Friday, June 08, 2007

The Relocation Guide

Fortunately, today was a slower than expected day in Television News. Unfortunately-Friday, June 9th, 2007 was all about Paris Hilton. How sad has our society become when an untalented rich no nothing can leave many Americans waiting with bated breath?

Fortunately, for me--I took the opportunity to review the entire Relocation Guide for New Nationals Park for Our Washington Nationals. Its a good read. And, its well thought out. Will someone get screwed? Yeah, most likely. But, will most everyone be satisfied. Yeah--Most Likely. The process set out in the PDF FILE is fair to those who have supported this Franchise from the start. And, despite The Washington Post and many other news outlets CRYING FOUL over the High Prices for Presidential and Diamond Club Seats--I don't find the costs exorbitant. Diamond Club has been Sold Out since 2005. That will still be the case. We live in ONE OF THE MOST IMPORTANT CITIES in this great world. I have NO DOUBT--those Presidential Seats will SELLOUT. It does not bother me they are considered the finest sightline seats in the park. Sitting behind a SCREEN is not something The African Queen and I enjoy. Being caged from the baseball game is not enjoyable. Have you ever sat behind Home Plate at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx? Their Screen so thick you have problems at times seeing the baseball. Let those folks have those seats. Its not going to take your, or my, enjoyment out of Nationals Baseball. Its business. Such Big Business, those folks are paying the freight for ALL THE PLAYERS we are going to enjoy for years to come. Everyone should thank them. Without those HIGH DOLLAR Seats & Suites--Our Washington Nationals are Perennial Losers like The Kansas City Royals.

Remember, included in the new pricing structure are thousands of $5, $10, $15 & $20 seats. Our Current Season Ticket Price in Section 320 is $40. No matter what The African Queen and I decide to do--we will not pay more than $10 more in 2008. In fact, Club Level is just $5 more than what we pay now (That's taking into account the most likely $5 Season Ticket Discount per game, per seat). Personally, we don't find that unfair. In fact, downright reasonable--considering the amenities included for seating in the Club Level. That's a deal--compared to what we now enjoy at RFK STADIUM--which only includes Our Friends & SCREECH!!

I am not here to state THE WEALTHY should have the best--and everyone else should just take the leftovers. That's not my point or belief. For a fact, I can tell you the sightlines in this ballpark are going to be terrific--no matter where you sit. Remember, as I wrote this past March--Nationals Park is compact, far smaller than RFK STADIUM. There will be LESS foul ball territory in play--17 yards in fact. THAT AMOUNTS TO ROWS of seats that don't exist at RFK Stadium. So, think about it--If 17 rows sit in front of the current RFK Stadium Configuration--then those fans that even sit in Row 40 in New Nationals Park will be just as close as WE NOW SIT IN SECTION 320 to the action. Sohna & I currently sit 25 rows from the field. AND WE LOVE OUR SEATS--AND OUR VIEW OF THE GAME!!!

During my March Tour--we sat on the Club Level down the right field line. Not a sole among us--Andy and SenatorNat included--did not feel we were RIGHT ON TOP OF THE FIELD. It was a GREAT FEELING. From the Main Concourse--standing at the last row of The Lower Bowl--We all knew that spot was closer than our seats at RFK STADIUM. The sightlines in New Nationals Park are going to be terrific--no matter where you sit. Truly, I believe that.

A truth I am sure will roll over in the much dreaded Season Ticket Relocation Process, feared by many ticket holders. No doubt, the jockeying has begun. But--The Guidelines are clear. Even those most wealthy must wait to buy up the extra best seats--until EVERYONE is accommodated. Team President Stan Kasten told me each and every season ticket holder has been assigned a number from 1 to the end of the pecking order based on all the criteria to qualify in your Season Ticket Class. Each and EVERY PERSON will be handled individually-step by step--until the process is complete.

Not 24 hours after the Relocation Guide was released to Season Ticket Holders--over 800 Fans had already sent in their questionnaire and deposit. The process will work. I am confident. Its easy to worry, Its easy to bother yourself over it. But, just like all the complaints over Our Washington Nationals not signing a ton of Free Agents this past winter--those concerns may well be unfounded. The 2007 Season is far more interesting than thousands believed.

Let the process play out. Come this time next year--we all will be enjoying Nationals Baseball on South Capitol Street--in Our Brand New "Old Navy, Exxon Mobil, Geico, Sony, Marriott, Northrup Gruman, Capital One, or Whatever you want to call it" Field. All our concerns will be a thing of the past. Nationals Baseball will be the only thing on our minds.


Chris Needham said...

Why do I have the suspicion that your number is going to be quite low? ;)

The complaint over the prices are silly. I don't understand people. I'll be in the nosebleeds -- worse seats than at RFK, for sure -- without paying much more than I am now. Nothing wrong with that!

(I do love how they've managed to get us to call the opportunity to spend more money on concessions and souvenirs 'amenities' though!)

Anonymous said...

SBF and Chris, you are diehard WASHINGTON NATIONALS fans. The Nationals have established little, if any, real presence in the minds and hearts of potential customers, the "Casual Fan."

I implore you to examine these prices from their point of view.

These prices are shocking.

2/3 of the seats are located in the lower bowl. The cheapest 81-game FULL SEASON ticket price is $20.

For $1,620, you sit the farthest distance from home plate, blinded from the scoreboard and exposed to the elements.

The price rises with half or partial plans. Who knows what the SINGLE GAME ticket price will be? And for PREMIUM games?

Most of us have not received the opportunity to walk the concourses of Nationals Park. We must accept Mr. Lerner's and Mr. Kasten's word as bond regarding the value of the fan experience at Nationals Park, especially at these prices. In essence, they are issuing a promissory note to the fans.

Let's examine 4 previous promises offered by Mr. Lerner and Mr. Kasten to determine the level of trust their word deserves.

PROMISE #1: Suffer an inferior major league product at low payroll now. Payroll and the quality of the team will increase substantially in 2007.

PROMISSORY NOTE #1: Payment not due until April 2008.

PROMISE #2: Improve the farm system -- scouting and player development -- using saved payroll funds.

PROMISSORY NOTE #2: Payment incomplete. Yes, top scouts are hired. However, $30,000 unpaid for strength and conditioning coaches. Scouts' expense reimbursements delayed. Sunflower seeds undelivered.

PROMISE #3: Improve the fan experience.

PROMISSORY NOTE #3: Payment overdue. Parking prices increase 50% in 2 years. Concession prices increase but quality and offerings decrease. Centerpiece of between-innings entertainment is a stereotypical frat boy hype-man ["Whuz up RFK!"]. Promotional schedule is skimpiest in the major leagues. Most giveaways offered for premium-priced games.

PROMISE #4: Do not take for granted potential fans and the goodwill of the community.

PROMISSORY NOTE #4: Insufficient payments received. Consider foreclosure. Mr. Kasten is open to fan contact, yet has stated, "I'm the only one here who has built a stadium." Bullied taxpayers in extended battle over parking garages. No marketing of the Nationals brand, including baseball, community activities and media growth. Results in empty seats at RFK.

SUMMARY: Mr. Lerner and Mr. Kasten are poor candidates to receive faith and committment of area fans. They have displayed repeatedly a desire to take from consumers without reciprocating.

High ticket prices are huge risk given Washington's 33 year baseball drought. Unlike Boston, Chicago, St. Louis, and New York, baseball in Washington holds shallow roots, especially with fans born after 1970.

Anonymous said...

Kasten just said what the 2008 slogan will: "New York prices, Hagerstowm product!!!!!"

The prices wouldn't bothers me if we had a good team, or a team with a much high payroll; but thats way to much tp ask of people to see the AAA Nats.

Anonymous said...

Even if all the ticket prices were $1.00 each, I would still probably get a 20 game plan since I do not have the TIME to go to 81 home games.

This is my first year as a season ticket holder---I paid $100 for 20 $5.00 tickets. Although I will have to pay twice as much next year, $200 is still (for me) a reasonable price for season tickets. Since I have bills to pay, I may take a while for me to scrape up the money since I have bills to pay right now. (If I can find at least $500 or so, I may try to get an upgrade.)

The only thing that worries me is that this could backfire on the Nats big time. Rare is the Nats fan who has never attended an Orioles game in his life or at least rooted for the Birds at one time. I can easily see some fans saying, "[EXPLETIVE] this, I'm going to Baltimore where the seats are cheaper."

I do have one question which I will send to Stan Kasten himself. I know it's impossible to guarantee EVERY season ticket holder an Opening Game seat, but while they at the very least be given first shot?

Anonymous said...


I agree with your point about not wanting to sit behind the backstop net. That would totally ruin the value of those seats behind homeplate as far as I'm concerned. I sat in such seats once at a minor league game, and I hated it. I ended up moving back and out farther away from homeplate to get away from the screen, and I enjoyed the view better even though the seats were "worse."

Screech's Best Friend said...

brianh--There are $20-$22 seats available in the infield for anyone in what's called The Infield Gallery. These seats ring the bowl between 1st & 3rd. Nearly EVERYONE is exposed to the elements, there is very little cover in this new ballpark. I took a quick cursory look at Philadelphia & Baltimore. The Phillies have no seats in that price range ringing the infield. The Orioles have a similar price for the same gallery style seats. The lowest price point in the bowl at RFK Stadium, walkup, is $25. I don't see anyone complaining about that right now. If you get past those Presidential and Diamond Box Seats, the prices are not outrageous--in my opinion.

Some comments on your promissory notes:

#1 No one lied to anyone that the team might not be good. They are better than expected. And, no one is stopping just about anyone from buying a $5 seat, moving around and watching a game during the last season of play at RFK Stadium. Whether the team is good or not--if you enjoy baseball you can't beat that. There are $5 Grandstand Seats in the new park.

#2 Farm System--light years between before July '06 and Today. No comparison. Just a great job. You haven't noticed that Rosenthal Story that mentioned the $30,000 unpaid monies died rather quickly. He had no confirmed sources. I am in the media--that story was not entirely accurate. Since it had no legs--alot of others realized it too. Just like in a blog--just because a Named Media Source wrote it--the story is not necessarily 100% correct.

#3 Parking Fee sucks. The InGame Experience needs to be improved. Its definitely a work in progress. And, they need more giveaways. On that--I am 100% in agreeement.

#4 They would be foolish not to market the team. The Nationals are targeting specific areas. What they have yet to do in inundate the market. That's their choosing. Really, does their marketing of the team take away your enjoyment of baseball? Its going to change. Their business model is not what necessarily you and I may like--but its what they want to do.

No doubt--I am giving them a chance. Am I 100% thrilled with everything they have done? No. But, there is marked improvement in this franchise over the past one year. The Foundation is being built. Its great to be a diehard fan. A diehard fan that closely monitors every single aspect of the team. I follow their moves closely, comment if I don't like something, reach out and tell folks also--and make every attempt to make a well informed decision and opinion.

Thanks for your comments--I appreciate them.

JayB said...

agree with Chris and Sbf on pricing seats. I have already sent in my requests.

I love baseball and it has been a major part of my life both on the field and in the stands.

I think many things the new ownership group has done are too extreme and lack follow through.....If I pay my money I feel OK pointing out what I see as problem areas.

Thanks for the forum.

An Briosca Mor said...

You know, I really don't understand all the grousing about the promotional schedule. It may be less than what other teams do, but it seems to me that the promo schedule this year is pretty much equivalent to what it was the last two years. Where were the complaints then? How many Miller Lite coolers and GEICO visors does one person need, anyway? And I don't recall either of the first two seasons offering FOUR bobbleheads, as this one does. Okay, so maybe you'd rather have a player bobblehead instead of a Racing President? I'll gladly trade you my Jose Guillen bobblehead from last year for one of your President bobbleheads. (Except for Teddy, that is. That guy's a loser.)

And I for one expect that additional promo items will be added as the season progresses, just as they were last year. (Recall that the three Paint The Town Red promos were a mid-season add-on to the list.) Kasten has already alluded to some upcoming hype around the last days at RFK. I bet there will be some promo item giveaways associated with that.

Re parking prices, I feel for you guys but the fact is that you've had an incredible gift there for all three years, even at this year's price. Next year you will be paying much, much more - both in parking dollars and time - if you choose to drive to the games. Take Metro. That's what I do already, and perhaps it wouldn't hurt you current driving guys to do it a bit this year too, for practice for next year. If you don't like that situation, don't complain to or about Kasten/Lerners, complain to the DC government. They're the ones responsible for that - and BTW they are also the ones responsible for the new stadium seating configuration and the associated prices. You think it would have been any different if another ownership group had been chosen? Trust me, it wouldn't.

As for STH access to Opening Day tix, based on this year's precedent of giving STH advance shot at single-game tix, I don't see that as being an issue. The only thing that could screw things up would be if every single seat in the stadium is sold to a full-season ticket holder during the ST sales process, thus meaning that there would be a butt in every seat already and nothing left for us partial-plan folks. But that ain't gonna happen, even in Stan Kasten's wildest dreams.

Jim H said...

Why do I get the sense that Chris' mail was not quite meant as an endorsement of the new ticket prices? ;)

I expected to see significant sticker shock, especially since my tickets this year did not go up in price at all. (They took care of that with the parking fee increase!)

It's quite a hike, but I suppose I was steeling myself for it, so I'm not offended as it seems many folks are.

I've submitted my request for club seats, since they'll "only" be $5.00 more than comparable seats for where we are now - yes, in section 320.

(SBF - have you considered the new name for your blog yet?)

Of course, the proof will be in the attendance next year. Have we ever seen a case where pricing went down after the first couple of years in a new stadium?

Screech's Best Friend said...

Jim: Yeah--The Nats320 Moniker is definitely in Jeopardy. I might keep it for sentimentality. Then 10 years from now, it will be like trying to explain why The Lakers play in Los Angeles.

Screech's Best Friend said...

an brioca mor--By the way--Great Commentary the past two posts. Good points, well reasoned. A very interesting read. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

BTW, I visited the stadium construction site today. It looks further along than it appears from the webcam photos. If I am right, it appears that they have completed the steel superstructure (on the ground) in the stands overlooking left field. In other words, they will not be moving any more north, but rather UP.

One of the construction guys said there will be no escalators but there will be elevators. (In fact, they are sinking three elevator shafts at the Navy Yards Metro station.) Since Kasten said there WILL be escalators, I assume this is a miscommunication.

There's going to be a Washington, Lincoln, and Jefferson suites at the new stadium. Am I the only one who will call the nosebleed and bleacher areas the Theodore Roosevelt suites? (He DID like mountain climbing!) I also visited Roosevelt Island today on the way back...

Anonymous said...

It strikes me odd that the ownership group said they have done their research etc. and their pricing is competitive, when for the region it is NOT! The Orioles have more partial plans and cheaper seats. I have both Nationals tickets and Orioles tickets and my Orioles tickets are 2 ROWS FROM THE FIELD IN THE INFIELD AND COST ONLY $30 per game, my NATS seats next season will cost around $25 and I will be in the Infield Gallery (miles from the field)! What is wrong with this picture!????

Anonymous said...

SBF how do you feel that your seats have been replaced by Suites!!!

Screech's Best Friend said...

Anonymous--My Seats have not been replaced by suites. Our Location is still in the lower bowl, the same distance from the field as we currently enjoy. The Difference in price is $5. The only difference is there is no lower bowl walkway in the new park separating the sections like at RFK Stadium.

Anonymous said...

Can someone help me, please? I am currently a 20-game plan season ticket holder and am considering the seats I can afford at the new stadium. I think I have boiled down the seats to either LF/RF Mezzanine ($29) or the Infield Gallery ($22). I am more than willing to pay the extra $7 per ticket if the lower level LF/RF Mezzanine experience is going to be that much better than the cheaper, higher level but closer to home plate Infield Gallery seats. Your opinion, please, and many thanks! You can email me at

Screech's Best Friend said...

anonoymous--I think your decision on seats comes down to what view of the game you enjoy the most. I have personally stood on the Infield Portion of the New Stadium--its alot closer than you can imagine. Certainly down the line is lower to the field, but the angle to the game is far different. The Stadium is compact, far more so than RFK Stadium. The Upper Seats LOOM over the stadium, similar in style to RFK. Hope that helps.

Anonymous said...

NATS320 = I don't understand where you are getting a $5 increase from your current seats in 320.If you are in terrace MVP in 320, your per game price in 2007 is $34.

The way I see it, comparable seats distance-wise in the new stadium will be in section 117, around row QQ or so. Those seats will cost you $50 a seat, for a $16 increase per game. What am I missing?

Anonymous said...

who wants to trade a Jose Guillen Bobblehead for a President Jefferson. Contact me at

Anonymous said...

Chris needham,
Nationals Park has great baseball at better prices. It's not cheap anymore at the pumps, but there are still bargains at the ballpark!