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1/14/08 The Washington Nationals Forget, Americans Love Their Cars...

     The Washington Nationals will open the 2008 MLB season on Sunday night March 30th against the Atlanta Braves in their new stadium, which for now, until naming rights are sold, will be known as Nationals Park. The stadium is still under construction as the Nationals inch closer to the beginning of Spring Training next month and the beginning of the '08 campaign just three months away.

     MLB.com's Bill Ladson recently provided an update on the construction in his article entitled, "New Nats ballpark serves as classroom", at washington.nationals.mlb.com which included a photo of what the caption describes as the largest video board to be installed in a baseball stadium. Season tickets are already on sale. Opening night ticket prices, as previously noted here at federalbaseball.com, have risen to ridiculous prices.

     The stadium will seat 41,222. The aforementioned video board is described at washington.nationals.mlb.com's "New Nationals Park" page (http://washington.nationals.mlb.com/was/ballpark/index.jsp) as:

            "...state-of-the-art video and audio technology,
            including a 4,500 square foot high-definition
            scoreboard, as well as over 600 linear feet of LED ribbon
            board along the inner bowl fascia."

     The stadium has been praised for its environmentally friendly construction. The newest creation of HOK/Devrouax-Purnell Architects is on schedule. The stadium's design allows for The Capitol Dome to be seen beyond the outfield wall, and according to the Nationals' official sites', "Nationals Ballpark Quick Facts", the amenities include, " 2,500 club seats, 1,112 suite seats, a 500-seat founder's club with indoor dining, and a 1,300- seat diamond club with indoor dining..."

     As for parking....OH S%$#! Who was supposed to take care of parking?

     Yes that's right! Three months from Opening Day, and there is still very limited parking available in the area around the new Nationals Park. According to several recent articles, the majority of single game ticket buyers and possibly even some season-ticket-plan holders are going to be asked to park at Old RFK and take mass transit, either shuttles or the Metro to the new park?

      An article by Michael Neibauer and Craig Stouffer at www.examiner.com from October of '07 entitled, "Parking at RFK no done deal; D.C. United moves forward", described the then-newly announced parking plans:

          "The Nationals' announced Tuesday that non-season
          ticket holders will have free parking at RFK and shuttle
          service to and from the new South Capital Street
          ballpark."

     In an article by Tim Lemke at www.washingtontimes.com entitled, "Parking limited at new ballpark", on January 12, 2008, Mr. Lemke writes that:

          "Gregory McCarthy, the team's director of the ballpark
          district, told members of the D.C. Council that the
          Nationals will encourage single-game ticket holders to
          take Metro or park in satellite lots because the team
          barely has enough spaces to accommodate even its full-
          season plan holders."

     At www.examiner.com, writer Stephen Hicks addressed the parking issue as well, in an article entitled, "Stadium parking issues remain unresolved," in which he reports that:

          "The Nationals, like the D.C. government, are banking on
          Metro to carry as many as half of all fans to the South
          Capitol Street ballpark."

      So that's 20,000 fans joining the nightly commute on the Metro to make it to 7:00pm starts at the new Nationals Park all summer long? 20,000 fans parking at RFK Stadium, two miles away from the new park? Parking will be free(on the Nationals). Not the Metro, though. DC City Councilman Kwame Brown sums it up best in Mr. Hicks' examiner.com article, where Mr. Hicks writes, after Nationals Senior Director George McCarthy's report to the DC council, that:

          "...he(Councilman Brown) was frustrated that with less
          than three months until Opening Day, the parking and
          traffic situation remains unclear.

          "'This is a first of a series of many hearings,' Brown said.
          'We aren't supposed to be in the planning mode. We're
          supposed to be in the implementation stage.'"

     It could be one interesting trip to Opening Night at Nationals Park...

*Stadium Parking Links*

mlb.com's Bill Ladson's article, "New Nats ballpark serves as classroom", at washington.nationals.mlb.com:

http://washington.nationals.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20080111&content_id=2344109&vkey=ne ws_was&fext=.jsp&c_id=was

washington.nationals.mlb.com's Nationals Park page:

http://washington.nationals.mlb.com/was/ballpark/index.jsp

the examiner.com's Michael Neibauer and Craig Stouffer's article, "Parking at RFK no done deal; D.C. United moves forward" at www.examiner.com:

http://www.examiner.com/a-1008959~Parking_at_RFK_no_done_deal__D_C__United_moves_forward.html

Washington Times writer Tim Lemke's article, "Parking limited at new ballpark", at washingtontimes.com:

http://www.washingtontimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080112/SPORTS02/804997/1026

examiner.com's Stephen Hick's article, "Stadium parking issues remain unresolved", at www.examiner.com:

http://www.examiner.com/a-1153469~Stadium_parking_issues_remain_unresolved.html