Left-overs from Nationals Park tour
Some of you have noted some of this -- and at some point, I'll get you some more pics, though nothing terribly exciting -- but it's worth regurgitating here. (And speaking of regurgitating: I ate the Curly W pretzel, and it was quite good, and some of you have sick minds and I never thought of it as anything other than a pretzel, so shame on you.)
1. Charlie Slowes: Stan said he would be back. This has been the way it has been headed all offseason, and there have been problems with the language of the contract, from what I'm told. I do not have confirmation that a deal has been signed, however. Will let you know if and when I do.
2. Single-game tickets: Kasten said there would be an announcement on that this week, likely Friday. Prices, etc., are still being finalized, though we all know they snuck onto the Web site a week or so ago. Should have an idea of how many extra seats season-ticket holders are allowed to buy for Opening Night, too.
3. Ballpark opening times: Kasten said, as he did late last season, that the park would open two-and-a-half hours before the first pitch every day. This would be from foul pole to foul pole in the outfield. For a 7 p.m. game, that'd be at 4:30 p.m., which would be in time to catch the Nats hitting -- though after they stretched. The rest of the seating bowl will be open 90 minutes before game time, and it sounds like concessions in the outfield will be open quite early as well so you can -- ahem -- spend money.
On Opening Night, March 30 against the Braves, Kasten said the place would open at 3:30 p.m. or so for an 8 p.m. start, and fans would be allowed to roam the entire park. The idea: Get there early.
4. Attendance: I have been accused on harping on this in the past (in large part because I have harped on this in the past), but Kasten predictably would not set attendance goals for this season. Keep in mind that in 2005 the team drew better than 2.7 million fans. One thing I found interesting, though. Kasten said: "I think we'll always get the attendance that we deserve." I'm sure he has said that before and I missed it; he definitely didn't think it up on the spot. But it seems quite a reasonable way of putting the onus for attendance not on the fan base but on the club. And he believes there are several factors that go into it -- the entertainment in the venue, the ballpark itself, the parking and transportation issues and the product on the field. The Nationals have varying degrees of control over all of those issues.
5. What will be ready: Kasten said the park should be 95 percent complete this season, meaning almost all of the amenities will be in, etc. The stuff that won't be include the three statues -- one of Walter Johnson, one of Josh Gibson, another of Frank Howard. They're still in production, Kasten said. The "95 percent" figure is to say that the stuff that won't be finished will largely go unnoticed by fans, such as unsold signage and stuff. They had no carry-over deals from RFK, so they're selling 100 percent of their inventory in one offseason. Translation: The park won't be producing as much revenue in 2008 as it will in the future.
6. Museum: Kasten didn't mention this, but the Nats have been discussing with the Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum the possibility of haivng a permanent branch in Washington at Nationals Park. There is a two-story space down the left field line -- along South Capitol St. near the northernmost corner of the park -- that could house a museum. What Kasten did allow is that they're trying to figure out what to do with that space, if it could be a conference room or convention hall or museum or some sort of combination. In any case, it's unlikely it'll be done this year.
All right, that's it for randomness off the top of my head. For those who missed it, here's a story from this morning's $.50/.35-edition on lefty Jack McGeary, who I saw when I went to California to visit Nick Johnson a few weeks back. Pretty impressive kid. Here's what the front of the sports section looked like, for those who don't get the dead tree edition.
Have a good Tuesday.
February 5, 2008; 9:30 AM ET
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