Nats Park Is a Sanctuary to the Sun
To my druid ancestors in Scotland, I'm sure the sun had a celebrated personality and was the great giver of life, praised in songs handed down through the ages. For us unenlightened 21st century Washingtonians, it's a free source of light to be enjoyed from behind the tinted glass of an air-conditioned car or office.
But not in the eyes of the architects of Nationals Park. To them, the sun is clearly intended to be celebrated. Either that or they've got stock in Coppertone.
RFK, with its unusual curved-bowl shape and overhang, offered the tan and the pale some choices: During summer day games, you could sit down the third-base line and catch a few rays. Or you could opt for the first-base line, especially the upper deck, and huddle in the shade. Blondes and redheads worried about melanoma had a chance to hide while still enjoying the action. By the sixth inning of a day game, a lot of RFK was in the shade.
At Nats Park, all of the open space has a "price" for those who want to avoid being beaten by direct sunlight. I surveyed the park on Monday, which was a beautiful warm spring day. At the first pitch, only the uppermost regions of the 400 series of seats seemed to have any shade. (It was most pronounced on the third-base side.) By the sixth inning, that had extended to almost all of the 400 series. But the park remains a monument to open, airy, expansive . . . sunny baseball. For those who are sensitive, be forewarned.
P.S.: As I composed this entry, I simultaneously started mentally composing an e-mail to Stan Kasten, telling him that the Nats had missed a bet. The Scoreboard Pavilion is the perfect spot for a summer "mist" machine for patrons to cool down with and play in -- and maybe a water fountain/wading area, similar to the one in the Silver Spring Town Center, for the kids down near the playground. But I quickly came to my senses. Even in this day and age, people probably won't pay for a quick cooling dunk. What was I thinking?
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