A 'Long Lunch' at the Ballpark

Brooke Family

From Tom: Yes, I am a creature of habit and a bit of a baseball purist. I like to stay in or near my seat the entire game and keep score. I really don't care about the in-game entertainment or other "cute" stuff, but I understand its value -- especially since it keeps my kid entertained.

So the Red Loft bar was not high on my list of features to experience at the new Nats Park. But I finally paid a visit during game one of the first-ever two-games-in-one event at the new stadium.

(I refuse to call it a doubleheader, however. I am old enough to remember going to doubleheaders where you paid for one game and got to see two. MLB used to actually schedule doubleheaders, not just allow them to happen to make up for rain delays.)

Anyhow, at about 2 p.m., I got up from my desk in an office over near Farragut West, jammed my briefcase full of files I needed to review and documents I needed to proofread, announced to my assistant that I was going to go outside and eat my lunch "at the park" and do some light reading and walked quickly (trying to look semi-dignified in dress slacks and business shirt and tie) to the Metro. I arrived at the stadium half an hour later, for the end of the fifth inning. I had plenty of company. I clearly was not the only person sneaking out for a long lunch.

I wasn't really sure how long I'd stay, but I figured that hiking all the way up to the Gallery Level behind home plate where my seats are located was a waste of time, as would be the hike back. And although the ushers did not seem to be blocking anyone from sitting in the outfield bleachers, the sun was beating down pretty hard there.

So I climbed the steps to the Red Loft and found a nice, uncrowded area with space at the rail and plenty of empty, cushioned seats ... in the shade. I got myself a Diet Coke, sat down and proceeded to plow through several draft agreements and letters I had been pushing to the side back at the office and got to watch three innings of baseball, including Albert Pujols' towering home run and the lone Nationals run in game one.

No one hassled me about sitting in a section for which I did not have a ticket, and the other patrons all seemed to be enjoying themselves, too.

Maybe I don't need to keep score at every game after all.

When I left the stadium, it was kind of fun to tell the very friendly ushers and gate staff, "See you in a few hours."

By Brooke Family  |  June 6, 2008; 8:39 AM ET  | Category:  Brooke Family , Seating/Sight Lines
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Comments

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I agree, two games in one day do not make a doubleheader.

I wish more were like you and actually watched and enjoyed an actual baseball game, even though you were distracted at work, you likely took in more baseball than a lot of others.

Posted by: Kim | June 6, 2008 9:16 AM

I was probably sitting right in front of you. The two rows of seats at the Red Loft were open to anyone, so me and a couple buddies were sitting in the middle of the the sunny first row. What a great way to spend an afternoon.

Posted by: PowerBoater | June 6, 2008 10:35 AM

Speaking of climbing up to Gallery Level. OTHER THAN THE RAMPS, is there a way to access all levels of the park using only ONE form of transport to them (i.e. escalators and elevators)

I went to the second game last night (glorious finish but I digress). For once I had seats in Gallery Level 318. To get there took an elevator and an escalator.

On my way after the game, I saw a sign that said Escalator to ALL LEVELS. Liar! It went down one level, where it lead to ramps but didn't see another escalator. I found the elevator again, went down to 2 and out.

Why can't they have one elevator or one escalator that goes to ALL LEVELS of the park! Camden has 2 escalators, one that goes to club, other goes to upper deck. Their elevators go to all levels.

At another game, I got on 1 elevator and then was told, this elevator only goes to club or suites. No elevators go to 226 which is where my tickets normally are.

Don't get me wrong, I love the NATS but there has to be an easier way to get between levels of the park.

Posted by: CALSGR8 | June 6, 2008 2:29 PM

On the third base side there are escalators running from the Main Concourse level up to the Gallery Concourse level. Two of them. The first one goes to the Jefferson Suites level (or maybe it's the Mezzanine Level) and from there the second one takes you the rest of the way up to the top. But on the first base side there is apparently only one escalator, which goes from the Mezzanine up to the Gallery Concourse. If there's an escalator below that from the Main Concourse to the Mezzanine, it's very well hidden because I haven't found it yet.

Posted by: Section 419+1 | June 6, 2008 3:39 PM

What's the issue with the "two games not being a double header?" Were people charged extra?

Posted by: DCLawyer | June 6, 2008 3:59 PM

"What's the issue with the "two games not being a double header?" Were people charged extra?"

Not only must you buy two separate game tickets to see both games, you must also leave the park between games. Nats Park was emptied, cleaned, and the bobblehead giveaway stations were set up while people waited outside the gate. A "day-night" twin bill is definitely not a traditional doubleheader.

Posted by: Matt | June 6, 2008 4:31 PM

"What's the issue with the 'two games not being a double header?' Were people charged extra?"

As Matt notes, the distinction is between a "day-night" doubleheader and a "twi-night" doubleheader. For the former, as he notes they clear the park between games. For the latter, the first game is played, then there is a very short (maybe half an hour) break, and you only need one ticket to get you into both games (two for the price of one, which is why teams don't schedule these anymore). The first game may start no later than 5:00 PM under the current CBA.

Once upon a time, the two-for-the-price of one doubleheader would have started a lot earlier so as to get both games in before nightfall (due to the lack of lights).

Tripleheaders are prohibited by the CBA except to finish a suspended game.

Posted by: Rich | June 6, 2008 4:57 PM

When I was a kid back in the Griffith Stadium/RFK days,I would check the schedule and be disappointed if the Senators played the SCHEDULED Memorial Day, July 4th, Labor Day (Two for the price of One)doubleheaders on the road. At Home - against the Yankees - it didn't get any better than that!!! Since I ignored Baseball for 33 years, I don't whether MLB just stopped scheduling doubleheaders and thought nobody would notice or whether there was some announcement proclaiming the bad news.

Posted by: Natstivity1959 | June 6, 2008 5:50 PM

"I don't whether MLB just stopped scheduling doubleheaders and thought nobody would notice or whether there was some announcement proclaiming the bad news."

I actually remember a news item about it, reporting that for the first time MLB was not scheduling any tradtional doubleheaders in its upcomng season. I want to say it was in the late 1970s, maybe 1980, somewhere around there.

Posted by: Andy | June 7, 2008 9:30 AM

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