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Nationals Park Tour

Since I have no idea what I'm doing, and I just consulted with DC SportsBog maven Steinberg from the Phoenix airport and he said he couldn't explain it over the phone, consider this a one-picture test run and I'll see if I can add to it.

So here we are walking up Half Street SE, which will be the main drag between the Metro stop -- which Kasten believes will be open on Opening Day -- and the ballpark.

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As you come through the main entrance gallery -- which is on the north side of the park, closest to the Metro and M St. SE, which is the main drag through that part of town -- you'll see the two parking garages, then 200 feet of open space looking into the ballpark. On the right-hand side will be this structure, which will be the Nationals team store.

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This is the center field restaurant. One thing you'll notice at the park -- and you'll hear about a lot if you go through it with Kasten -- is that there will be no shortage of bars and restaurants. This one will be open to all ticket holders and there will be many places to stand and have a beer with your eyes still on the field.

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A word about beer: Kasten said they will have contracts with both Miller Lite and Anheuser-Busch, so most of your favorite macro brews will be available. Centerplate, the concessionaire which replaces Aramark (to the joy of many/most), is also looking into what microbrews to offer.

Below, Kasten looks out across the field toward the main seating bowl. This is a place he called "The Scoreboard Walk," which will be a series of bars and concession stands below the giant HD scoreboard (we'll get to that).

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A Curly W on one of the bars in center field.

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We walked all the way around the diamond to, appropriately enough, the Diamond Club, which is what the hoity-toity people in the hoity-toity seats -- the 1,800 closest to the field -- will have access to. Here's a view from there.

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And this seems to me to be a really nice touch behind the bar in the Diamond Club.

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This is the Oval Office Bar, another swank place behind the plate.

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We made our way down to the clubhouse then. You may have heard me joke about the home clubhouse at RFK. Well, that's what it was -- a joke. This one is going to be spectacular. The hold-overs from the years at RFK won't believe it. It's shaped like a football, so no corners to climb into. A few views.

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A locker

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One of several amenities that RFK didn't have: An underwater treadmill.

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The home dugout, which for some reason I took at a weird angle, being all artsy and stuff.

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And here she is, in all her glory: The HD scoreboard. It's 101.84 feet wide by 47.24 feet high. That'd be almost five stories high.

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You see that little camera below, just to the right of the pressbox? That'd be the Clark Construction Web cam, such a help to all of us through these long dreary months. Thanks, little guy! (Oh, and if you look at the Web feed there at about noon, you can see our little gaggle near the home dugout. And yes, that's me waving.)

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Back outside the park, this is the signage on the Potomac Ave. SE side.

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And below, this would be the bar behind the club level and suite seating. The club level seats -- and I'll be in Section 219 for 10 or more games this year -- are all sold out, and they have access to what looks like it'll be a very spacious bar and restaurant area.

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The view from my seats in Section 219. Stop by sometime.

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The highlight of any tour for us, but not important to the public, is the pressbox. Rules: Three reporters for every sherpa, and make sure you grab your oxygen tank on the lower levels. We'll be establishing a media base camp on March 29 and then try for the summit on Opening Night, March 30.

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View from the pressbox.

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And, finally, what we've all been waiting for: Curly W pretzels!!!

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All right, I've got to run for now. Headed for an appearance on "Washington Post Live" at 5 p.m. on Comcast SportsNet. I hope to work in a word or two on this topic, but we'll see. And I know these photos aren't necessarily big enough (I need lots more training), but I hope they're helpful enough. I'll get you some stuff about what Stan Kasten said about a number of topics either later today or early tomorrow.

Let me know your impressions of this tour, too.

By Barry Svrluga  |  February 4, 2008; 2:47 PM ET
 
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Next: Left-overs from Nationals Park tour

Comments

Barry -- the pics look great! So, do you think this will all be done in time for Opening Night?! Some of these pics don't look too promising.

BTW ... I won't say what that pretzel looks like to me (let's just say it's not something I'd like to eat).

Posted by: e | February 4, 2008 3:59 PM | Report abuse

Barry-

Great Pics- They have a lot of work to do in 7 weeks!

Any word from Stan on Charlie Slowes?

Posted by: John Sect 129 | February 4, 2008 4:06 PM | Report abuse

Barry, wow Sec 219? My seats are in the same section although I could only swing 4 games this season, down from 10 last year, as the wife is due with our first child in late June. Thanks very much for the photos! Now that football season is over it's back to getting excited about baseball and the new ballpark. What a difference a new stadium can make. I can't wait for opening day!

Posted by: Love the Curly W pretzel, mate | February 4, 2008 4:07 PM | Report abuse

It's taken quite awhile but I believe Barry finally has been beaten at something. Sweet views but JD (of jdland.com for those of you unfamiliar with her work) has you beat hands-down brother.

Granted, she has us all beat.
And, I'm several laps down.

Posted by: Corey | February 4, 2008 4:08 PM | Report abuse

Interesting. I had a tour a few weeks ago and took basicly the same pictures. Including the treadmill.
Four weeks away is too long. The Mexican baseball on MASN this weekend was only a small fix.

Posted by: ChrisC | February 4, 2008 4:12 PM | Report abuse

... this is great stuff Barry, for a guy who's still up to his alligators in snow. Oh to be in Natsland when it's cherry blossom time.

Posted by: natscan reduxit | February 4, 2008 4:13 PM | Report abuse

Great post Barry, thanks for sharing.

I agree with e about that pretzel though. Better stick to the Dingers and, perhaps, the Esco-bars.

Also, I couldn't find Barry waving at the camera -- has anybody?

Posted by: Bob L. Head | February 4, 2008 4:19 PM | Report abuse

The beer contracts aren't exclusive -- most stadiums have Bud, Miller, and Coors as well as others. The important question is, are they staying with Pepsi or switching to Coke?

Posted by: Cosmo | February 4, 2008 4:25 PM | Report abuse

it all looks great, except for the pretzel, which looks like dog poo.

Posted by: derek | February 4, 2008 4:29 PM | Report abuse

Please God...let it be Coke.

Posted by: 6th and D | February 4, 2008 4:34 PM | Report abuse

I'm not sure - was it all a wild gossage chase? I did find a gaggle of people standing on the outfield warning track in the 12:46 and 12:55 centerfield cam shots. One person has an arm outstretched in the 12:46 view (that person seen in profile and I do not have sufficient resolution to see features when I use the enlarge feature). Does the fact that I tried mean that I have no life? Don't answer that. :)

I think the pretzel is cute (if evocative).
---

Also, I couldn't find Barry waving at the camera -- has anybody?

Posted by: natsfan1a | February 4, 2008 5:20 PM | Report abuse

p.s. I liked the pics!

Posted by: natsfan1a | February 4, 2008 5:22 PM | Report abuse

1205 on the outfield camera you can see them in the first base dugout, no waving though

Posted by: love | February 4, 2008 5:29 PM | Report abuse

Barry, That's exciting to see! Thanks for posting.

Here are some questions to ask your buddy Stan; How many parking passes have been sold? My Nats rep said that I can get extra parking passes. Not sure if that means many folks aren't interested?

Also, what's the timeframe on the construction? For example, what's not going to be in place this this season? Will we see cherry trees? When will we see the museum open up? Where will it be located?

As for the stadium hours, when will the gates be opening? Will season ticket holders be allowed in 30 minutes ahead over everyone else?

Will the curly W pretzels be offered be offered like Aunt Anne's pretzel's at the mall or like the pretzels sold at Camden Yards where you can order them different ways? For example, salty or sugary?

Lastly, and most importantly what will a beer cost?????????????

Thanks!

Posted by: Nats Fan | February 4, 2008 5:30 PM | Report abuse

Well done, love. Not sure what you win for sussing that out. A Dinger or a pretzel, perhaps? :)

---

1205 on the outfield camera you can see them in the first base dugout, no waving though

Posted by: natsfan1a | February 4, 2008 5:44 PM | Report abuse

Indeed, the pretzel looks like a Gene joke.

and since you implied a question: Smithwick's, preferably available up near the right field foul pole top deck.

Posted by: Don't step in the pretzel | February 4, 2008 6:25 PM | Report abuse

ballpark is lookin good!

anyone ready to start guessing at the standings (wins)?

Mets 94
Philly 92
Atlanta 86
Nats 77
Marlins 68

and that is free style. no thought whatsover.

Posted by: longterm | February 4, 2008 7:18 PM | Report abuse

Who is MLB.com reporter Michael Phillips???? Man he is putting out some great writing on the Nats Website today.....don't miss Bill at all....may not even miss Barry, Compare and judge the two offerings, Judge for yourself.

Posted by: JayB | February 4, 2008 7:18 PM | Report abuse

Oh, man- give them credit for trying. Capitol Punishment had a funny take on the pretzel, too, but the commenters were piling on after.

The pretzel picture is bad, but I am sure it will be a success. RFK had nothing but cold hot dogs. They are trying to give us something team-specific, something you can't get anywhere else. Wait until you at least see one for real- I am sure the kids will love them.

Posted by: Positively Half St. (11 more days) | February 4, 2008 7:21 PM | Report abuse

Several features of the stadium are reminiscent of Petco Park in SD. (Rounded clubhouse, expansive club suites/bars, and high-altitude pressbox).

My beverage votes: Pepsi, Sierra Mist, Squirt, Smithwick's, Sam Adams.

Posted by: FS Nats Watcher | February 4, 2008 8:51 PM | Report abuse

The pretzel is fantastic! It will be more popular than the iphone. Does anyone know who is going to manufacture them? I'm ready to invest! Or maybe I should just change jobs and become a Nats pretzel vender..."These pretzels are making me thirsty!"

Posted by: rjm | February 4, 2008 9:08 PM | Report abuse

Another wild thought: How many major league clubs have a curly letter they could make a pretzel out of?

Posted by: rjm | February 4, 2008 9:10 PM | Report abuse

I love the pretzel! At RFK, it was sometimes hard to know what team played there, doesn't like there will ever be any question who plays at this park.

Thanks for the pix. I think your offer for us to "stop by" could turn into a good episode of Seinfeld, you might live to regret that.

Posted by: Avar | February 4, 2008 9:19 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for the pix, Barry.

Stan was also talking up the pretzels at the Smithsonian event tonight (the event I didn't think I could attend until my trip to Chicago got cancelled). I think they look fine, although I'm still in the mood for a Dinger(tm).

Other good news from the Smithsonian event: Charlie Slowes is back, saith Stan.

Posted by: Hendo | February 4, 2008 9:58 PM | Report abuse

I think the pretzel looks like it could start a trend. Before you know it other teams will do it. It will become like the helmets with ice cream in them. I mean what else could you do for a signature DC food. Maybe get Ben's Chili bowl to open up a spot in the stadium. Or stick an American Flag toothpick in all the food.

Posted by: Alex35332 | February 4, 2008 10:49 PM | Report abuse

thought i'd heard ben's chili bowl is indeed going to have a stand in the stadium. hope so. as for any other curly letter pretzel possibilities, B would do for boston and the braves (but since we got our letter first can't we just copyright the whole alphabet under the MLB monopoly clause?)

Posted by: natty bumppo | February 5, 2008 12:05 AM | Report abuse

As good as this tour is, the article in the .50 street edition about Jack McGeary is better. Roger Angell would be impressed.

Posted by: Julia's Dad | February 5, 2008 7:32 AM | Report abuse

Barry-

Great story on McGeary today. Please keep 'em coming. Spring Training is so close I can taste it.

Posted by: Positively Half St (10 more days) | February 5, 2008 7:46 AM | Report abuse

Agree re. the McGeary piece.

Thanks for the info on Slowes, Hendo.

Nice Seinfeld reference, rjm!

Posted by: natsfan1a | February 5, 2008 7:53 AM | Report abuse

Stan stated, last night, that announcment would be made this Thursday concerning the distriubt of Opening Day tickets to season ticket holders. He also said that Nick and Patterson say they are ready to go for Spring Training but declined to give guarantee on that becayse "I've been in the business too long."

@Heno

Craig (Chief) Berube

Posted by: A Hardwick | February 5, 2008 8:45 AM | Report abuse

Sorry!

@Hendo

Craig (Chief) Berube

Posted by: A Hardwick | February 5, 2008 8:47 AM | Report abuse

I laughed out loud on "these pretzels are making me thirsty," rjm.

It's definitely Coke.

And according to 506 a few weeks back, Ben's Chili Bowl hadn't been solidified yet. The basis for the rumor was a story about signage at the park and the sign company was making one for Ben's, which doesn't necessarily mean it's a done deal. Maybe we should start lobbying the team?

Posted by: NatsNut | February 5, 2008 8:55 AM | Report abuse

Nats Fan, this from the Phillips article:

"The park will usually open 90 minutes before games -- two and a half hours before in the outfield plaza -- but on Opening Day it will open at 3:30 p.m. ET for the 8:05 p.m. game against the Atlanta Braves, giving fans extra time to walk around and see the stadium that Sunday afternoon, as well as deal with any delays that occur."

Posted by: Bob L. Head | February 5, 2008 9:25 AM | Report abuse

Also, this:

The new park will feature a "Build-a-Bear Workshop that will let kids construct their own racing president."

Posted by: Bob L. Head | February 5, 2008 9:32 AM | Report abuse

"As good as this tour is, the article in the .50 street edition about Jack McGeary is better."

Nice article about McGeary. Too bad, though, that the Post couldn't resist yet again trumpeting its odd "the Orioles deserve equal time in this town" stance by running alongside the McGeary piece a story by Sheinin about the impending trade of Bedard to the Mariners for prospects. Hello, Post editors, those Orioles trade rumors aren't news; there have been mentions of that trade all over the Internet for over a week, with specific players named and everything. You just found out about that trade possibility today and decided your readership needed to be informed of it? And the trade hasn't been made yet either, it's still just in the "highly probable" stage it's been in for some time. There was absolutely no reason that Orioles story - which took up almost as much space as the McGeary story did, and came complete with a color photo just like the McGeary story did - needed to run today except to say once again that as far as the Post is concerned the Nationals aren't the only game in town. I wonder how many newsstand pickups Mr. Garcia-Ruiz added today by doing that? I'd guess zero. But once again he can smile that he stuck it to the Nats. Enjoy the feeling now while you can, Emilio. Given current circulation trends, you'll be on the unemployment line soon enough.

Posted by: Section 419+1 | February 5, 2008 9:39 AM | Report abuse

Yes, but where's the "Build-A-Barry Workshop"?

In other news, I don't recall seeing this mentioned before, but the NJ community was mentioned again on the recovering journalist site (thanks to Ms. Chatter's blog for pointing this out) and Barry's work was lauded. They also said that we had regular tailgates when we've only had the one but whatever...

http://tinyurl.com/233gp2

Posted by: natsfan1a | February 5, 2008 9:40 AM | Report abuse

Pardon the thread interruption, but some might wonder what A. Hardwick is referring to above.

He and I connected at the Smithsonian last night and were cudgelling our brains for the name of the Caps' enforcer in the late 90s (aka, to some, as The Last Time Before Donald Brashear That We Felt Like Playing Hockey, but anyway...). We remembered that he, like Chad Cordero, was known as the Chief, but couldn't jog our memories any further.

Anyway, that would have been left winger Craig "Chief" Berube, whose hits and PIMs helped take us to the Stanley Cup final in 1998. Alas, the next year he was dealt to the Flyers. Evidently he likes it in Philly; he's now head coach of the Philadelphia Phantoms, the Flyers' AHL affiliate.

Back to our regularly scheduled discussion.

Posted by: Hendo | February 5, 2008 9:57 AM | Report abuse

Thanks for the Potts link, natsfan1a.

"They also said that we had regular tailgates when we've only had the one . . . ." True, but it was the first in a series, right?

RFK Lot 8, here we come. (Shall we try to do one there in the afternoon of March 30 if the weather's nice?)

Posted by: Hendo | February 5, 2008 10:02 AM | Report abuse

Thanks for the explanation, Hendo.

Another tailgate would be fun but it might be a somewhat exclusive one on that date. Speaking for myself, I don't think that 1c and I will be attending the game that day. We are not ST holders and that weekend will also be a very busy one for us.

Posted by: natsfan1a | February 5, 2008 10:21 AM | Report abuse

New post.

(1a: we'll think about April, then, and work out the details offline.)

Posted by: Hendo | February 5, 2008 10:23 AM | Report abuse

Thanks, Hendo, that sounds good.

---

(1a: we'll think about April, then, and work out the details offline.)

Posted by: natsfan1a | February 5, 2008 10:26 AM | Report abuse

And hearty thanks to Mr. Hardwick for the memory-jogger above.

Posted by: Hendo | February 5, 2008 11:15 AM | Report abuse

Stan said that 6-8 local vendors will be there.

I've heard the following local vendors will be there but can't vouch for the sources.

- Ben's Chili
- Five Guys
- Red, Hot & Blue
- Giffords (ice-cream)

I'm guessing Hard Times would be a likely candidate and probably Burrito Bros?

Maybe Cap City brew pub? Anyone out there hear any rumors?? What local vendors would you want to see there?

Posted by: Section 315 | February 5, 2008 1:18 PM | Report abuse

Oh, is that egotistical no nothing a**hole reporting again?

Posted by: Mike Morgan | February 5, 2008 3:56 PM | Report abuse

The question I have is how long until they sell the naming rights and we are going to the Nationals at (Insert Name Here) ?

Here's a few suggestions:
Nats @ Beltway Bandit Stadium
Nats @ I'll Lobby Anything for a Buck Stadium
Nats @ The Association for Whoever Has the Most Money Park

Wouldn't it be nice if the Nations' Capital wasn't for sale? Oops, Too Late.

Posted by: Patrick | February 7, 2008 10:29 AM | Report abuse

i luv these pictures=B

Posted by: sophia | February 11, 2008 9:46 PM | Report abuse

xbnhdufp xnijrws gybilxu qxyz vuta oxjgi fujmrc

Posted by: mfjihrae wdblniy | April 16, 2008 11:34 AM | Report abuse

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