From Kent Barnes. Follow him on TwitterÂ @KentBarnes, email him at kent[AT]borderstan.com.
Although the baseball season started back in April, weâ€™ve finally reached what I consider the perfect time of year to attend a game. The weather is warm but not too hot, the players have shaken off the off season rust, and summer is finally here.
So youâ€™ve got a free Saturday and youâ€™re ready to go to a Nationals game. Here are some helpful hints to maximize your experience.
1. Getting to the Stadium
Most people either take the Metro or drive. If you take the Metro youâ€™ll need to hop on the Green line to the Navy Yard station. If youâ€™ve ridden the Metro on game day before you know that the trains turn into sardine cans around Gallery Place and Lâ€™Enfant Plaza. If you donâ€™t want to spend the entire ride smashed up against the guy who doesnâ€™t shower on weekends, try catching the Green line at the U Street station before they come on board.
If youâ€™re lucky enough to be attending a game with a designated driver, donâ€™t waste your beer money on a garage right beside the stadium! Lot W is only a 10-minute walk from the stadium, and costs $10.
So youâ€™ve arrived at the stadium and you have some time to kill. Head to The Bullpen to get yourself in the rightâ€¦state of mind. There youâ€™ll find live music, interactive games, and of course, beer. Best of all, youâ€™re right across the street from the main entrance to the stadium. Hang out for a while, and then head into the park for some baseball.
3. Game Time
Now itâ€™s time to find your seats and get yourself mentally prepared for the all important next step:Â game day food. Nationals Stadium has some of the best food options in all of sports. Donâ€™t want a plain old hot dog? Head to Section 109 or 140 for a famous half smoke and some chili cheese fries at Benâ€™s Chili Bowl. Ready for a vacation? Try some ribs and jerk chicken at Jamminâ€™ Island Outpost in Section 143. And thatâ€™s just the beginning. Nationals Park is also home to Shake Shack, Steak of the Union, El Verano Taqueria, and a host of other delicious options.
Once youâ€™ve satisfied your hunger, head back to your seat and take in the view. Depending on your seat you may have a view of the Capitol dome (or more likely, a parking deck or construction crane). Nationals stadium is a beautiful park, and is famous for having a great view of the action regardless of where you sit. Sit back, relax, and enjoy a the train whistle each time a Nat hits a home run.
Itâ€™s time for the 7thÂ inning stretch, which means preparing yourself for the new tradition of singing A-haâ€™s Take On Me. It started as first baseman Michael Morseâ€™s walkout song, and has since become our Sweet Caroline. Donâ€™t be afraid to show off your falsetto when itâ€™s time for â€śtwo.â€ť
At this point the game is almost over, but you still have time to grab a treat before the Nats close out the win. Embrace your inner child and head to the Frozen Rope, Turkey Hill Ice Cream, or Sweet Spot for a sundae in a Nationals mini helmet.
Hopefully these tips help you maximize your Nationals experience. And if youâ€™re looking for a great way to end the day, head to the park on Saturday June 8th for a free Blues Traveler concert following the game.