New food & other changes for 2012 at Nationals Park

The Strasburger 8 pound burger at Nationals ParkAfter taking their first two series on the road, the Nats bring a winning record back to DC Thursday to kick off what many hope will be a new era noted for Curly Ws on South Capitol Street; but the changes in store for the home opener at Nationals Park go beyond the team’s winning ways.

New food options

Nationals Park food offerings have once again been updated in the off-season, with the most press going to the 8-pound Strasburger, a monstrous $59 offering meant for sharing and available only for select games at the Red Porch restaurant above center field. It will make it’s debut on opening day.

The Taste of the Majors stand behind section 117 has once again received a menu update with new and constantly-changing dishes that represent the visiting team. Look for 5-way Cincinnati Chili for the opening series against the Reds.

The Union Square restaurants along the Miller Lite Scoreboard Walk are adding a number of menu items, including hot dogs, pies, and Sweet Frites at Box Frites, Quesadillas and Churros and El Verano Taquería, and a fried chicken sandwich at Blue Smoke.

The former location of Florida Rock cement factory outside Nationals ParkAnacostia River Walk near Nationals ParkA turning point for the neighborhood

Many expect 2012 to be a turning point for the team on the field, and as timing would have it, it’s looking like a turning point for the neighborhood outside the stadium as well.

Outside the First Base gate, the long-envisioned river views from Nationals Park are finally beginning to take shape, as the Florida Rock cement factory that stood between the stadium and the river has finally been demolished.

For the first time, fans can walk along the river from a new bridge by Nationals Park to the new Yards Park development, including the Foundry Lofts building, which houses the first of several new restaurants.

Before and after the game

Half Street Fairgrounds at Nationals ParkHalf Street Fairgrounds outside Nationals ParkOn the opposite side of the field, the Half Street Fairgrounds makes its debut just across from the Centerfield gates, on the block formerly occupied by The Bullpen. The Half Street block is now dotted with an array of brightly-painted shipping containers stretching from M to N Streets, with each containing a different local food stand. Look for trucks from Bayou and Surfside, plus Red Hook Lobster Pound, DC Empanadas, Curbside Cupcakes, Tasty Kabob, Big Cheese, and others, with live entertainment before and after games. Fairgrounds owner Jason York told ABC 7 News they are “combining Eastern Market with food trucks.”

What hasn’t changed

Parking around Nationals Park remains a great value. Prices did not go up, and lots are as cheap as $5 if you’re willing to walk 10 minutes up South Capitol street. In previous seasons, availability has not been a problem, but lots fill fastest for sellout weekday games such as Thursday’s opener, so plan ahead.

Strasburger photo via Twitter by Tracee Wilkins

Nationals Park introduces the 8-pound StrasBurger

The Nationals will offer a new menu item at Nationals Park in 2012: an 8-pound cheeseburger dubbed the “StrasBurger.”

The Washington Nationals have introduced an 8 pound burger called the StrasBurger (8 pounds including toppings and fries)The Red Loft and the Red PorchNationals Victory Knot PretzelTaste of the MajorsAs announced by the Nationals and first reported by Dan Steinberg over at the Post this afternoon, the burger will be available at the Red Porch restaurant in the centerfield plaza.

The Nationals said the burger weighs eight pounds total including toppings, and is made from a combination of ground brisket, chuck and short ribs:

“The burger is served on a large burger bun with our secret sauce, American cheese, shredded lettuce, sliced tomatoes, sliced red onions, pickle chips and served with a cone basket of fresh cut fries and a pitcher of your choice of soft drink. This signature dish is the perfect entrée to share at this affordably-priced family restaurant.”

This is the first time we’ve seen the Nats pitch the Red Loft as an “affordable family restaurant.” The price hasn’t been disclosed, but if you’re willing to share, it will likely be a value. An eight pound burger should be able to feed multiple families.

The new item builds on the appeal of the “Victory Knot,” the two-pound pretzel built for sharing that has been available at the Red Loft for the past two seasons. All we need now is a 200-ounce beer and Nats fans will have a value meal for the ages.

The Nationals also announced that the “Taste of the Majors” concession stand behind section 117 will once again get a revamped menu — a seemingly annual tradition. And once again, the team is attempting to do a better job of delivering on the original concept. That is, the stand will have a constantly-changing menu with a dish from visiting team’s city, available during that series only.

It’s a fun concept that’s hard to execute, but like they say, maybe the fourth time’s the charm. Let’s check out what they have in store for the Nationals’ 2012 season:

Atlanta: Smothered Fried Chicken Platter
Baltimore: Baltimore Pit Beef Sandwich Platter
Arizona: Arizona Dog Platter
Chicago: Chicago Dog Platter
Cincinnati: 5-Way Cincinnati Chili
Colorado: Colorado ‘Mile High’ Burger
Houston: Houston Nacho
Los Angeles: L.A. Dog Platter
Miami: Miami Cuban Dog
Milwaukee: Milwaukee Beer Brat Platter
New York (Mets and Yankees): Coney Dog Platter
Philadelphia: Philly Chicken Cheese Steak Platter
Pittsburgh: Pitts Burger Platter
St. Louis: BBQ Rib Platter
San Diego: San Diego Fish Taco Platter
San Francisco: San Fran Garlic Fries and Shrimp Platter
Tampa Bay: Tampa Salty Dog Platter

Hmm… Kudos to the Nationals and Levy Restaurant Group for continuing to try to make this concept work, but with more than half of the “regional specialties” listed as burgers or dogs, they might still have some work to do.

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.

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