Wednesday, April 02, 2008


With the open sightlines of New Nationals Park--should Our Washington Nationals restrict the movement of patrons walking down from the concourses--while the game is being played? This consistent back and forth traffic can take away from the enjoyment of the game at hand. Bobbing and straining one's head--to see around someone standing--can be annoying.

Sohna and I noticed this very scene playing out on Opening Night at New Nationals Park. Some of our friends mentioned this issue also. In the lower bowl, we could plainly see many folks wandering down from the main concourse--standing, sometimes chatting--oblivious to the baseball game at hand. Sure, it was Opening Night and many in attendance are not ardent baseball fans, but that doesn't mean they shouldn't be courteous to others.

If I recall correctly--there was talk by Our Washington Nationals to restrict customers from walking down to their seats while the ball is in play. The African Queen and I have experienced this rule at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia and Petco Park in San Diego. I believe Chase Field in Phoenix started the custom. In each case--The Usher at the top of each aisle either places a temporary chain across the passage or has a sign asking everyone to please wait.

Our Washington Nationals should follow suit. Unless there is an emergency--these is no reason to not hold folks at the top of the concourses. Those looking to return to their seats are not missing any of game--by waiting--briefly. The Game can be seen directly in front of them. No reason to hinder the enjoyment of watching the ball game for those seated. Vendors hawking their wares already obscure enough of the sightlines.

New Nationals Park offers excellent views throughout the stadium. Why not take advantage and allow everyone to enjoy the game--by limiting downward movement in the aisles--with the ball in play.

What do you think?


Anonymous said...

SBF, I saw this rule being enforced (though not consistently) at the aisle entrance to sections 127/128.

The usher was asking people to stop when a batter was in the box, however it was just one usher and there was a lot of traffic, so every time his head was turned, somebody flew by.

Over in section 110, where I spent much of the game, I did not observe this being enforced, though admittedly I was not standing around much over there and was more likely to have been one of the rushers-by.

Sam R said...


I seem to recall them doing this in Balmer but I could be wrong it has been a while since I've made the long journey up there. I do wish they wouldn't. Fortunately the aisle is on my right and the view to the plate from 216 isn't blocked when folks head down but if the ball is put in play down the 1B line you know I'm leaning around vendors/fans/etc heading down the steps.

Sam R said...

I mean I do wish they wouldn't travel down the aisle when the ball is in play.

Anonymous said...

I'd be happy if the ushers actually checked tickets. I'm in section 105 in the 4th row, and the seat squatters were ridiculous. Why aren't they checking tickets?

Anonymous said...

Amen to that. The Nats also need to train the beer vendors to be a little more considerate. In our section, they were the worst culprits in blocking the view.

WFY said...

SBF: I am all for this rule.

Paul: They checked my tickets in 203.

Anon: Robovendor was particulary bad about this at RFK.

An Briosca Mor said...

I would be all in favor of having that usher who does his dance on top of the dugout while leading the crowd in Sweet Caroline instead spend his time leading the ushering crew in doing their job of keeping people out of the aisles while the ball is in play. Assuming that without his dancing there'd be no need to play Sweet Caroline, that would solve two annoying problems in one fell swoop, improving my gameday experience enormously. Are you listening, Stan?

Unknown said...

I know they changed the views from the concession stand for the new stadium but opening night I couldn't see any of the game(and missed Chippers Homerun) while waiting for some food. Why couldn't they put a small flat screen in the corner so we could watch the game from the line without missing anything. Also couldn't they hook up the radio broadcast in the bathrooms so we can at least hear whats happening.

SenatorNat said...

Of all the great features and suggestions you make daily, this one may be among your most salient.

Our tickets at the far right hand side of Section 113: vision constantly blocked by traffic back and forth and vendors during the action, and no usher regulation of same.

The hand-railings down the center of all the aisles is a big part of the logjamming, too, I suspect - good for safety, but obstructs traffic flow. And, I suspect that the aisles are a trifle smaller than at RFK, to boot.

Trust in a process which can help curb the steady back and forth during play. All Good.

Anonymous said...

Supervisors have asked ushers to begin to get fans used to not going down while a batter is batting. It's a gradual process to teach fans not wander past the ushers and to follow the procedure, but I believe it will be actively enforced shortly. (With the public's co-operation.)

Anonymous said...

Nothing to do with ushers, but it's still on topic:

The last couple of seats in the top couple of rows of section 222U, get this, can't see home plate. That's a pretty obstructed view if you ask me

Jim H said...

Can I enforce a "pay attention to the game and stop turning completely in your seats to talk to one another during the ENTIRE game while getting progressively louder while drinking more and more while sitting RIGHT IN FRONT OF ME" rule? That would be cool.

Oh. Yeah. I'm all in favor of monitoring traffic in the aisles, too.

Anonymous said...

This is Jake (I met you guys on opening night)
I also find it very annoying to look around fans when trying to watch the game but I think it is harder in baseball to avoid that because the time between pitches is short. For example in football and basketball when a whistle is blown there is more time to get to your seat before the next play begins whereas in baseball if you leave to your seat in between pitches you may be walking right in front of someone when the next pitch Ryan Zimmerman smashes a HR. So, I do find it annoying but I also find it to not do quite so much when it enforced. What it comes down to is fans knowing how to be polite and smart about the game so they know when to not block the game(sadly with so many non baseball fans attending games it does not seem likely).


An Briosca Mor said...

Really, the ushers should be keeping people from walking down the aisles until the break between innings. With the open concourses, they can still see the game while waiting for the third out. Of course, If there is a pitching change people could be let down then too. Between innings and pitching changes are the only breaks long enough for people to get down the aisles and across the rows into their seats without obstructing anyone's view of the game.

Anonymous said...

Fantastic idea!

Anonymous said...

i was having almost as much trouble with beer vendors blocking my view as i was with the constant up/down/up/down for people getting in and out of their seats (and there may be a relationship between the two). some of the vendors were more courteous and squatted down while the game was going on, but there were a few who were just a plain pain in the butt about it. including the one during the ceremony who wanted to camp on the steps directly between me and the diamond. while i was trying to take pictures. needless to say i wouldn't buy anything from him.

JD said...

The ushers should be tasked with minimizing back and forth as well as loitering during play.

If there is a stoppage, then let folks get to their seats, but quickly. My guess is opening day will be the worst when it comes to this.

Have some respect for your other fans.

Don't walk up and down the aisles during play.

Don't blather on and on loudly during the game.

Keep cell phone usage to a minimum in the bowl. There is a cool new feature called *vibrate*. Learn it, live it, love it.

Kneel/bend down if you happen to be unable to get to your seat when the ball it pitched. Invariably you are blocking someone's view.

Keep trips to the restroom or to get food to a minimum. No one likes having to get up and down repeatedly.

Tell the beer guy how much to keep as a tip or better yet, give them enough (INCLUDING tip) so no change is necessary. I don't mind one pass of the cash and a pass back of the beer & your change, but more than that is pushing it buddy. Be prepared to lose some $ (or a beer) next time you pull that.

Constantly yelling "Good eye", "Come on blue" or arguing balls and strikes from your seat is well, just really dumb.

Wave = gay.

"Oh!" = gayer.

Babies belong with a baby sitter.

If your kid kicks my seat one more time there is a fairly good chance you'll loose that exemption for future tax years.

Trust me, you don’t know as much about baseball as you think. Shut your pie hole and watch. All you are doing is giving your wife bad information anyway.

Teach your kid how to keep score. At a minimum they'll learn about 2 new things, pencils and paper.

If you are over 15 keep the glove at home. A little known secret: All drivers licenses actually come with a provision banning you from bringing it to any game.

Peanut shells go on the floor not back in the bag.

Putting ketchup on a hot dog is sacrilegious.

The perfect order: Dog and a beer.

Foam fingers…seriously? I mean, come on.

WFY said...

Wow, all of those years blogging the ballpark seem to have taken their toll on JD.


Anonymous said...

Instituting a "ballpark etiquette" rule regulating traffic in the aisles at Nationals Park is an absolute NECESSITY! We were compelled to negotiate a change of seat location for our half-year plan because of the virtual impossibility of actually watching the game from the seats to which we were assigned -- in Section 136 in the right-field corner -- because of a nearly constant flow of people going up and down the aisle.

The young guy who ushers that section not only doesn't try to regulate traffic but abets it -- no compunction about showing late-comers, including large groups, to their seats while an inning is in progress, regardless of the game situation.

The problem is exacerbated by the fact that there are too many vendors working the aisles, at least in that part of the ballpark. There have been times when there have been three or four beer vendors alone in the aisles of this section.

I can honestly say that during the Mets game on the 24th, which drew a big crowd, there was not one 30-second period during the entire game in which my view was not blocked by people wandering (often langorously) in the aisles.

I've got a big picture comment to make about all this too. I know I'm a bigger fanatic about the game than most people (I actually still keep score!). But it just seems that fewer and fewer people who go to the ballpark are actually there to see the game and know or care what's happening on the field. It's getting to the point where the teams need to create a few sections in the stadium with great sightlines in which the real fans can congregate, and leave the rest of the stadium (especially those sections with the traffic-obstructed sightlines) to those folks who seem to view that expensive ticket as nothing more than the admission fee for an even more expensive picnic.


Sam R said...

BB, While I decry fans tromping down the aisles and holding reunions standing up during play I will never chastise beer vendors for hawking their wares. I remember the early days in RFK sect 205 I couldn't find a vendor with binoculars..No sir never impeded the commerce of beer, "Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy" -Ben Franklin. I say you'll never have everything perfect, making fans aware and ensure ushers enforce courtesy rules will reduce enough of the blockages as to make Beer vendors seem like an afterthought. Cheers, Sam

Anonymous said...

Beer vendors are the worst! Especially the ones that put there case on their heads!

The best game of the year for me so far was the 12 inning game that was only 3 hours long (April 30th). Since last call is in the 7th - I got to see 4 1/2 innings w/o the stupid vendors blocking my view.