From Kent Barnes. Follow him on Twitter @KentBarnes, email him at kent[AT]borderstan.com.
Although the baseball season started back in April, we’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 you’ve got a free Saturday and you’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 you’ll need to hop on the Green line to the Navy Yard station. If you’ve ridden the Metro on game day before you know that the trains turn into sardine cans around Gallery Place and L’Enfant Plaza. If you don’t want to spend the entire ride smashed up against the guy who doesn’t shower on weekends, try catching the Green line at the U Street station before they come on board.
If you’re lucky enough to be attending a game with a designated driver, don’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 you’ve arrived at the stadium and you have some time to kill. Head to The Bullpen to get yourself in the right…state of mind. There you’ll find live music, interactive games, and of course, beer. Best of all, you’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 it’s time to find your seats and get yourself mentally prepared for the all important next step: game day food. Nationals Stadium has some of the best food options in all of sports. Don’t want a plain old hot dog? Head to Section 109 or 140 for a famous half smoke and some chili cheese fries at Ben’s Chili Bowl. Ready for a vacation? Try some ribs and jerk chicken at Jammin’ Island Outpost in Section 143. And that’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 you’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.
It’s time for the 7th inning stretch, which means preparing yourself for the new tradition of singing A-ha’s Take On Me. It started as first baseman Michael Morse’s walkout song, and has since become our Sweet Caroline. Don’t be afraid to show off your falsetto when it’s time for “two.”
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 you’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.