The View From Section 223

Michael Solem

One of the things that gave me and my season ticket group the most anxiety in the months leading up to Opening Day at Nationals Park was the question, "Will we like the view from our seats?"

Stan Kasten and the stadium architects repeatedly assured us that the views would be exceptional, unlike anything at RFK Stadium. So we dutifully completed our seat relocation questionnaire, pondering the various seat permutations depicted in that virtual stadium viewer.

My group sits in Section 223, which is closest to the infield of all the sections in the right field mezzanine. We pay $25 a game, and when factoring in the cost of taxes, surcharges, convenience fees and single-game prices, those same seats purchased online would range from $43-48. The way I look at it, the difference is good enough for two bourbons or draft beers -- plus change -- per game!

Arriving at my seat for the first time on Opening Night felt like knocking on the front door of a blind date. Was I bound for disappointment, indifference or love at first sight?

Turns out that Kasten and others were spot on. The views of the playing field are wondrous in all of the sections we visited, and we're especially pleased with Section 223. Looking toward the infield, I'm especially struck by the way the stands cascade above home plate -- truly a splendid sight (contrary to the opinion expressed in this buzzkill article), something I can imagine seeing on a yellowed postcard from 100 years ago. Only great architecture can accomplish such a stirring visual effect.

The view from Section 223 (Photo by Michael Solem Dan Daly)

We actually have a view of the Capitol Dome -- well, at least the half that isn't obscured by one of the outfield parking garages (aka Linda Cropp Towers).

Of course, the people around you can make or break your viewing experience. In that regard, we also got lucky with Section 223: After a quick survey, it seems that most of the seats are held by full season ticket holders -- except perhaps for the unfortunate fellow wearing a Yankees jersey who showed up on Opening Night, only to be immediately bombarded with chants of "YAN-KEES SUCK! YAN-KEES SUCK!" from the Nats fans sitting in front of us. Ahh, the sound of a New Yorker sitting in silence. . . Now I'm really looking forward to Pedro Martinez coming to town (then again, maybe we won't be seeing everyone's favorite beanball artist anytime soon).

Though it's only been one game, I have a great feeling about Section 223. Some questions for Grounds Crew readers:

1) What section do you sit in and what are your favorite things about it?
2) Is there anything you dislike about your section?

By Michael Solem  |  April 3, 2008; 10:43 AM ET  | Category:  Michael Solem
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I am in section 305. I love it! Great views and I even recognized some folks from my old section in RFK, but I am in the last row and I find it somewhat annoying when people visiting the concession stands behind my section decide to walk up behind our seats and have a conversation while eating their hot dog and drinking their beer. With my luck, it is only a matter of time before someone spills their beer on me. This isn't an invitation to spill either. I am pregnant and very emotional.

Posted by: Kyra | April 3, 2008 11:18 AM

We are directly opposite you in the Left Field Mezzanine. The view is great, and the cost seems about right. Only problem on the LF side is that the concourse area is limited -- it's blocked by the club section on one side, and the ramp on the other side is the only way up and down. We do have two concession stands but they are small and actually block access to the seats, though you can see the game from the line. At least on the RF side your concourse extends to the scoreboard walk.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 3, 2008 11:20 AM

I envy you your seats; the view of the field and city is a spectacular one. I prefer seeing game from just about where you're sitting.

I ended up in 241, which is around the same cost, *very* close the field, but distressing. Quite a bit of the action near the wall [and not that near] is obscured. And it now turns out that the giant screen, immediately behind me, will be just about the only place to get any info. The other screens will direct me to the ESPN Zone, and help me remember that GEICO sells insurance. Ah, well -- it's a damned beautiful place despite my griping!

"Now I'm really looking forward to Pedro Martinez coming to town "

When he comes to the plate, it's the only time to use my two favorite words. Remember, at the top of your lungs: "DRILL HIM !!!!!!"

Of course, he doesn't make it to the plate [or into the games] too damned often anymore.

Posted by: 241 Scott | April 3, 2008 11:26 AM

We're above you; about halfway up Sec. 222 on the aisle closest to home plate. You're right about this part of the ballpark having great views of the field and the Capitol. I might even take our cheaper seats over yours.

No real gripes after only two games (one an exhibition) in the park. Maybe you can ask this question again at the All Star Game break?

Posted by: Section 222 | April 3, 2008 11:33 AM

My group decided to improve our lot, from Sec 206, front row at RFK, to Club Seats. Although we would have preferred front row, center, aisle, we were assigned Section 211. WONDERFUL! Saturday night, I was amazed at the ooos and ahhhs from the folks getting that first look at our seats. The Stars and Stripes club is nice, but very crowded. The view from 211 is priceless!

Posted by: AWWNats | April 3, 2008 11:34 AM

Section 102 (LF near visiting bullpen) looks to be shaping up like the bleachers in Wrigley. Lots of beer drinking and lots of heckling. That being said, I love it. After all, isn't that what outfield seats are known for at most staiums? It's about time the Nats had a fun atmosphere at their games. It seems as though the loud and rowdy bunch will be here (LF bleachers). I definitely wouldn't advise taking a family to a game in those seats. Nor would I want to be a pitcher warming up in the visiting bullpen.

Posted by: Fushezzi | April 3, 2008 11:39 AM

While 417 (the CHEAP? SEATS) is a good section with great views from the first base line, my seats were right at the top of a stairway, so fans would be blocking my views of home plate and first base the entire game. Plus, they're on a seam between sections of stadium and were "bolted" to a rubber mat placed across the seam, so the seats rock and roll. NO WAY!

So we're now in 202 and are looking forward to seeing what they're all about.

My biggest beef is with the way seats were assigned. As 3-year ticket holders, we got our questionnaires and deposits returned early and still got the crappiest seats in the place. Don't know what that's been about, but at least the staff is friendly while they screw you.

Posted by: Former 417 | April 3, 2008 12:05 PM

My 20 game pack is in section 319, on the aisle (one of our main requests in our questionairre). We sat in section 222 for the exhibition and 137 for the home opener (Both great in their own right). However, we walked up to our section to check out the action and our seats are awesome. I'm very exited to sit in them for game 1 in our package on April 9th. I'll report back then but I'm pumped for the season!

Posted by: 319 | April 3, 2008 12:17 PM

We're in 314, second row, on the aisle with 315. We were in 419, row 5 at RFK. My take from Saturday and Sunday is that we're slightly higher, but closer to the plate, than we were at RFK; others in my party feel just the opposite. I take that as a good sign -- meaning, we effecitvely have the same seats, which are terrific (almost directly behind the plate) and, at $20 per, a terrific value.

Posted by: GilHodgesGhost | April 3, 2008 12:17 PM

Sat in Sec. 230, Row X. $10 face value. Upper upper deck, RF corner.

From these (admittedly cheap) seats, I couldn't see much of right field -- and I couldn't see the right fielder at all. The better seats almost completely obstructed the view -- not the people in those rows, but the stadium itself. Poor design I guess.

This ought to have been sold as an obstructed view seat, unless both teams agree to hit everything to center and left.

Also, I think I found the one seat that didn't have a cupholder (I was at the end of the stairs going up). Stan, please look into that.

Posted by: Obstructed Nosebleeder | April 3, 2008 12:22 PM

Section 416 -- nice sightlines. Very pleased.

BTW, if we're going to do "Yankees suck," we must do likewise for the Mets and Red Sox. Okay?

Posted by: Vincent | April 3, 2008 12:41 PM

Visited our season tickets on Sunday... Section 313, Row C. Super pleased. Directly behind home plate. We sat in the last row of the 400s at RFK just above first base. The seats at Nats Park do seem higher (no chance for foul balls here), but right on top of the field. Not to mention that the Capitol Dome literally looms directly to your left as you look up the third base line. The Jumbotron is directly ahead. Unfortunately we'll be the last people out of the ballpark towards Metro since we're furthest away from the station entrance. Whatever. Very happy with our seats. Even happier knowing we have better seats than the folks directly above us in the press box. Sat in 231, Row L for Opening Night. Semi-obstructed view of the Jumbotron and unable to see the back of right field.

Posted by: Jeremy | April 3, 2008 12:51 PM

The stadium is fantastic! SUCH an improvement.

Just an aside: The Nats are 3-0. How 'bout we concentrate on how we're doing instead of being like Red Sox fans and worrying about the Yankees during our games? The Yankees have nothing to do with our success. Just a thought...

Posted by: geauxnats | April 3, 2008 1:01 PM

Can any high-rollers out there comment on either the Diamond Club or Presidents Club? I'm buying tickets for an August weeknight game as a birthday present for my brother. I know they're both expensive but if the Presidents Club and the seats are just "knock your socks off", then I may splurge. Thanks!

Posted by: jpgdlc | April 3, 2008 1:10 PM

I checked out my package seats ($17@)in 419, Row E before Saturday's game. Good line of sight to everywhere except the extreme right field corner. Pretty high up, but still lower than the press box. Certainly better than my $10 Opening Night seat in 232 where right field just didn't exist. Is there a process for upgrading seats, on either a per game or season basis?

Posted by: Ed Ramras | April 3, 2008 1:14 PM

We have a 20 game plan and were in 308 Auxiliary. The Auxiliary seats are basically the orphan child of the stadium and are between the 3 and 4 hundred section. There are no cupholders and you really feel removed from the baseball experience. However our ticket rep moved us to the last real row in section 308, which we like much better. The ticketing issue was a challenge, but its all settled now and we are happy.

Posted by: Natsural | April 3, 2008 1:15 PM

I have a 41 game plan in section 228 - 3 rows above the handicap seating. I was lucky enough to get a tour of the stadium last summer and knew where I wanted to sit immediately. I got exactly what I requested - aisle seats away from home plate so that people using the stairs do not pass in front of me during game action. My seats are $16 under the plan and worth every penny. All the amenities are close by, and the views are fabulous. My 14 year old son has already identified his favorite vendors!
The only issue: I cannot see the right field corner without standing up and on opening night I did not see the ball bounce off the wall. Of course with out 3 layers of winter clothing on (and a beer in my hand) I could have easily stood up and seen the play. Bring on the warm weather.

Posted by: Oldstyl | April 3, 2008 1:20 PM

We're in 416, top deck, just right of home next to the press boxes. Great view from up there and if you haven't see the views south from the first base ramps, check them out. It's seems a little far from the action, but I love the layout and scoreboards. One downer--we can see 1/2 of the capitol but that's it for scenery. I fear that might go away as well as the area builds up.

Posted by: joem1097 | April 3, 2008 1:30 PM

Jeremy (in Section 313 Row C)...Welcome to the neighborhood. We have the 2 seats on the aisle (18 and 19)and LOVE the view of field, The Capital, and the HD Scoreboard. We made freinds with the 8 guys in Row D,,,,they are a hoot. Should make for a fun year. Go NAts!!

Posted by: Greg | April 3, 2008 1:46 PM

Sounds good! We have a 1/9 share of a season so our first game in the seats is the Sunday afternoon game coming up against the Braves on 4/13. I'd go to way more but the wife is sick of being a baseball widow. Speaking from the standpoint of somebody who sat in the more expensive right field mezzanine seats on Opening Night, we got a steal with the seats in our section. Now I'm sure 223 is way better than 231, given that it's closer to the plate and that the writer's seats appeared to be way lower than ours were (Row L, semi-obstructed under the overhang).

Posted by: Jeremy | April 3, 2008 1:56 PM

I'm the guy with the Senators jacket. Looking forward to a great year. Love my seats.

Posted by: Section 223 also | April 3, 2008 3:14 PM

Our seats are in 106 - we visited them on Saturday night. Looks like a great view. Would have liked to be over visiting bullpen, but then I might get thrown out. LOL!! We've got a 20 game plan, and can't wait til next game.

Posted by: phil104 | April 3, 2008 4:27 PM

If you're a Nats Insider subscriber, there's an Open House tomorrow from 12-4 at the new stadium to allow us to stroll about and watch the game against the Cardinals on the scoreboard. Concessions will be open too. You have to sign up though. You need a printout for your admission.

But this is an awesome idea.

For away games, I would certainly consider showing up at the stadium to watch the Nats take on those Neopolitans of NY, the Phloppies of Phlopadephia, the StinkyFish from Miami and those Cowards of Atlanta, amongst others. The screen is certainly LARGE enough, and where better to watch a game than in the Park? Warm summer nights after a hard day of working (or studying in my case)....this would be too cool.

I hope this is done more than once. I understand there are costs involved, but this is an awesome way to build your fan base: show Away games where you watch the Home games. That way - there's ALWAYS a game at the Park!

Posted by: DanD187 | April 4, 2008 3:52 PM

After discussing the situation with my former seats in 417, I and my friends were reassigned to section 202. Granted, they're down the left field line, but the sightlines are markedly better than dodging patrons in the aisles; they're under section 302 so we're in the shade and out of rain's way. Plus, there are only 5 sections in that part of the stadium and mine has easy access to a consession stand and men's room (VERY important!) and no possibility of through traffic due to the DIAMOND CLUB section. All in all I will be most pleased!

Posted by: Former 417 now 202 | April 8, 2008 11:58 AM

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