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The Unveiling

Just got back from the ballpark where Mayor Fenty and Stan Kasten and others "unveiled" the new turf and made some other announcements. I'll do a more thorough entry within the next few hours. But for now, a few highlights.

1. For those who bought season tickets in 2005, '06 and '07, seat relocations will go out on Friday. That means you'll have your seat, which, from what I gather here and other places, is a source of some angst for lots of fans. Kasten said that 90 percent of those people received either their first, second or third choices (in the survey they sent out in June). A full 50 percent, he said, received their first choices.

2. The first baseball event at the park will be an exhibition game against the Orioles March 29. Still working on that March 30 home opener on ESPN, but no final word. Whole schedule won't be announced until that's finalized.

3. All the club level seats for season tickets are sold out.

4. Single-game tickets will be on sale in mid-February or so.

5. Negotiations between the team and the DCSEC about parking at RFK are "on-going" but both sides expect they'll have a plan in place soon, perhaps in the next few weeks.

6. The turf looks very nice. There's even a mound.

I'll get you more later.

By Barry Svrluga  |  November 13, 2007; 1:13 PM ET
 
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Comments

I wonder if season ticket holders will be able to access their seat info on the Nats web site this Friday. Odd that you have to wait for snail mail.

Posted by: Ashburn | November 13, 2007 1:27 PM | Report abuse

This always happens to me... and this is the one thing that sucks about living four timezones west of DC...

From the previous thread:

Hendo:

I dunno... perhaps JMax was just getting warmed up at RFK...

You know... the more I think about this... the more that I think getting into the free agent CF market is a bad idea. Church's biggest problem is his reputation and not his performance... sure he could be better against LHP, but at the moment, we have a platoon situation that is at least passable (Logan). I don't think any of the free agents are as good as the platoon, and all of them are ten times as expensive.

I would say that was inadequate, except that we have JMax in the wings. He's either the heir apparent, or, we solve the CF problem next year with a trade or free agent. It's not that we think we're contenders this year... and if we find that we are, that's what the July trade deadline is for.

Either save the salary money... or find a better place to spend it. CF isn't the place.

About the unveiling... Very cool... good news about most things. I hope they get the ESPN thing figured out soon.

I wonder where my seats are?

Posted by: Wigi | November 13, 2007 1:43 PM | Report abuse

Wigi, I'm in the DC timezone, and it happens to me all the time. :)

---

This always happens to me... and this is the one thing that sucks about living four timezones west of DC...

Posted by: natsfan1a | November 13, 2007 1:48 PM | Report abuse

Any word on when season tickets will go on sale without a deposit? For people who would like to know where they can sit before paying anything?

Posted by: Dupont | November 13, 2007 1:50 PM | Report abuse

Any way we can find out if single-game tickets will go on sale for season ticket holders before they go on sale to the public, as they did last year?

Posted by: Matt | November 13, 2007 2:15 PM | Report abuse

On the other hand... the good thing about being four timezones west is that between the time that prime-time TV ends, and David Letterman begins, you can read much of tomorrow's Washington Post online... including Barry's gamer.

Posted by: Wigi | November 13, 2007 2:30 PM | Report abuse

"Just getting warmed up." I like that. Bet J-Max does too.

There's certainly no need to fight our way to the front of the free-agent trough. Let 'em spend themselves silly in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, and Anaheim, and there may yet be talent to afford out there. (I'm not even counting Rule 5, which as we've learned can work out well, but is still a very slim talent pipeline. That said, I'll probably be on the couch tonight with the AFL media guide.)

Posted by: Hendo | November 13, 2007 2:33 PM | Report abuse

Ok, I'm astonished. There were 16,000 season ticket holders last year. 16 and change, I believe was the phrase Stan used at the start of last season. Of those 16,000 last year, how many were original STHs since 2005? I bet less. And, of those 16,000 (or less from 2005), only HALF got their first choice in location? I smell a rat. Native born Washingtonions aced out again.

Posted by: 6th and D | November 13, 2007 2:35 PM | Report abuse

what about the pope's visit to nats park. anyone think it will bring the nats good luck? or perhaps a curse

Posted by: love | November 13, 2007 2:44 PM | Report abuse

Should be interesting, I agree, 6th and D. I'm class of '07; while it took me two seasons to find a comfortable row and rowmates, it was well worth the time investment.

But my RFK rowmates on both sides are class of '05, so are way up the preference chain from me. Certainly they're more apt than I to get the seats they want.

Will we all get to sit together? The tension mounts...

Posted by: Hendo | November 13, 2007 2:44 PM | Report abuse

"Any way we can find out if single-game tickets will go on sale for season ticket holders before they go on sale to the public, as they did last year?"

We asked a Nats ticket rep this question a few weeks ago. The answer is yes, season ticket holders will have time to buy single tickets -- including opening day tickets -- before the general public.

Posted by: Baldino | November 13, 2007 2:49 PM | Report abuse

I could see that... The Pope comes to Nats Park... and the Phillies are in town... and the 20,000 Phillies fans at the game boo the pope.

Posted by: Wigi | November 13, 2007 2:49 PM | Report abuse

Exactly what I wanted to hear... thanks Baldino.

Posted by: Matt | November 13, 2007 3:07 PM | Report abuse

We had great seats in the old park, right behind home plate where the high-roller suites are going to be. So I am definitely getting worse seats no matter what. To the poster who smelled a rat, here's a possible explanation.

My ticket rep told me that EVERYONE was trying to get the club seats, as we tried to do. But the # of club seats is extremely limited (2,700) and are already completely sold out.

So say, 5,400 of the Class of 2005, 2006 and 2007 (16,000 total) asked for club seats as their first choice. They only have 2,700 club seats (listed in the season's ticket brochure) and that means all those people who didn't get the club seats got their 2nd or 3rd choice.

That could explain why only 50 percent got their first choice.

I honestly believe the Nats management knows that if they screw over their most loyal customers, they are going to have a huge PR disaster that they don't need. Sure the Tim Russerts of the world will always get their primo seats no matter what.

Posted by: Sec. 214 | November 13, 2007 3:23 PM | Report abuse

Sec. 214, on the Nats having sold out all the club seats to season ticketholders: "I honestly believe the Nats management knows that if they screw over their most loyal customers, they are going to have a huge PR disaster that they don't need."

Well, at least they've avoided the PR disaster that would've followed if they HADN'T sold out the club seats. (Now to wonder how many, if any, club seats will open up after the inaugural season? Or will the well-heeled fans keep 'em through thick and thin?)

Posted by: Hendo | November 13, 2007 3:40 PM | Report abuse

>> They only have 2,700 club seats, and that means all those people who didn't get club seats got their 2nd or 3rd choice. <<

Probably not. Since there are three club sections (Infield, 1st & 3rd) -- and thus three preferences -- if you didn't get club, then you didn't get any of your preferences.


Posted by: Ashburn | November 13, 2007 3:40 PM | Report abuse

So club seats are sold out. Are Dugout boxes sold out also?

Also, if you did not receive your first, second, or third choices, do the Nats notify you or merely assign you wherever they want?

Posted by: fredva | November 13, 2007 3:42 PM | Report abuse

Hey Posties,

Is it too much to ask that you run ALL Washington Nationals' related stories on your Nationals Internet home page? There's a story on line by Daniel LeDuc about how the seat assignments for the new park are 90% done. But is is on the Nats' page? NOOOO! Doesn't anyone on 15th Street or in Arlington realize that's the most likely place where fans look to get news updates? Stop the madness!

Posted by: leetee1955 | November 13, 2007 3:43 PM | Report abuse

I don't think that the Nats care all that much for the regular STHs.

Case in point: The Nats relocation guide has page after page of information about the Suites and the Premium seating. There was even a separate priority system for the Premium Seating. And where are the rest of us? In the "Traditional Seating" which received 1 page of information in the 27 page PDF. "Traditional Seating"?

Also note the spin here - "50% of the STH got their first choice." Also note, 50% did not get their first choice.

Posted by: MarkW | November 13, 2007 3:43 PM | Report abuse

Eh, you can hardly fault the Nats for pushing the Suites and Premium seating that they created so much of. If they don't sell it, they're [RF]. And an expletive is not uncalled for in that situation.

Hopefully, they must think, the emphasis on luxury would encourage regular STH to spend a little more.

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | November 13, 2007 3:58 PM | Report abuse

"I don't think that the Nats care all that much for the regular STHs."

As long as I get my seat roughly where I want it, I'm pretty low-maintenance. And the folks at the exchange windows have always been very courteous and attentive when I've wanted to trade tickets, which is something I want and need to do often given my travel schedule.

I do think the Nats could learn from the Caps, who are historically very attentive to STHs. Just a little outreach -- maybe one phone call some time during the season per STH equivalent -- would feel pretty good, although, yes, that is fifteen thousand phone calls (OK, fifteen and change).

To keep it apples-to-apples, what are realistic expectations, baseball-wise? How do the Nats stack up against the Orioles, Phillies, Pirates, etc.? John in Mpls, had a chance to talk to any friend or neighbor who is a Twins STH?

Posted by: Hendo | November 13, 2007 4:04 PM | Report abuse

According to this blogger (who claims he got a tour from Kasten today): http://nats320.blogspot.com/

There are going to be LOTS of unhappy partial plan people:

"The Lower Main Bowl is mostly sold to FULL SEASON TICKET HOLDERS--except for the corner sections down each base line. Partial Season Ticket Holders requesting Lower Bowl Seating--have been placed in Left Field."

Big, big difference between the infield and the outfield. As a class of 2005 partial season ticket holder who provided them with three infield or baseline choices, if I get assigned a seat anywhere in home run territory I will be livid and demanding to be re-seated or for a refund.

They swore on the phone when the surveys were filled out that these surveys would be processed by real people, and that if the first three choices were not available they'd call to confirm a new option first. NOBODY appears to have been called by the team before their re-seating, even though we know at least 10% of folks had no input on wanting the sections for their current seats.

This could easily be a bigger trainwreck than past ticketing disasters with this team, and that is saying a lot.

Posted by: 408 Row 1 | November 13, 2007 4:07 PM | Report abuse

As a STH from the class of '05 - Sec 313, row 3, 1-2-3-4 - maybe I'm busting baseballs here prematurely. Could be they gave us a pretty good seat. But, I can't help but think who in the heck is going to sit in those $300 per game seats? Or, the $150 seats? I still smell a rat.

Posted by: 6th and D | November 13, 2007 4:19 PM | Report abuse

I think this discussion is catastrophizing too much - I would bet that if you did not get any of your three choices, you will get some assignment, and info on how to make a change. Maybe we should all just wait until Friday and see how it goes.

Posted by: Traveler | November 13, 2007 4:22 PM | Report abuse

Don't be so irrational Traveler!

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | November 13, 2007 4:24 PM | Report abuse

OK, lets all calm down for a minute. I understood that now everyone was going to get their first choice. I also think that 90% getting their top 3 is pretty good considering what they have had to work through. As for the claims of SBF that the partial plan holders are getting the short end of the stick, that may be true that they are getting worse seats, but they also pay less. I have cheap, partial plan seats and had them for years. I just want to keep having cheap partial plan seats so that I can go watch baseball and can afford it. All of you complaining about not getting field or club level seats need to re-assess what you are complaining about, I just want decent sight-lines in the Upper Deck.

Posted by: NatsTBD | November 13, 2007 4:25 PM | Report abuse

I'm in favor of skipping the STH angst for the moment on the grounds that we don't know if there are any real issues yet, and that there is time to sort out any problems. Easy for me to say, though, as one who gets good corporate seats gratis a few times a year and is content to sit wherever when bringing the family.

And I second Wigi's take on CF, or maybe "third" it (following Hendo's second).

"We need more Zimmermans," not more high-priced free agents past their primes.

Posted by: Bob L. Head | November 13, 2007 4:25 PM | Report abuse

So sorry, 506, I won't let it happen again!

Okay, let's do go back to the hot stove league - how 'bout those Javelinas?

Posted by: Traveler ;-) | November 13, 2007 4:29 PM | Report abuse

Hendo -- agree with you on the outreach -- but it's not 15,000 phone calls, more like 5,000. Most people own 2 or 4 seats, so an average of 3 seats per account. Whatever the number, they should do it.

Posted by: Cosmo | November 13, 2007 4:32 PM | Report abuse

And another thing -- I saw Maxwell interviewed someplace and he said one of the main things he's been doing in the AFL is working on taking balls the other way. This might explain his low average; he could be taking (inside) pitches he might otherwise hit in order to focus on pitches middle and away that he can drive to the opposite field, and/or taking different swings at such pitches that he has previously.

This point is probably better addressed by one of our former players -- Catcher50, where are you?

Posted by: Bob L. Head | November 13, 2007 4:36 PM | Report abuse

Ok, no more angst.

Please God let it be a Coke stadium. Please God let it be a Coke stadium. Please God let it be a Coke stadium.
No Pepsi. No Pepsi. No Pepsi.

Posted by: 6th and D | November 13, 2007 4:36 PM | Report abuse

While I understand that partial plan holders want good seats just as much as full season holders, I'm not sure what those complaining here want the team to do - push full season ticket holders further out to accommodate them?

Also, the seating chart very clearly indicated that infield seats were not expected to be available for partial plan holders, so if that was listed as a choice obviously one does so at their own peril.

Posted by: Svrlugamania | November 13, 2007 4:51 PM | Report abuse

I heard it already IS a Coke stadium.

Posted by: NatsNut | November 13, 2007 4:53 PM | Report abuse

My rowmates and I asked for upper bowl seats over the visitors' dugout. This is because (a) they'll afford about the same view as our seats in 428 at RFK, and (b) they'll be in the shade.

Wonder how much competition we'll have up there? (Perhaps we'll be displaced to the peanut gallery by disappointed club-seat applicants?)

I, too, would advise folks to calm down some. As for views, I've sat all over Philly's CBP (which I imagine Nats Park will resemble somewhat) and found all the views to be at least fair for the money.

There will, as other posters note, be plenty of time for angst very soon.

Posted by: Hendo | November 13, 2007 5:00 PM | Report abuse

New post up.

Posted by: natsfan1a | November 13, 2007 5:01 PM | Report abuse

I hope Capital One gets the name contract.

As for the angst, count me as one who won't get too worked up about my seats.

The team has a HUGE job trying to please this many people. And the new stadium will not likely resemble anything RFK had to offer as far as sight lines go so the task is inherently apples to oranges.

As for 6th and D's observation about only 50% of not very many people getting their first choice. We have no idea what anyone's choices are. Could be 10,000 people chose the same two sections. And it doesn't mean the team screwed up.

For 90% to get their first three choices is pretty impressive. And who says the other 10% didn't get just as good, if not better seats anyway?

Okay. Back to hot stove stuff.

Posted by: NatsNut | November 13, 2007 5:05 PM | Report abuse

I called the Nats office and it sounds to me like they are releasing the seat assignments for anyone who was a season ticket holder beginning in '05,'06, or '07, not just the folks who were in at the very beginning. They will send the assignments by mail, but the invoices (and therefore the assignments) will also be available at nationals.com in the My Nationals Tickets section.

Posted by: On pins and needles | November 13, 2007 5:13 PM | Report abuse

Suggested team slogan: "What's in your wallet?"

---

I hope Capital One gets the name contract.

Posted by: natsfan1a | November 13, 2007 5:16 PM | Report abuse

...or maybe the slogan should be "HOW MUCH is in your wallet?"

Posted by: leetee1955 | November 13, 2007 6:52 PM | Report abuse

On the plus side, the story *was* prominently placed on the site...

---

Hey Posties,

Is it too much to ask that you run ALL Washington Nationals' related stories on your Nationals Internet home page? There's a story on line by Daniel LeDuc about how the seat assignments for the new park are 90% done. But is is on the Nats' page? NOOOO! Doesn't anyone on 15th Street or in Arlington realize that's the most likely place where fans look to get news updates? Stop the madness!

Posted by: natsfan1a | November 13, 2007 7:35 PM | Report abuse

You've got to be dreaming if you think the National ticket vendors are going to give you a call! They only want your money. How generous do you think they will be with the "non-refundable deposit" if you don't like your seats! Let's see, they want your money in mid-November but won't get you tickets until late March. I am waiting to see them reinvent themselves with this new stadium. Carvel and Russert will still get the seats they want while the rest of us are stuck with their random (50% in desired seating) draw.

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