Since January, 2003
            
 Sliding from Before to After

The media hordes were taken on the now-annual tour of Nats Park today to get a peek at the various changes, updates, and additions that the team has put in place for the 2016 season, which gets underway officially with the home opener on Thursday, April 7, but also with exhibition games this Friday and Saturday against the Minnesota Twins.
I of course put together a (long!) photo gallery with shots from the tour, from the new Budweiser Terrace to the completely overhauled PNC Diamond Club to the expanded Shake Shack to the new food offerings.
But, while you really should look at the gallery, I'll hit a few high points here.
* Mike Isabella of Top Chef will now have two new offerings, Kapnos at the Park and Catchfly, with Greek dishes and southern food respectively.
* Shake Shack is expanding into the old El Verano Taqueria window, with Verano shifting to a cart.
* The Virginia Biscuit Company is getting a second outlet, up on the Gallery level at Section 315.
* Delta is now the team's official carrier, and so the President's Club area is now the Delta Sky 360 Club.
* The team will be offering limited packages to celebrate kids' birthdays at the park on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays, with pizza and cupcakes and tickets to the game.
* The Nats will now be running the Team Stores, which they say will result in "better prices, broader selection and 'exclusive styles.'"
* With Budweiser now taking over as Official Beer, the basic brew offerings will be Bud, Bud Light, Goose Island, Shock Top, Stella Artois, and Blue Point Toasted Lager. The old Scoreboard Walk will now be the Budweiser Terrace, and the Red Porch and Red Loft will be the Budweiser Brew House and Bud Light Loft. There will also be a "LIme-a-Rita Lookout" up on the gallery level.
* The PNC Diamond Club has been given a big overhaul, with a new mezzanine level that has its own seating and bar, plus much more seating and bar space on the first floor.
* Metal detectors will now be at all entrances.
* The only smoking pen will now be outside the First Base Gate, and it will require receiving a wrist band and coming back through the metal detectors once you've finished puffing.
There was a lot more than that, but I think those are the high points. And now to give you a few more photos while still telling you to go look at the whole gallery, which also includes plenty of additional information in the captions.
Coming later this week, a guide for What's New Outside the Ballpark, for those who haven't been back to visit since last season.
Comments (12)
   
 
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Andrew in DC says: (3/29/16 9:24 PM)
Did they move the statues again? Will poor ol' Walter ever get a forever home?


fgmtheatre says: (3/29/16 9:48 PM)
Just wanted to correct your caption to the shake shack photo: "now be an e-cash line at Shake Shack for Nats Plus members" The E-cash lines at all stands at the ballpark are for all season ticket holders w/ season ticket holder cards, not just for Nats plus members only.


RMP says: (3/30/16 8:08 AM)
Great pics! Rumor is that they are actually lowering prices on happy hour at the scoreboard walk back to $5. Any mention of that? I'm naturally suspicious because I don't think prices have ever been lowered in Nats history.


JD says: (3/30/16 9:28 AM)
@RMP, I think they are lowered to $5, yes, but it sounds like the catch is that the price is now only in effect until 30 minutes prior to 1st pitch, instead of right up to 1st pitch.

Also, I failed in not mentioning that Hard Times is not back for 2016.

The Post as more on the beer and food offerings, with details I didn't include:
link

Oh, and @fgm, sorry about the wording, though it was pretty much just copied from the info sheet the Nats gave out. :)


conngs0 says: (3/30/16 10:20 AM)
Now that the Florida Rock beer garden seems to have been effectively staved off, Nats Park has a little less incentive to lower the prices for their happy hour scoreboard walk beer. Frankly, I'm fine with the prices they have, but they have to do a better job of serving it quickly. The "bartenders" there aren't quite up to speed.


Jaybird says: (3/30/16 12:38 PM)
Did the Nats ever explain what that April 1 exhibition game was about? Don't season ticket holders already have a ticket to that game?


JD says: (3/30/16 12:41 PM)
@Jay:

"In preparation for the 2016 home opener at Nationals Park on April 7, the Nationals will host two exhibition games against the Minnesota Twins on Friday, April 1 and Saturday, April 2.
"
The first exhibition game will start at 6:05 p.m. on Friday. For this special game, seating will be limited to the lower bowl of Nationals Park. The Nationals distributed complimentary tickets to all Season Plan Holders and select members of the community, including youth baseball organizations, local charities and civic groups.

"Others fans are invited to attend the game by making a $10 donation to the Nationals Dream Foundation at the Nationals Box Office on the day of the game, beginning at 10 a.m. Tickets will be available while supplies last. All gates will open for Friday night's game at 4:30 p.m."

link


JES says: (3/30/16 2:02 PM)
JD, regarding Center Field Social, is that only going to be private rental space? Or is there a bar space in there that'll be open on gameday?


JD says: (3/30/16 2:03 PM)
@JES, Center Field Social is a private rental space. No bar.


MJM says: (3/30/16 3:40 PM)
@JD lets have the next HH there!!.....


Jaybird says: (3/31/16 8:48 AM)
Thanks JD. I hope fans are not turned away when they get there and find out tickets sold out (if that it is the case), because it's lower bowl only. I know it's for charity and a soft opening for employees, but still seems very odd on a big league level. It's not like the first year at RFK or even first year at Nats Park.

But hope it works out ok!


JES says: (4/1/16 10:28 AM)
The FAQ page on the nats site about tonight said you can purchase tickets at the gate for a 10 dollar donation to the nats dream foundation

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