More from Nationals Park
I'm waiting for a couple of calls back from some people, so I thought I'd round out some stuff from the tour of the ballpark this morning.
First of all, with the help of the Journal staff and the folks over at washingtonpost.com, here's some video of today's event:
Secondly, anyone who isn't familiar with this Web site, run by the Post's own Jacqueline Dupree, should take a cruise through there pronto. I've linked above to the photos from today's tour, but the jdland.com homepage is an essential resource to anyone who's interested in living/working/watching baseball in the area referred to here as "Near Southeast." Those photos will help you get a grip on what we saw today.
Also, hopefully you saw this story from Saturday's $.35 edition, which has lots of info on the sod.
So today's event -- after two or three protesters yelling "Public Property's Not for Sale!" over and over again were removed -- was pretty non-eventful from a city/team side. Both the DCSEC's Greg O'Dell and Stan Kasten said the two sides were working on plans for parking shuttles from RFK Stadium.
"We're in the same place we were a couple weeks ago," Kasten said. "We now feel confident we're going to have available for purchase a spot for all season-ticket holders," and that, I believe, will include 41-game and 20-game plan holders.
He added later: "I don't have any plans at the moment for daily cash lots." He again said that he believes Metro will be the best way for almost everyone to get to the ballpark. That has been a consistent approach from the day the plans for this place were set in stone.
The relocation process: This is obviously something the club is trying to take great care with, and it seems like they're ready to deal with some upset customers, because that's the nature of this beast. As Kasten said, "The geometry here is different in 100 ways." RFK, a multipurpose stadium, was simply configuered differently.
As it affects the relocation process, this mostly has to do with the seats behind home plate. Because those are the $300 seats now -- and because there were no such "premium" seats before -- people who were spending good money at RFK to sit behind the plate but who now don't want to spend THAT much will be displaced. The trickle-down effect from this is obvious, with people from the base lines being moved further out and up and so on.
This all seems logical, but that doesn't mean that there won't be some folks who bought tickets in 2005 that won't be completely satisfied. It's the nature of the business.
The March 29 game against the Orioles: It will be free to season-ticket holders,which is a change from previous years. But there will be no tickets available for the game. Kasten described it as a "dress rehearsal," and said, "We don't need to have the park full." The idea, it seems, is to get a healthy crowd in there to test such things as flushing all the toilets, etc., and give the staff a dry run. The club will work with the city to see if it can donate banks of free tickets to kids, etc., and they'll round out the crowd that way.
March 30 opener: ESPN and MLB have much to say about this, and it has to do with teams starting their seasons overseas (Oakland and Boston, perhaps) and what sort of fall-out there is from all this. I've got calls into both entities and will let you know what I hear, but Kasten said the club is "hopeful" they'll get that March 30 date to open on Sunday night on ESPN.
Asked when he expected to hear about it, he said he had been told "soon" for about a month now. So we'll see.
The rest of the schedule: A temporary version (already posted here) will go out with hte relocation packets, which Kasten said he was reluctant to do because things can change depending on that opener.
Rest of tour: Went to the clubhouse and the pressbox, etc. Home clubhouse looks like it'll really be great. Very nice wide lockers, lots of space, etc. Pressbox is high, which is fine because it gives more paying customers better views.
That's all for now.
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