Inside Look: Nationals Park
The Nats have a new stadium this year, so I thought it might be interesting to ask a few questions of a Washington fan to learn more about it.
Herewith a quick Q & A with Chris Needham of Capitol Punishment.
1. What in particular is so special about Nationals Park … for example, is there something that would motivate someone from another city to jump on a plane to watch a ballgame there?
I’m not sure I’d travel long distances to see it. It’s a nice place, a perfectly average ballpark. My parents visited this weekend, and liked the views of the Capitol building from various sections. They also liked the ginormous video board.
On a personal note, I’m just happy to see a park with fences at normal depths. I’ve seen more homers in the three games I’ve been to this year than I did in the 70 or so I saw at RFK! (only partially exaggerated there….!)
2. Peter Angelos was against having a team in DC for a long time. Do you think he had good reason, and/or do you believe the Orioles have lost fans or revenues because of the Nats? How will the new stadium compete with Camden Yards, if at all?
That’s a tough one. I think there were plenty of DC and Virginia baseball fans who went to Orioles games because that was their only alternative, not because they were fans of Brooks Robinson. Many (most?) of those have stuck with the Nats. For the guys in the MD suburbs, I would imagine that their loyalties haven’t necessarily transferred. Being in different leagues, I know a few people who have two favorites — this isn’t quite Yankees/Mets!
I’d suspect that at the end of the year, 55-60 thousand fans will combine per game for these two probable last-place teams. That’s not bad.
And another thing to keep in mind is that Angelos owns the TV rights to the Nats. So their success means money in his pocket. That’s a screwy deal in and of itself, and the cause of much teeth-gnashing around here, especially in that first year when nobody could see the games, because cable companies refused to carry the TV network.
3. Since there are so many politicians and foreign dignitaries in DC, is security at Nationals Park tougher than in other MLB stadiums? Are there bulletproof luxury suites?
Nah. I’ve been frisked more thoroughly going into Yankee Stadium. And he didn’t even buy me dinner before! When they announce that the president will be there in advance, they put up metal detectors. But there have been a game or two where he just showed up, sitting in the box, unnoticed by most.