The first home Nats game of 2009--Saturday evening's exhibition against the Orioles (which the Nats won, 5-4)--brought the following items big and small worth mentioning:
* The Nats announced their "Public High School Initiative
," which has two parts: all 12 District high school baseball teams have been invited to have one two-hour practice at Nationals Park, either on the field or at the indoor batting cages. Plus, all DC public high schools have been invited to pick a home game that will be "their" night at the stadium, with game tickets donated for every student at the school and a pre-game school recognition ceremony.
* The "NatsTown
" marketing campaign is in full swing--the neighborhood may be getting another name to add to its lengthy list. (This probably means my decision to rebrand it as Near Capitol Ballpark River Yards
probably isn't going to catch on.)
* Folks worried about whether all the work along Half Street would be done by Opening Day didn't need to worry--it was open in time for the season ticket holders' event in early afternoon.
* As someone who hates trying to eat in the bleachers, I was glad to see new narrow stainless steel counters on the main concourse behind sections 137, 136, and 135 in right field (there may be others, these are just the ones I saw). So you can stand at the top of the section, eat, watch the game, then go back to your seat, which will proably also make the people sitting near you happy, too.
* 100 M
(at First and M) is offering gameday parking in their garage (not part of the Nationals' official network of lots), priced at $25 a game. The no-longer-official lots at the Yards (last years' E, Y, and Z) lots were also available as cash lots, along with the surface lot at 250 M
. I didn't see if 80 M is doing it again, or if 1100 New Jersey (former lot R) is going the cash lot route after not renewing as an official Nats lot this year.
* Akridge has finally covered over the Monument Half Street signage on the west side of Half Street at N
, surrounding the lot that Akridge bought from Monument last August.
* I thought I lived pretty close to the ballpark until I started talking with a guy after the game as we were crossing M Street heading up First, and within seconds he walked into the Onyx
lobby and arrived home.
* I took no pictures. I recognize that this means my JDLand salary will be cut by an appropriate amount. (Sometimes you just want to enjoy a ballgame.)