Sunday, October 07, 2007


The Milwaukee Brewers have listed their Entire 2008 Tentative Schedule with START TIMES (Reminder--Milwaukee's Listing is for the Central Time Zone). It just so happens that The Brewers will make their only appearance at New Nationals Park during Memorial Day Weekend--2008--for four games. All four of which shall commence with different start times.

7:10PM for a Saturday Night Game. 1:35PM for Sunday Afternoon. 12:35PM for Memorial Day.

But, the most compelling and interesting time is 7:35PM for a Friday Night Game. Is this an effort to lighten the blow of Rush Hour Traffic and potential gridlock surrounding The Parking and Transportation Issues still outstanding around the South Capital Street Venue? Is the 7:35PM Start Time a temporary move while Metro works on their issues and The Parking Spaces and road flow are worked out?

I hope so.

Because, personally, I like the 7:05PM (or even now 7:10PM starts mentioned for Saturday Games). Many times the games run late--well past 10PM even with a 7:05PM start. Now, it would not be unreasonable to think that many fans with a 7:35PM start--who stay throughout every game--will not get home before Midnight during a weekend game. That probably will hold true, whether you use Metro or Drive your car.

The 7:05 Start has worked for Sohna & I during the first three seasons of baseball in The Nation's Capital. Getting off work at 5:45PM gave me ample opportunity to Metro over to RFK Stadium, meet up with The African Queen and get settled for that night's game. Now, in all likelihood--there will be a lull time before each and every game. Sure, for the first few weeks, that might mean extra time to explore New Nationals Park. But, eventually--for Regular Attendees--that's going to get "Old Hat"--really quick.

A 7:05PM start is still fine with me. How about you?


Edward J. Cunningham said...

I suspect the Nats are trying to allow for more time for fans to get to the stadium. But aren't the starting times for MOST night games usually 7:35 PM anyway? (I mean most night games in all of MLB, not at Nats games last year.)

An Briosca Mor said...

The Braves, as far as I can recall, were the only NL team the Nats faced who started their games at 7:35. Everyone else was at 7:05 local time. Svrluga mentioned on his blog why the Braves start at 7:35, which is so that TBS can get in an extra half hour of Everybody Loves Raymond or whatever before the game. He wasn't kidding about that, either.

As for the Nats starting at 7;35, if it will help get fannies in the seats at the beginning of the game rather than in the 2nd, 3rd or even later as was the case at RFK, I guess it's worth a try. I take Metro in from Dunn Loring, since I live near there and work even further out. For a 7:05 start, I'd hit the Metro station around 5:00 and be in RFK around 6:00, enough time to grab a bite, wander around a bit and get in my seat in time for the National Anthem. So for a 7:35 start, I can either leave a half hour later, or get there at the same time as this year and maybe catch some BP or take advantage of all the extra fun stuff that Stan says will be available in the new park.

Staying to the end of every game at RFK, I think the latest I ever got home was 11:30. Usually it was a little earlier than that. So I guess I can live with a half hour later next year, although if they go to extra innings or there's a rain delay I may have to leave before the game is over. I'm planning to walk to Capitol South to catch the Orange Line home, and hopefully that won't take longer than the Orange Line from RFK did. Time will tell, I guess.

Anonymous said...

When my work schedule changed, I found myself with an extra half hour before games at RFK, arriving around 5:45 rather than 6:15/6:30. I actually preferred having more time before games, while the atmosphere was still pretty low key. Between watching BP, looking for autographs, grabbing a bite to eat, taking care of tickets, going visiting and so forth, I always had more than enough to do.

I don't think of Friday or Saturday night as week nights, so I don't mind the possibility of a later start time. If a later start time on Friday and Saturday means people don't feel as rushed to get to the park, that might be a good thing. FWIW, for me, it might be less confusing if we have a consistent evening start time for weeknight, i.e. Mon - Thurs games (and Sunday games, if they're played in the evening), and have Fri and Saturday evening games start at the same time, since they'd be "weekend evenings".

I'd want to hear from the Nats FO if they're thinking along these lines. At this point, I think there are any number of possibilities - ranging from the change is being contemplated for all games, (or something's going on just for this game,), to somebody at the Brewers office slipped up when they posted the schedule.

Chris Needham said...

I'd bet anything that $$$ is driving this decision.

A later start time, especially on a work night (even if it's just a Friday) means more people are spending more time (read: drinking beer, eating ballpark food) before the game.

Especially this season, it's not like there's going to be plenty of options around the park. Rather than milling around construction, people will go inside and make Stan more money.

Jim H said...

Coming from the NoVa, I'm fine with the later start time. I'm paranoid about getting to the park early so I can find my favorite parking spots (imagine me in full panic mode next season!). To do that, I leave work early for games during the week.

I'd like the later start time, personally...but if it reverts, that's fine, too.

To Chris' point...sure, money drives just about every decision made about most things - baseball and not. In this case, it could also be a good thing for the fans, as well. (Although likely not as good for attendance at the end of the games.)

Six o' one, half a dozen of the other for me.

Anonymous said...

Saturday and Sundays need to be DAY GAMES like in 2006!!!!! Driving from Richmond to D.C. really is a full day trip and when the games are at 7:05 on a Saturday you leave Richmond at 2pm and you are not home till 12:30-1am.


An Briosca Mor said...

Due to Fox television restrictions (newly in place for the 2007 season when the Fox Game of the Week was shifted from 1:30ish to 4:00ish) any Saturday games not on Fox must be played outside of the 4:00 - 7:00 window or they can't be televised, even locally. (This is why the July 21 Colorado game at 4:00 got blacked out on MASN after Fox decided it wasn't worthy of Game of the week status.) I don't think the Nationals want to have 1:00 Saturday games as a matter of course, which is why they end up playing them at night instead. It probably makes sense to have one weekend day game, on Sundays as they do now, to cater to the family crowd. But having day games on both Saturday and Sunday would just force that crowd to choose one or the other, since the family crowd in general won't go to two games in the same weekend. Saturday night crowds in 2007 were typically the largest crowds of each three-day weekend series, so why should they mess with that if it's working?

Anonymous said...

I'll join the chorus of those who do not find the potential change of starting time for evening games from 7:05 to 7:35 a bad thing. During the week, it will allow me not to rush quite as much to get to the game on time coming from work, and on the weekends the starting time for evening games is not a concern for me one way or the other. So, on the balance, a starting time that is moved back by 30 minutes is a net plus as far as I'm concerned.

Anonymous said...

Most people (I won't call them fans) don't arrive until 7:35 for a 7:05 game anyway Usually the stadium is almost empty when the first pitch is thrown.

Anonymous said...

By the time I drove to my house downtown from work in MD, parked, got on the metro, and made it to RFK, it was usually the third inning. Pushing the start time back certainly will help. I imagine with the number of people who work outside the city (think Tysons, I-66, Toll Road, 270, etc), a later start time could help fill seats.

John C said...

FYI, out here in L.A., the Dodgers usually go with a 7:40 PM starting time on Friday nights... I think Mike Edgar hit on something there with his post - if any of you have been to L.A., you know the nightmare it is to get anywhere, so the later starting time is definitely a plus, especially when you can sleep in the next day.

Anonymous said...

I'm with SBF on this -- I much prefer 7:05. This year, I usually didn't get to bed until about 11:30 after a night game -- too late for me, but barely acceptable. Pushing this back to midnight is just too late.

Don't forget that a lot of folks around here are on an early schedule thanks to flextime throughout the Federal government. So not getting to bed until midnight is probably a bigger problem for many folks here than in other cities.