Some Early Tips

Derek Teslik

- Half smokes: The line at the flagship Ben's Chili Bowl concessionaire stretched across the double-wide ground floor concourse to the seats in the second inning of last night's half-full game. BUT they sell "Ben's fully loaded half smokes" at all the hot dog stands, I think they're called "Nats Dogs" stands, so if all you want is a Ben's half smoke, you can find them almost anywhere in the park. Leave the Chili Bowl flagship for later in the season when the alarmist half smoke fans have chilled out a bit.

-- Getting around the 200 level: The second floor concourse is (behind the plate) indoors and is slender compared to the ground floor. Worse, even short concessionaire lines block most of your walking space. And prepare to have your ticket inspected. In short: lots of bottlenecks. Be prepared.

-- Boz was right: The view from the 400-level left field plaza is wonderful . It's worth a trip up there, and there's an escalator or two for those who don't like stairs.

-- Arriving via Navy Yard Metro: When exiting the Metro at Navy Yard shortly after 6 last night, Metro Police stood at the bottom of each escalator screaming instructions to make a single file line on the right side of the escalator. I looked back quizzically, and one screamed "WEIGHT RESTRICTIONS." So be prepared: you may have to stand to the right, and may not walk to the left. We arrived safely at the top. I'm concerned, though, that weight issues were a problem before my fries and half smoke. And beers. By the All-Star break it'll be one at a time up the escalators.

By Derek Teslik  |  March 30, 2008; 3:30 PM ET  | Category:  Derek Teslik
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But where is the friggin KETTLE CORN??!!

Posted by: anon | March 30, 2008 4:53 PM

One more thing: It's going to be COLD. the new park gets breezes that RFK couldn't even dream about. It'll be a godsend in the hundred degree summer afternoons but tonight it's not as welcome. So dress warm. Layers, folks, layers...

Posted by: Derek Teslik | March 30, 2008 4:54 PM

and yeah, no kettle corn that I could find....

Posted by: derek | March 30, 2008 5:06 PM

Also, be prepared to wait 1 hour for half-smokes at any Nats Dog stands. My fiancee and I missed innings 4-7 waiting for the inept concessionaires (and 4 managers, who stared at the lines for about 20 minutes, then left), then ate at the (wonderful, by the way) picnic tables in right before leaving. Growing pains are OK--incompetence on how to serve a crowd that was about 20,000 less than capacity is inexcusable.

Posted by: Right Winger | March 30, 2008 5:27 PM

In today's Post, I couldn't find a single reference to handicapped parking at the new stadium. What's the deal for those who have to park close in and/or cannot walk from the Metro?

Posted by: rickoshea | March 30, 2008 5:50 PM

Rick, you need to contact the Nats to purchase -- for $35, I believe -- a handicapped parking permit near the stadium.

Posted by: Hokienautic | March 30, 2008 6:14 PM

Hey people. Eat dinner before you leave the house. You go to the stadium to watch the game not to eat. What is this sudden facination with the food? What kind of idiot would stand in line for five innings to buy a hot dog?

Posted by: JT | March 30, 2008 9:13 PM

I don't know what Nats Dogs stand Right Winger was at but the one closest to me in the left field corner moved pretty fast considering it was opening night and there were a jillion people everywhere. I was only gone from my seat 15 minutes or so.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 31, 2008 12:30 AM

I was pretty disappointed that some of the environmental features of the new ballpark that earned it LEED silver certification--a big deal in the "green," environmentally-sound building world--were hard to find. Recycling bins were sparse and poorly labeled, and the bathrooms used paper towels instead of hand dryers. Thumbs up on the low-flow faucets and bike valet, though.

Posted by: Jay | March 31, 2008 12:39 AM

Jay, did you use the bike valet last night? My bike is still in storage but I plan to ride to some games as the summer progresses. I'll report on that, of course, but would love to know what to expect. Anyone try that last night?

Posted by: Derek | March 31, 2008 9:58 AM

I rode Saturday and Sunday, but settled for parking my bike on a self-service rack (one of many). I don't mind valet service when driving my car, but I don't like waiting for my bike.

If you are worried about losing accessories from your bike (read: stolen accessories), try parking by the first base gate. The area is filled with police and their cars. I felt very comfortable leaving my bike unattended in the area.

Posted by: Kyra | March 31, 2008 1:43 PM

"Concessionaires" are behind the counters. Those in line are "customers" or "patrons". I've never seen a "concessionaire line" before, but it is a good idea.

Posted by: Annoying1 | March 31, 2008 2:24 PM

A note on the Ben's half-smokes sold at the non-Ben's stands: they're not grilled.
As any Ben's aficionado knows, grilling is a vital part of making a Ben's half-smoke what it is: slightly charred with a crispness to the skin that makes it snap when you bite into.
The half-smokes at the Nats Dog stand seem to be prepared like the regular hot dogs, which is to say warmed up on those roller things. Not worth the extra money.
Plus, they seemed to be out of chili everywhere.

Posted by: Jeffrey | March 31, 2008 5:51 PM

Great post, Teslik!

Posted by: GIBSON | March 31, 2008 9:59 PM

I took the metro last night, but my friend did use the bike valet. It was pretty empty at about 6:30 when we got there--even though it was behind locked doors, he put his own lock on it.

Posted by: Jay | March 31, 2008 11:00 PM

Kudos to the entire Nats organization for this GREAT facility and a fun night out Sunday. Here's a nit: does anyone else miss the cumulative balls and strikes for pitchers? I assume those numbers, as well as the pitch description, were casualties of space limitations on the magnificent scoreboard, but it was great information to track the effectiveness of the pitcher.

Posted by: luv-the-stats | April 1, 2008 11:36 AM

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