If you read nothing else, read the following summation of my impressions of Nationals Park:
It is a minor league ballpark for a major league team.
You know if you go to KeySpan or Lakewood Blue Claws or even Trenton Thunder, there is a lot of kids-interactive stuff, distracting stuff for adults (like ginormous frozen margaritas) and slightly better food than the old Shea Stadium, but...not really. The Nationals are truly a team with no identity. We may joke about the lack of Mets history in a Mets ballpark but make no mistake - all references in this place is clearly a hand job to the powers that be in Major League Baseball. Seriously, what does Sandy Koufax have to do with the Washington Nationals?
But there was a minor league feel to the stadium, I just can't pinpoint. It's nice but meh. Very generica.
I liked the stadium - it's nice and new but there are definitely different things I would do for my next trip (like not use the ketchup dispensers which had explosive diarrhea all over my clothes and Zoe's bag), which to tell you the truth, may not be for another few years. It depends upon the Mets schedule and how it plays out - there are many other stadiums I have not been to that I would rather visit in the future - but mostly, it's by personal choice.
I am probably the single WORST person to ask about D.C. because every time I have ever been there in my life it's been a complete clusterbomb, just stuff that happens beyond my control that probably have absolutely NOTHING to do with the town itself...But of course I have a terrible vibe when I go there, so I was hoping to change that this trip. All in all, I was with good company but the stadium was just a'ight. (I'll post pics later.)
But here are some tips for next time around.
~ I bought my tickets WAY in advance because myself and some other fans wanted to all sit together. We snuck down to a lower level and let me tell ya...the guards there are not assertive AT ALL. It's one thing if you have one or two people sneak in with an unsuspecting Mom or Dad. We had about TEN people just take over, in our Mets gear - clearly we were not meant to be in those seats. I wouldn't suggest buying the worst seats in the house, but I also wouldn't fret about getting game day tickets once you get down there. Probably save a boat load of money on not-so-convenient convenience charges from Ticketmaster.
~ The Metro is the worst transportation system in the history of transportation systems, worse than the BART or MUNI in San Francisco (which I thought took the prize till I visited the Nation's Capitol). I will never ever EVER complain about the MTA again. After this weekend, I no longer care that the C train never runs on the weekends when it's supposed to and that the D train should be a local train instead of express on the weekends. Whatever. All I can say is for a city that is SO prepared for terrorist attacks, fingers-on-the-button action plans, secret service agents knowin when President is scheduled to take a dump -- not to mention they are supposed to be at the forefront of the green movement, this town is WICKED unprepared for fans who wish to, you know, BE GREEN and run extra trains on game night. I may beb bothered about the MTA not running express trains prior to the Mets weekend games, but even before they started running express trains on ANY game night, they always had extra trains. Boom. The platforms in DC are just jammed with people and forget about ever timing your trains perfectly that you can just hop off one then onto another. Yes, I know I'm spoiled with our train system here. But I need efficiency. Deal with it.
~ That said, the train would not have been so bad if we stayed somewhere on the Green Line, which runs directly to the park, on the Navy Yards Station. For the love of all that is good and holy, do not attempt to board when you walk out of the CF gate. Walk a block down to NJ Ave (Jersey represents!), and get in there. There has to be less of an idiot merge there. Zoe and I stayed someplace nice by Dupont Circle, off Embassy Row. It was a gorgeous area. But I would not stay there again unless I was NOT planning to attend a game.
~ If you have a car, drive and/or if you have a license but no car, definitely rent a car when you are there. Zoe and I were stressing out about how to get back to our hotel after the game AND still have time to make our bus. We could have taken a cab but outside of NYC cabs are truly not a way of life and way overpriced than they should be.
~ Kill yourself before ever taking the Boltbus to DC. For a four hour ride, the seats were uncomfortable and my ass fell asleep. Oh yeah and...what else. Oh - their drivers are insane. I swear I thought we were going to crash the entire time. For one, I think our driver was drunk or was drinking vodka out of his coffee cup. At the very least was on hallucinogenic drugs. Not to mention his tailgating, paying attention to everything else BUT the road in front of him, passing 18-wheelers on the right, switching lanes like a mad man. We made it home but not without my life flashing in front of my eyes every six seconds. Take Megabus or splurge for the Amtrak (not cheap!). Trust me, I even entertained booking a JetBlue flight for $99 or whatever.
I don't want to make it sound like I was ungrateful. I had some great company, with the Usual Suspects like Zoe, CoreyNYC and his gal, Dykstraw and his lady, CrazyMetGirl and her son and even a visit from Chicago Met Fan herself!! You look at our photos and it's a group of friends having a good time at the ballpark. And I'm not sorry I went.
But don't ask me what I thought of DC. You will not get an unbiased opinion from me.
Again pics will come later.