, all happy and excited. Then to be part of this new stadium. To be part of D.C. history and to be at the first game was magical. If people can't appreciate that, then people have really lost their spark. Where have all the inner children gone?!!

Guess blogs are for ranting, but I'm more disappointed in the reactions of some fans on these blogs then I was at any point at the stadium last night. Go to a game again, get there early enough so you won't have a reason to complain about the lines, bring your own food, or a full stomach so you only need to buy ice cream or beer. Go with a few friends on a hot summer night, laugh at the Presidents Race in the 4th inning and remember what it was like to be a kid at your own stadium back home.

Posted by: 20910 | March 31, 2008 12:08 PM

Did not not anyone learn anything from Opening Day, 2005- the last time Fearless Leader threw out the first pitch. I got to RFK that day at 5:30 for a 7:05 start and barely made it to my seat for the real first pitched. I vowed never again. There was a reason y'all that they opened the park at 3:30. Two hours before (6:00 pm) was two hours too late!! We got to park at 4:15 breezed through security, toured whole park, ate comfortably, no lines.
Don't complain, unless you were newbies, you should have known.

Posted by: A Hardwick | March 31, 2008 12:09 PM

I continue to be disappointed with DC-metro residents who do not prepare themselves for events like this. I understand if you are new to the area, you might not know how this works. But for the long time residents that heard the words opening day, inaugural, new stadium, DC, 41,000 and the President of the United States; and expected anything different... It's hard to feel bad.

As someone said, once the Nationals invite the President to a game, White House Security then runs the show and tells the Nats how things will operate. Secret Service has never and will never care if you are late to a game. You must know this.

For those who attended or heard stories of the first ever Nats game in '05, what's your excuse? The President attended, and fans that showed up a little early, were late. If you did not learn from this, you have nobody else to blame.

I have read comparisons to last night's concession lines with RFK??? Are we talking about the last two years of RFK where we averaged 25,000 a game, where you will obviously have short lines? Or the first year where we reached 40,000 regularly, where there were long lines and you had a tough time navigating through the concourse. Let's be fair here.

Posted by: ericinva | March 31, 2008 12:19 PM

I arrived at 4 and breezed through everything ... security, food lines, bathrooms (no lines at the ladies throughout the night ... and I hope that the bathrooms will soon have ceilings)

Posted by: Marlene | March 31, 2008 12:19 PM

My husband and I left our house at 4pm and rode to the park on our bikes. The ride was great and the wait was non-existant. We walked right in. This was before 5pm. I did not see significant lines starting to form until after 6pm. I listened to the hype and got to the park early. You can either get there early or wait in line. It happens. And to be honest, the pre-game was nothing compared to the ninth inning!

Posted by: Kyra | March 31, 2008 1:17 PM

Kyra -- Did you use the "Bike Valet"? How does it work? If you didn't, where did you lock up?

Posted by: OutsideTheLaw | March 31, 2008 1:51 PM

I think I'm a little dissapointed more in the design of the new stadium. I wasn't surprised that lines were long and food service was poor on the first night but I thought that after spending more than $600 million, that it would have more character (most of that money must have gone to that awesome scoreboard). It just seemed rather bland and cookie-cutterish. Unless the surrounding area adds that missing character (like the Wrigley Field neighborhood), it isn't something that I would tell visitors to the city that it is a must-see place to go to.

Posted by: Dynamike | March 31, 2008 2:08 PM

I had a wonderful time. I arrived by Metro at 6:45. It took about 15-20 mins max to get through security. I'm not normally one to sing Metro praises, but they did a BEAUTIFUL job getting people into the park and getting people out. Yes, it was crowded, but they were prepared and helpful to first time riders and veterans alike.

Delayed seating for us sitting under the scoreboard because of the fireworks was a bother. Very poor communication with park staff with each other and with guests. I assume that will not be a regular practice in the future?

The food was expensive but it was good and there was a variety!!!!! Thank you. I thought the park looked great. Good sight lines, sound and video screens to watch while standing in the food lines.

I look forward to attending more games, especially if Metro can continue to handle the crowds and promise to run trains if games go into extra innings!

Posted by: Jennifer | March 31, 2008 2:34 PM

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
RSS Feed
Subscribe to The Post

© 2010 The Washington Post Company