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Near Southeast DC Past News Items: Mar 31, 2008
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3 Blog Posts

I have to say that I didn't expect that the day after Opening Night would end up being so quiet around here. But, here's some stories worth mentioning:
* WTOP trumpets the crime wave around the ballpark that everyone feared--16 Arrested Near Nats Park Over the Weekend! Grab the children! Run for the hills! So, just what were the dastardly crimes committed by these ne'er-do-wells? "All the individuals arrested were charged with scalping tickets on the street." The article also says that more than 100 cars were towed from the surrounding neighborhood.
* WJLA recounts the stories of people not going to the ballpark whose cars were ticketed and towed. Here's the parking restrictions map, again. Tell your neighbors and friends.
* City Paper wishes everyone would stop calling it a $611 million stadium.
* Channel 9 recounts the story of a tourist forced by the Secret Service to delete photos taken of the security checkpoints at Opening Night. I wish they had tried that with me. The quote from the Secret Service is classic: "We have the authority to ask them to remove the picture from the camera." And, if standing on public property, we all have the authority to say "no." Don't forget it.
* Monday's Post talks to neighbors across South Capitol Street about how they feel the stadium is doing nothing for them. And the Kojo Nnamdi show on WAMU covers similar territory, about how the new ballpark may affect the concept of "community" both close by and farther away.
* Tuesday's Post says that the Nationals, DDOT, and Metro are pleased with how the weekend went in their realms, though they plan to spend this week until the next home game tweaking their plans. Hungry fans will be pleased to know that addressing the long lines at concessions is on the list: " 'Lines were a concern for us. They're not necessarily where we want them to be. We expect it to better by Monday,' team President Stan Kasten said. 'Once a problem happens, it doesn't happen again.' " On the other hand: "Combining [Sunday's sellout] with the newness of the ballpark, the lines for virtually everything from food to parking to Metro to the shuttles were probably the longest they will be." The article also says that 716 parking tickets were written over the weekend, though the $100 towing fee was waived "as a courtesy." The WashTimes also covers similar ground.
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* Metro says that just under 21,500 fans used the Navy Yard Metro station for Sunday night's opener at Nationals Park, following the 15,141 who did so for the Saturday exhibition. (I wonder how many used Capitol South, or got off at Union Station and took the N22.) WJLA and others say that the station was cleared within a half-hour of the game's end, which can be verified by looking at last night's shots from the 55 M construction web cam.
* Moving on to the next huge event, the WashTimes says that 45,000 bar-coded tickets to the April 17 mass by Pope Benedict have arrived, and should be going out to parishes next week. Scalpers will be condemned to eternal hellfire and damnation.
* There's a nice piece in the April Hill Rag (UPDATED: now online) about this here Obsessive Compulsive Time-Sucking Vortex. And there's also a shout-out in this Virginian-Pilot story on the ballpark.
* On the flip side, I can't help but cackle at what was written in an online column by the San Antonio Express-News [emphasis mine]: "If you're craving actual photos of [Nationals Park] -- including work-in-progress updates -- go to the ballpark homepage for the Near Southeast DC Redevelopment agency. Sure, these people have a vested interest, but they also have lots of photos, a construction webcam and a well-done Q-and-A section on the park." I'm an agency now? Usually I'm just a development company. But, a note for readers who don't realize it: I'm none of the above. (I don't work for the Nats, either.) I'm just me.

You may have heard that Washington DC christened a new baseball stadium on Sunday, one that appears to have been met with wide-eyed enthusiasm and appreciation by most of the 40,000 in attendance (although not by the Post architecture critic). And, after listening to months (if not years) of predictions of traffic meltdowns and catastrophes at the new site in "a formerly blighted part of the District," would you believe that car, rail, bus, and foot all seemed to work, so much so that newspaper columnists appear incredulous that fans weren't griping. The next test will be when crowds arrive for the first time at the end of rush hour, at a Monday night game on April 7.
I took some photos around the ballpark as I arrived and worked my way from top to bottom, but once I arrived at my seat far far away (you'll love the small red speck in one photo that is President Bush), I decided to put away my camera and heed a directive issued recently by a Mr. S. Kasten to "watch the damn game." So I fear I don't earn a passing grade for documenting this historic day on South Capitol Street, but after 4 1/2 years of detailing the birthing process in thousands of photographs and probably tens of thousands of words, I needed some time to take it all in and say "Whoa."
And then they won the damn game, on a walk-off homer by Ryan Zimmerman. That's how you christen a ballpark.
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