Ballpark Bus to Nationals Park gains momentum with first five area locations

Ballpark Bus to Nationals Park appears to be here to stay.

Ballpark Bus to Nationals Park - LogoSince we first wrote about the venture, which aims to give suburban Nats fans a new transportation alternative, the fledgling company has established pricing, lined up its first five official Ballpark Bus Stations, and begun taking reservations at www.BallparkBus.com with ticket prices as low as $15/game.

“The response we’ve received from Nats fans has been excellent,” said co-founder Brian Bowman. “As baseball season creeps closer and closer, we expect our reach to expand exponentially.”

BallPark Bus to Nationals Park - Official Station

Participating restaurants are pitching in to market the service in the hopes of becoming suburban hubs for Nationals fans

Initial demand was strongest in suburban Virginia, where all five of the first Ballpark Bus Stations are located. They include Clyde’s restaurant in Ashburn, The Greene Turtle in Ballston, Velocity Five in Centreville, Glory Days Grill in Reston/Herndon, and The Greene Turtle in Sterling.

“A lot of folks in Maryland are asking when they’re getting a station, particularly along I-270,” added Bowman. “They can rest assured that we are looking at several potential locations.”

How it works

The Ballpark Bus system is modeled after regional bus models, where discounts are provided for booking early and routes are added based on meeting a minimum level of demand.

Reservations for each series will open three weeks prior to the first game, and those booking in the first three days of availability get a discounted price. Riders can sign up for email alerts to get notified when discount tickets go on sale for future series.

What if they don’t hit the minimum number of riders? Bowman says if they are unable to reach the minimum, they will notify all reservations via e-mail “several days before your game.” No payments are processed until the bus is confirmed. When a bus is confirmed, tickets are sent via email and remaining seats are sold up until game day.

Bowman says participating restaurants are playing a big part in getting the word out, as they try to establish themselves as suburban hubs for Nationals fans. At least one, the Greene Turtle in Sterling, is offering 20% off food purchases when you show your Ballpark Bus ticket.

Expect the Ballpark Bus team to try to inject a little fun for riders as well, such as a free Ryan Zimmerman autographed baseball for one lucky rider to the Nats home opener. “We’ll be doing fun stuff like that all year,” says Bowman, “Guess how many strikeouts Strasburg will have on the way to the game, and we’ll reward gift cards and other prizes to the winners on the way back home.”

Full Nationals Promotion/Giveaway Schedule for 2012

Here it is — the full Washington Nationals promotion/giveaway schedule for the 2012 season at Nationals Park.

There are a several additions to the preliminary schedule we previously shared. Notably, the very popular Pups in the Park promotion, in which a section is reserved for canine guests, returns to Nationals Park for four dates in April, June, July, and September. Only the previously announced luggage tag giveaway has disappeared.

The 2012 promotion schedule includes three Saturday post-game concerts (bands all to be announced), and bobblehead nights for Michael Morse, Stephen Strasburg, and Ryan Zimmerman. Fan Appreciation Day has been redubbed “Fantastic FANale.” The only announced Fireworks for the season are on Tuesday, July 3rd.

The Nationals clearly don’t anticipate the need to promote their three series vs. the Phillies, or their interleague series vs. the Yankees and Rays. Those fifteen games are notable for their absence of giveaways.

2012 Washington Nationals Promotional/Giveaway Schedule

Tue 4/3 3:05 BOS Exhibition Game
Schedule Magnet (1st 20,000 fans)
Thu 4/12 1:05 CIN Opening Day Cap (1st 20,000 fans)
Fri 4/13 7:05 CIN T-Shirt (1st 15,000 fans)
Sat 4/14 4:05 CIN Stephen Strasburg Bobblehead (1st 15,000 fans)
Sun 4/15 1:35 CIN Jackie Robinson Day
Signature Sunday
Kids Run the Bases
Sat 4/21 1:05 FLA Pups in the Park
Sun 4/22 1:35 FLA Ryan Zimmerman Kids Jersey (1st 100,000 fans 12 & under)
Screech’s Birthday
Signature Sunday
Kids Run the Bases
Thu 5/3 7:05 ARI Drawstring Backpack (1st 20,000 fans)
Wed 5/16 7:05 PIT Military Appreciation Night
Thu 5/17 7:05 PIT Ladies Night
Sat 5/19 7:15 BAL Nationals Script Cap (1st 30,000 fans)
Sun 5/20 1:35 BAL Kids T-Shirt (1st 10,000 fans 12 & under)
Signature Sundays
Kids Run the Bases
Sat 6/2 4:05 ATL Pups in the Park
Post-game Concert: Dierks Bentley
Sun 6/3 1:35 ATL Signature Sundays
Kids Run the Bases
Sun 6/17 1:35 NYY Signature Sundays
Kids Run the Bases
Thu 6/21 7:05 TPA Black Heritage Night
Tue 7/3 6:35 SFO Post-game Fireworks
Thu 7/5 7:05 SFO Replica Truck (1st 15,000 fans)
Sat 7/7 4:05 COL Pups in the Park
Sun 7/8 1:35 COL Signature Sundays
Kids Run the Bases
Fri 7/20 7:05 ATL Beer Stein (1st 10,000 fans 21 & older)
Sat 7/21 7:05 ATL Post-game Concert: The Wallflowers
Sun 7/22 1:35 ATL Kids T-Shirt (1st 10,000 fans 12 & under)
Signature Sundays
Kids Run the Bases
Sat 8/4 7:05 FLA T-Shirt (1st 20,000 fans)
Sun 8/5 1:35 FLA Michael Morse Bobblehead (1st 15,000 fans)
Signature Sundays
Kids Run the Bases
Fri 8/17 7:05 NYM Retro Cap (first 10,000 fans)
Sat 8/18 7:05 NYM Post-Game Concert: Third Eye Blind
Sun 8/19 1:35 NYM Signature Sundays
Kids Run the Bases
Sat 9/1 7:05 STL On-Field Team Photo Day
Sun 9/2 1:35 STL Kids Run the Show
Signature Sundays
Kids Run the Bases
Sat 9/8 1:05 FLA Ryan Zimmerman Bobblehead (1st 15,000 fans)
Sun 9/9 1:35 FLA Signature Sundays
Kids Run the Bases
Thu 9/20 7:05 LAD Hispanic Heritage Night
Sat 9/22 1:05 MIL Team Poster (1st 20,000 fans)
Pups in the Park
Sun 9/23 1:35 MIL Signature Sundays
Kids Run the Bases
Wed 10/3 1:05 PHI Fantastic FANale

Open auditions to sing the national anthem at Nationals Park

DSC_5017The Washington Nationals have announced that they will hold their 5th annual national anthem auditions at Nationals Park on Saturday, March 10th.

The first 90 people to submit an application will be invited to the auditions, which are closed to the public. To be selected, send an email with your resume and a head shot (recent photo) to anthem@nationals.com.

Note that the team is not looking for originality. Auditions must be “in the traditional style,” and no more than 90 seconds in length. Groups and instrumentalists are invited to audition, but singers must perform a capella.

The Nationals will also hold tryouts for prospective ballgirls this month. If you are at least 18, athletic, energetic, and able to track foul balls without interfering with the play, you can submit a resume, cover letter and recent headshot to entertainment@nationals.com by February 21. Tryouts will be at Nationals Park on Saturday, Feb. 25.

Photo by Flickr user Adam Fagen

Nationals Promotion/Giveaway Schedule for 2012

The Washington Nationals have released details of the 2012 game day promotion/giveaway schedule, including three bobblehead nights and three Saturday night post-game concerts, which were clearly added based on the success of last September’s post-game concert by Lifehouse.

Highlights this season include bobblehead nights for Michael Morse, Stephen Strasburg, and Ryan Zimmerman. The “fan’s choice” bobblehead has apparently been retired. Additional giveaways will include an opening day cap, a replica truck, a beer stein, and several additional shirts and caps.

The promo items were revealed as part of the team’s merchandising for the new 5 Game Flex Plans. The full promotional schedule, including events and celebrations such as Friday Night Fireworks, Pups in the Park, and Ladies Night will be released later this month. We’ll share those as soon as they are available

2012 Washington Nationals Promotional/Giveaway Schedule

Preliminary – Additional dates to be added soon

Tue 4/3 Schedule Magnet
Thu 4/12 Opening Day Cap
Fri 4/13 T-Shirt
Sat 4/14 Stephen Strasburg Bobblehead
Sun 4/22 Kids Jersey
Thu 5/3 Drawstring Backpack
Sat 5/19 Nationals Script Cap
Sun 5/20 Kids T-Shirt
Sat 6/2 Post-game Concert
Thu 7/5 Replica Truck
Fri 7/6 Luggage Tag
Fri 7/20 Stein
Sat 7/21 Post-game Concert
Sun 7/22 Kids T-Shirt
Sat 8/4 T-Shirt
Sun 8/5 Michael Morse Bobblehead
Fri 8/17 Retro Cap
Sat 8/18 Post-Game Concert
Sat 9/8 Ryan Zimmerman Bobblehead
Sat 9/22 Team Poster


Thanks CurlyDubs

Nat Pack and Racing President Auditions

Nat Pack AuditionsThe Washington Nationals are looking for outgoing and energetic athletes, gymnasts, dancers, cheerleaders, promotional models and “overall outstanding personalities” to join the on-field entertainment team this season at Nationals Park.

Tryouts to join the Nat Pack, the team’s “fan ambassadors” who lead cheers and take part in fan promotions throughout the season, will be held
Nat Pack AuditionsJanuary 28-29 at Nationals Park, and applications are due by next Monday, January 23. Candidates are asked to send their photo, resume, and cover letter to entertainment@nationals.com. Details here.

In keeping with tradition, we expect the all-important 2012 presidents race auditions to occur at Nationals Park on February 18, but according to the team, this year’s dates have not been finalized. Presidents race tryouts traditionally occur on Presidents Day weekend, with applications due a week prior.

Stay tuned. The Nats have promised details on this as well as the national anthem tryouts soon.

Ballpark Bus to Nationals Park gives suburban Nats fans a new transportation alternative

Ballpark Bus to Nationals Park - LogoBrian Bowman was a Nationals fan with a problem.

A Nats fan “since the beginning,” Bowman, 33, never bought season tickets because his family lives in Ashburn, Virginia, and could only take so many taxing rush hour drives through suburban traffic to reach Nationals Park. “I’m not near the Metro,” Bowman says, “and the drive can be hard.”

This season, he’s teaming with two friends to do something about it.

The three Virginia natives have joined to launch Ballpark Bus to Nationals Park, a service that shuttles fans en mass from restaurant parking lots in suburban Maryland and Virginia to Nationals Park and back.

“We want to turn something mundane like getting to the game into something relaxing and fun,” said Bowman. “The Ballpark Bus adds to the total fan experience.”

Ballpark Bus to Nationals Park Website ballparkbus.comThe service will start taking reservations at BallparkBus.com in March, well in advance of the Nationals April 12 home opener. Until then, the website points to their new Facebook page, where they are asking for feedback to determine which locations have the most demand.

The service will rely on the web and social networks to schedule fan buses based on need. “It’s a new concept of mass transit on demand,” says Bowman.

Fans can request a free reservation to any game from the participating restaurant that’s closest to them. Once a request has been made, “social tools” help fans recruit additional passengers from their own social networks and on the website. When enough reservations are made, the location is officially added to the ticketing schedule, with those early reservations receiving a discounted seat price.

Ballpark Bus will drop fans off just outside the first base entrance to Nationals Park at Potomac Avenue on the Anacostia River, which should add to the appeal compared to remote parking or Metro.

In addition to the Facebook page, Ballpark bus has posted a video showing how it works:

Bowman, who is an Art Director at a local agency, plans to add some “fun promotions” for bus passengers, but isn’t pitching Ballpark Bus as a party bus. The team is still working out whether alcohol will be allowed.

Pricing has not been published, but “will be competitive with other forms of transport to the park such as Metro and parking,” said Bowman. “A top priority for us is to keep the price down so its family friendly.”

Bowman is hoping the service can help grow the ranks of Nationals fans from locations as disparate as Loudon, Fairfax, Montgomery, Prince Georges, Prince William and Anne Arundel counties, adding “We want to get information from the riders and build it around what they want.”

As of this morning, the site’s Facebook survey showed an early preference for locations along I-66 (Tysons, Fairfax, Centerville, Manassas), followed by the Dulles Toll Road (Reston, Herndon, Sterling, Ashburn), I-270 (Rockville, Gaithersburg, Germantown), and I-95 South (Springfield, Lorton, Woodbridge).

Photos courtesy Ballpark Bus to Nationals Park

Race vs. Teddy Roosevelt wins DC man his bride

Matt Jennie and Teddy Roosevelt - Photo by Emma Patti Photography

Photo: Emma Patti Photography


Jennifer Kushlis loves Teddy Roosevelt. In fact, her love for the Washington Nationals’ racing president runs so deep that her boyfriend of six years, Matt Hendrickson, decided he would have to literally win her affections from Teddy before asking for her hand in marriage.

“I absolutely love the Presidents’ Race,” Kushlis said. “It’s the highlight of my summer, several times over.”

Nationals Park Presidents Race Marriage Proposal Jennie Kushner Matt Hendrickson" title="Nationals Park Presidents Race Marriage Proposal Jennie Kushner Matt Hendrickson

Nationals Park Marriage Proposal - Matt challenges Teddy Roosevelt

Video: Emma Patti Photography

Washington Nationals Park Marriage Proposal Presidents RaceBut Matt was up for the challenge. After nine months of planning, it all came together Sunday at Nationals Park.

Kushlis, 27, an Account Director at a local PR firm, arrived at their Kalorama home to find a note announcing that a Town Car would be arriving shortly to pick her up.

The driver whisked her directly to Nationals Park, where a Nats employee met her and led her onto an empty field with a table set behind home plate.

That was the cue for the HD scoreboard to light up with a video in which Hendrickson explained his dilemma, and challenged Teddy to a race for her affections.

“I realize that you have strong feelings for another man,” he explained. “Teddy and I both know that it would be impossible to ask you to choose between us, so we’ve talked and decided that the only way to settle this once and for all is with a race.”

With that, Teddy appeared from the centerfield gate, followed closely by Hendrickson.

“[The video] was absolutely hilarious,” said Kushlis, “and the only thing that kept me from sobbing through the whole event.”

Nationals Park Marriage Proposal Presidents RaceNationals Park Marriage Proposal - Teddy Roosevelt hands over the bride-to-beNationals Park Marriage Proposal Jennie Kushlis Matt Hendrickson

Matt and Jennie Engaged at Nationals Park - Photo by Emma Patti Photography

Photo: Emma Patti Photography

Teddy put up a good fight, but Matt won the day, and when Jennie met him at the finish line, he got down on one knee and proposed.

The families of both DC natives had been hiding on the Nationals Park concourse, and when Kushlis accepted, the celebration began.

“It was, by far, the best day of my life,” said Kushlis. “Matt’s incredible. The proposal was truly the best ever.”

Hendrickson, who works for Washingtonian Magazine, began scheming up the proposal during last year’s baseball season. “As my jealousy over Jennie’s love for Teddy grew, the idea to race him for her heart emerged,” he said. “Having survived an earthquake and a hurricane the week of my big plan, I felt like it was meant to be.”

Hendrickson has nothing but praise for the Nationals and Director of Ballpark enterprises Maggie Gessner, who coordinated everything.

And what of the jilted Teddy? “He’s a great sport,” said Hendrickson. “Teddy was first class.”

No wedding date has been set, but as the planning begins, says Kushlis, “I wouldn’t put it past Matt to involve Teddy somehow.”

Meanwhile, she hasn’t lost her love for the hero of San Juan Hill, saying his huge smile is what separates him from the other presidents. “George and Tom are hard to tell apart at times, and Abe looks so stern. Teddy’s the one in the bunch you’d want to have a beer with.”

Now that she’s engaged, that’s the best Teddy can hope for.

Matt’s video is above. We’ll have the full video of Sunday’s events in a few days.

UPDATE: The full video, including Jennie’s amazing reactions, is now up here

Photos courtesy of Michelle Kushlis except where noted.

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