New Nationals Park
In today’s Nationals Journal, Washington Post beat writer Barry Svrluga finally got to show off some photos from his recent tour of Nationals Park under construction. Unfortunately, the Washington Post’s blogging function doesn’t give Barry flexibility to let you see much detail. I also wish Barry had gone into some more of the things that are designed to make Nationals Park unique.
I realized I needed to get off my butt and finally post some of the photos from my recent tour of the new Nationals Park. Yes, I had a private tour recently but have been too busy to add to the blog. Shame on me.
Nationals Park Scoreboard
Of course what everybody keeps asking about is the new Nationals Park scoreboard. Yes, it’s high-definition, and yes, it’s huge. At almost five stories high, it will be the biggest scoreboard in major league baseball.
Some have mistakenly suggested that it’s the biggest in all sports, but that honor goes to some of the newer football stadiums such as Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia. Still, on a square-inches-per-viewer basis I think the new Nationals Park scoreboard wins easily.
Nationals Clubhouse and Locker Room
The update that the players are most excited about in the new Nationals Park is their home clubhouse. The locker room is spacious, and is surrounded by state of the art facilities including oversized whirlpools and underwater treadmills.
Svrluga noted that the new locker room was football shaped. The shape is said to promote team chemistry, with everybody facing in and no corners. What Barry did not mention is that the visitors locker room is less spacious, with a traditional rectangle shape. Anything to get a competitive edge in a series!
Nationals Park Bullpen
A highlight for me was a visit to the new Nationals bullpen. The team chose to put it’s bullpen in right field, just far enough over to still see the new scoreboard.
Most importantly, Nationals Park has a tunnel that connects the bullpen to the home dugout, which is on the first base side. This will enable players and trainers to move between the dugout, the clubhouse, and the bullpen during games if needed. The visitors dugout in left field has no such access. As with older ball parks, the visitors bullpen pitchers will walk across the field to the bullpen before the game, where, except for a bullpen telephone, they will be isolated for the duration of the game.
It almost made me wish I’d requested seats in that outfield section along the bullpen wall. Is that Section 140? Some lucky fans on the ends of those aisles will be catching a few homers while chatting up the pitchers warming up in the bullpen. It’s a far cry from RFK Stadium, where the fans were so separated from the players out there.
Presidents Race Starting Gate?
My visit to the bullpen made me wonder where the racing presidents would enter for the presidents race at the new ball park. Assuming they will continue to race from right field towards home plate, the logic entrance would be from the Nationals bullpen. As you can see, it’s a long way to home plate from out there!
Enough for this morning. More photos to come soon.
Flickr photos by Scott Ableman
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