Game #1 and Nationals Park Review
Opening Day for the 2022 MLB Season. Mother Nature had other plans for Opening Day. The Nationals game was originally planned for a 4:05pm start time but the day before the game was moved back to 7:05pm due to the rain that was expected during the original start time. The game actually started at 8:21pm due to the rain that lasted longer than expected.
We traveled to the game by way the Metro system. We started at the Greenbelt Metro Station on the Green line and since the stadium is at the Navy Yard on the Green line we didn't have to change trains. Got there pretty quickly as we wanted to be there when the gets opened at 5:30pm. Once arriving at the Navy Yard Station, we see that 1 of the 3 escalators is not in operation as it is being replaced. Did Metro not realize when opening day was??? This stadium is service mainly by the Metro system, due to limited parking near the stadium, and you would think that they would have everything in operation for these upcoming events.
Once we exited the station, it's just a short few minute walk to the Centerfield Entrance.
Easy in to the park....but make sure that you check the teams websites to see what you can and cannot take it. Backpacks are no longer allowed (we did not have one) at any stadium. We immediately went to the Budweiser Brew House and got a table outside under an overhang (to keep dry as it was raining). No waitresses here, as it is all mobile ordering through a QR code or the Ballpark App. Food service was a little slow in delivering the food...we were one of the first people to sit an order. The food was what was expected and the portion sizes were good. There are QR codes at your seats also for mobile ordering but you can only do a pick up from a specific location. I guess that beats standing in line but not everything that is available at the Park is on the mobile ordering app.
If you want the best of the food and you are sitting in section 200 or above, you need to get your food from the main concourse. Now there are some good selections on level 200 also but all the best on the main level. Once you reach level 300 and 400 forget it. You just have all the basics there. Once you are up there, who wants to trek down to the main level and get food and then go back up (Probably missed 2 innings if you do). From the map on the Ballpark App there are 39 food locations on the Main level, 20 on the 200's level (mostly in the right field area), and only 15 on the 300-400's level (not all of them open, so lets say 9). We sat in section 309 and they were really good seats behind the 3rd base dugout but up high. The 300 level just had the basics but ran out of salted soft pretzels in the 4th inning and no popcorn or ice cream. How can this be on the first game of the year?
Everything in the stadium is cashless. All the food stands and merchandise stores only except cards or you can load money on to the BallPark App and that is excepted too. The main merchandise store was a mad house when we went in to check it out. Could of been just opening day but the line to check out was wrapped around 2x in the store. We left after about 5 minutes (if that) of being in there and unable to really get around to look.
The seats we had were very good and it seems like all the seats are good at Nationals Park. The seats in the outfield were you are sitting under the upper deck may cause you to not see the ball in the air once it reaches a certain point. I guess there is no way for every person to see every part of the field.
The game was good if you were a Mets fan. They ended up beating the Nationals 5-1. The Nationals did not have much of an offense. Soto did hit a towering homer to right center into the outfield upper deck to cut the Mets lead to 4-1 but the Mets got another run the next inning to get to 5-1 which they held on to finish the game. We were unable to stay for the 9th inning if we wanted to get home that evening (more to come on that). After the first game, and the few games since then, the Nationals are not looking like a contender this year. The core of their lineup (Soto, Cruz, Bell, Ruiz) are going to have to put of big numbers for them to be a contender, but the remainder of the team just doesn't look like they can compete. These other 5 positions are going to be a revolving door of players this year trying to find someone that can play. Robles has been a work in progress for years now and is still not improving, maybe regressing even more than he has in the last 3 years. Time to move on from him, just like Michael A. Taylor.
If the game runs long, a late start for National TV, or runs into extra innings....be prepared to leave early if you took the Metro to the game. Metro closes at 12a Sun - Thur and 1am Fri - Sat. In the top of the 9th a reminder was posted on the score board reminding the Metro customers about the last train that leaves the Navy Yard. So in the top of the 9th inning the Metro riders (us included) were leaving the game to ensure we made it home that night. Metro will not stay open to accommodate the Guests at the stadium. The Nationals will not pay Metro to stay open until the end of the game. During the playoffs when the game times are 8pm, local businesses have funded the Metro to stay open late for the Guests at the stadium.
How would I rate the stadium? Probably a C+. The stadium is very good looking, great views from the seats, food was good except if you wanted something on the 300 level, and had to leave early because of the Metro situation.