Sunday, February 10, 2008

More Detail Of New Nationals Park (Conclusion--Until Our Next Visit)

I LOVE THIS PICTURE--taken from UPPER INFIELD GALLERY--First Base Infield Side--Pretty Spectacular In My Book!!

The Openness of the Concourses at New Nationals Park. This topic has been talked about, written about, and wondered about for some time. Like PNC Park in Pittsburgh and Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia--Our Washington Nationals New South Capitol Street Ballpark is shaping up to be very fan friendly (so just get past the parking thing--OK?). No one should have any fear of heading out to a concession--worrying about missing the ballgame. All permanent concessions are situated on the outside walls of the lower and upper concourses. Mobile Individual Foods Stands will be spaced throughout those levels--as well. And, Stand Up Tables will be placed at the back of the main concourse seating bowl (in essence an extra row). So, if you just want to stand and enjoy your meal--while chatting with a friend--and still not miss the game--you can do that too. The Best of Both Worlds.

Upper Level Concourse--just as convenient, but smaller.

And this particular shot depicts well how even The Media was placed higher so that fan's views in The Upper Levels of New Nationals Park will not be blocked while at the concession stands.

Now, there will be three ways to reach your seat--if you are located on any of the Upper Levels.
Walk Ramps
Elevators (notice the dust flying in this shot--something that is commonplace throughout any portion of the ballpark still under construction. As any portion of the park is completed--a cleaning crew is sent in to scrub down that area. What a chore that must be!)
Of course The Media will definitely be using all three of those people mover choices to reach their perch in the sky. The Press Box is the tallest point of New Nationals Park.

Inside The Press Box--Journalist Rows & Broadcast Booths

For the most part--that concludes The Nats320 Detail Look Of New Nationals Park. The African Queen and I believe the ballpark is shaping up very nicely. We like the exterior monument look--and feel the compact intimacy bodes well for Our New South Capitol Street Stadium. Most enjoyable for us this past Friday (other than sitting in our seats)--were those tiny additions that clearly state--some thought was put into the interior design. Such as: Louisville Slugger Bat Bar Consoles, Vintage Style Information Signs, a re-creation of The Only Washington DC World Series Championship Game Scoreboard, The Curly "W" Blue Gates, & Plexiglass instead of railings in the main seating bowl. Sohna especially likes the antique light fixtures in the clubs.
And remember, over time--all concourse columns will have mural renditions of Washington Baseball Greats (like that of Walter Johnson shown a few months ago). A Washington Baseball Hall of Fame, The Statues of Johnson, Josh Gibson and Frank Howard--along with a Special Baseball Themed Hanging Sculpture--are also coming--over time. Those little things that mean a lot. You can never be different, and stand out--unless you move in a bolder direction. New Nationals Park is UNIQUE. What other park has Cherry Trees that may blossom the first week of every season? No other venue has The U.S. Capitol within eyesight of their facility. At night, that shot is going to look great!!

For over two hours, Chrsytal Stowe--Director of Community Affairs and Business Development for Smoot Construction--kindly walked us throughout every area of the park we asked. Unfortunately, we did not have the time visit The Centerfield Restaurant (under heavy construction), the kids area, nor the spots where The Cherry Trees will be planted, but that's fine--because Chrystal has promised Sohna and I that--just before The Smoot-Clark-Hunt Construction Team hands over the keys for that first game--all three of us will get together again for a FINAL WALK THROUGH. At that point--we should all get a nice feel on what to expect on Opening Night--2008.

But before concluding--here are a few more odds & ends--extra pictures that we wanted to share--but had no place elsewhere in the posts.
Grand Staircase Entrance off Potomac Avenue--shot taken from Club Level Walkout
Looking West toward South Capitol--at Our Washington Nationals New Office Building (March 15th is scheduled for some occupancy there--but not all)
Centerfield Restaurant & Batters Eye Background
Looking south from Half Street & N toward Centerfield Restaurant--Main Gate Entrance for Navy Yard Metro Patrons
And finally--as Sohna and I were leaving New Nationals Park this past Friday at the conclusion of our tour--we ran into Ronnie Strompf (Vice-President Clark Construction), whom--along with Matt Haas (Project Manager Clark Construction) has steered this massive build out through 22 fast moving months. A pace not many thought was possible. As we chatted, I asked Ronnie if this final 7 week push before Opening Night will take its toll. His response:
"It doesn't matter, even if we had three additional months on our side. In every construction project, no matter how much time you have--the final push to the wire is always hectic. It never changes, never does. We are going to make it. That, I have no doubt."

Ronnie Strompf (on Ryan Zimmerman's right in this photo with Matt Haas) says building New Nationals Park is a lot like giving birth to a 100 Ton Elephant. "The day that baby is born--will be one fine day in my life (laughing all the time)." Ronnie has always told me that come Opening Night he plans on sitting in a seat, drinking a cold beer while watching Our Washington Nationals play their very first game on South Capitol Street. A proud night he knows will be dear to his heart.

You can bet--Sohna and I will be enjoying Our New Seats as well in The Stars & Stripes Club.

The African Queen and I hope you enjoyed a more detailed tour of the ever evolving New Nationals Park. We tried to remember everything fans might be interested in seeing. Hopefully, our effort was not in vain.

PS--Since I know someone is going to ask this question. The Visitors Clubhouse is not as large as Our Washington Nationals Clubhouse and does not include as many amenities. The Umpires Room is actually on the third base side as well. We attempted to visit that part--but construction restraints would not allow. There is a tunnel that leads from The Nats Indoor Batting Cages to The Visitors Clubhouse. So, opponents can also swing away there.


An Briosca Mor said...

SBF, I believe your first photo showing the Capitol view was taken from very near where my seat will be in the Upper Infield Gallery. So thanks for that and for the rest of the Nationals Park virtual tour. I'm starting to get excited!

Also, belated thanks for the Hall of Fame virtual tour. I go up to the Catskills every summer for a week to attend a non-baseball event, and even though it is only about a 90-minute drive from where I am to Cooperstown, I have never made the trip. This year I will make it a priority to do that.

Edward J. Cunningham said...

Thanks again for the terrific job taking all these pictures! Can't wait for Opening Night!

Anonymous said...

SBF --

I'll be sitting in the upper infield gallery on the first base side, so I'm real excited about the shot with the view. Thanks for the tour -- so I can start to get excited.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the great photo tour.

>Now, there will be three ways to reach your seat--if you are located on any of the Upper Levels.

Are there any stairwells between the main, club, and gallery levels? I thought I saw stairs on one set of sketches on the outside wall near 3B.

I guess the CF restaurant must be the final "segment" of the design build. I'm sure it is coming along on schedule, but I'll feel like it is close to complete when the CF and batter's eye seats go in.

The CF entrance (and skeleton team store) still seem rough too, but I'm sure they'll be ready on time.

Regarding the planned retail on Potomac Avenue/1st Street, have they figured out what type of storefront it may be? Eatery (a al PNC Park on Federal Street just off the Clemente Bridge), extended team store locations, sports art, or something else?

Thanks for the great updates


Screech's Best Friend said...

Glenn: There are stairwells leading to every level--but most of those will be for emergency exits or staff use.

The Retail on Potomac Ave & 1st will not be occupied come Opening Night. The Construction Team is using most of that space as offices. There has been no word about what retailers are going to be there. There is space for quite a few. A Team Store is planned though.

An Briosca Mor said...

If it's true that they're not going to build that giant baseball thing on top of the CF restaurant, they really ought to take it out of the ballpark rendering they're using in ads like the half-page one in this morning's Post Sports section. Shouldn't be that hard to do, it's just a drawing, not a photo. Hell, they ought to replace it anyway with a photo of the almost-built stadium, like one of SBF's. I bet SBF would even let them use one of his photos for free, wouldn't you think?

Anonymous said...

Your posts and photos are so helpful and fun to read. How do you come by such great access? Having been just a recent reader of your posts I am living vicariously through them. But I don't know all the background. My question is do you have this access as a credentialed member of the media. If so where can I find your "real work" published vice this pretty cool hobby?

SenatorNat said...

This is shaping up as a park which has put A LOT of attention to detail, history, and blending classy, timeless features, with room to improvise and continue to add mementos and embellishments, both inside and outside, in the coming months and years.

SBF - is it decided that the round Baseball ornamental fixture will NOT sit atop the stadium restaurant? Or, is it to be built or placed there in the future?

Trust in the likeness of The Big Train. All good.

Screech's Best Friend said...

Apparently, the baseball on top of the centerfield restaurant is not in the current final design. That change was made some time ago.

The Washington Times reported the other day that updated computer graphics of New Nationals Park are in the works and will be unveiled soon.

Anonymous said...


One more question regarding info on Stars & Stripes Club food offerings. Did you get the feeling that only upscale fare would be offered in the Stars & Stripes club or will regular stadium fare be available there as well as more upscale offerings. In other words will I need to go down to the lower concourse to get a simple hot dog?

Screech's Best Friend said...

theduude: Regular Concessions are available on ALL LEVELS. So, you will not have to necessarily leave Club Level to get a hot dog. Premium Concessions may not be available in all areas. There are some exclusives, such as the Brick Oven Pizza which will be available in Stars & Stripes Club. But some of this higher end fare will be available throughout the upper and lower concourses in mobile carts--the centerfield restaurant and a few other places--at least that's my understanding.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the great pictures of the new National Stadium. We are in section 320 first row and I was slightly concerned about the railing. Your pictures have made me very happy and I am really looking forward to the new National's season and ballpark.

Do you know anything about parking at RFK and buses to the stadium. We are from Virginia and this seems like it might be the best parking solution for us.

Thanks again for the Blog and the pictures.

Screech's Best Friend said...

Big John--Sohna and I look forward to meeting you. It is our understanding that the shuttle is a go--but the route and timing of the shuttles from RFK to South Capitol Street has yet to be announced. DCSEC & The Nationals have agreed to seemingly everything that satisfies each other's wants & desires. Stadium Employees also will be using the shuttle--as well.

We live in Virginia also. Half the time at RFK--we always took Metro. We are going to experiment with various possibilities throughout this season. The Parking will evolve over time--we are playing it out.

Anonymous said...


Thanks for the Stars & Stripes concession info. We are in Sec 216 and look forward to meeting you and the African Queen this season.

wildbill34 said...

Great shots. Thanks! A Baltimore Sun scribe said "intimate but bland" after touring Nats Park. From the pictures it really does seem like its going to be a great place to watch a game. Much cozier than Camden Yars in terms of proximity to the field. I think the views away from the park, across the river and up South Cap will also be pretty cool. However, I’m disappointed by the prominence of the garages. As some of the pictures illustrate, they dominate the view from within the ballpark. Obviously, the warehouse at Camden Yards is truly unique and impossible to replicate. Same for Pittsburghs bridges and San Fransisico's Bay. But as it now stands, those retrograde garages are the signature structure framing the outfield. Perhaps some kind of art or signage (renditions of old commercial signage from Griffith Stadium? Or trained ivy in a sort of deconstructed wall) could cover the facades that face into the park, giving them some distinction. As it stands now, they are a monument to Atlana (Kasten) and the Lerners (suburban shopping malls)

Re: the exterior. Did they use marbleor precast concrete? Boz had implored the use of higher grade finishes paid for by the Lerners. Doesn't look they heeeded his call.