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Left-overs from Nationals Park tour

Some of you have noted some of this -- and at some point, I'll get you some more pics, though nothing terribly exciting -- but it's worth regurgitating here. (And speaking of regurgitating: I ate the Curly W pretzel, and it was quite good, and some of you have sick minds and I never thought of it as anything other than a pretzel, so shame on you.)

1. Charlie Slowes: Stan said he would be back. This has been the way it has been headed all offseason, and there have been problems with the language of the contract, from what I'm told. I do not have confirmation that a deal has been signed, however. Will let you know if and when I do.

2. Single-game tickets: Kasten said there would be an announcement on that this week, likely Friday. Prices, etc., are still being finalized, though we all know they snuck onto the Web site a week or so ago. Should have an idea of how many extra seats season-ticket holders are allowed to buy for Opening Night, too.

3. Ballpark opening times: Kasten said, as he did late last season, that the park would open two-and-a-half hours before the first pitch every day. This would be from foul pole to foul pole in the outfield. For a 7 p.m. game, that'd be at 4:30 p.m., which would be in time to catch the Nats hitting -- though after they stretched. The rest of the seating bowl will be open 90 minutes before game time, and it sounds like concessions in the outfield will be open quite early as well so you can -- ahem -- spend money.

On Opening Night, March 30 against the Braves, Kasten said the place would open at 3:30 p.m. or so for an 8 p.m. start, and fans would be allowed to roam the entire park. The idea: Get there early.

4. Attendance: I have been accused on harping on this in the past (in large part because I have harped on this in the past), but Kasten predictably would not set attendance goals for this season. Keep in mind that in 2005 the team drew better than 2.7 million fans. One thing I found interesting, though. Kasten said: "I think we'll always get the attendance that we deserve." I'm sure he has said that before and I missed it; he definitely didn't think it up on the spot. But it seems quite a reasonable way of putting the onus for attendance not on the fan base but on the club. And he believes there are several factors that go into it -- the entertainment in the venue, the ballpark itself, the parking and transportation issues and the product on the field. The Nationals have varying degrees of control over all of those issues.

5. What will be ready: Kasten said the park should be 95 percent complete this season, meaning almost all of the amenities will be in, etc. The stuff that won't be include the three statues -- one of Walter Johnson, one of Josh Gibson, another of Frank Howard. They're still in production, Kasten said. The "95 percent" figure is to say that the stuff that won't be finished will largely go unnoticed by fans, such as unsold signage and stuff. They had no carry-over deals from RFK, so they're selling 100 percent of their inventory in one offseason. Translation: The park won't be producing as much revenue in 2008 as it will in the future.

6. Museum: Kasten didn't mention this, but the Nats have been discussing with the Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum the possibility of haivng a permanent branch in Washington at Nationals Park. There is a two-story space down the left field line -- along South Capitol St. near the northernmost corner of the park -- that could house a museum. What Kasten did allow is that they're trying to figure out what to do with that space, if it could be a conference room or convention hall or museum or some sort of combination. In any case, it's unlikely it'll be done this year.

All right, that's it for randomness off the top of my head. For those who missed it, here's a story from this morning's $.50/.35-edition on lefty Jack McGeary, who I saw when I went to California to visit Nick Johnson a few weeks back. Pretty impressive kid. Here's what the front of the sports section looked like, for those who don't get the dead tree edition.

Have a good Tuesday.

By Barry Svrluga  |  February 5, 2008; 9:30 AM ET
 
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Next: Roster moves: Japanese lefty Maekawa signed to minor league deal

Comments

Barry wrote "... Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum the possibility of haivng a permanent branch in Washington at Nationals Park"

... is there something about Washington or the Nationals - something I've missed - that would defend such an installation? Not that it's a bad idea at all. In fact it might be a good thing for MLB to do to renew its once-glorious image and reward its faithful fan base, to construct such museums (musea?) in all new parks, and even the existing ones that have space and can house them.

Posted by: natscan reduxit | February 5, 2008 10:41 AM | Report abuse

I like the idea of a museum. It would bring young adults and children up to date on Washingtons baseball past and baseball history in general. Has anyone heard as to what time the RFK parking lots would open so fans might continue the tailgating experience before boarding the buses to the new park.

Posted by: SC Nats Fan | February 5, 2008 11:09 AM | Report abuse

natscan: My guess is that though DC's not particularly noteworthy in baseball specifically, it is noteworthy for American history. Most tourists come to DC for the museums and monuments and the new ballpark is walkable from the National Mall, where all the Smithsonian Museums are located.

Posted by: NatsNut | February 5, 2008 11:17 AM | Report abuse

GREAT front page for the Sports section - yes, the football season is definitely over!

Posted by: Traveler | February 5, 2008 11:18 AM | Report abuse

Museum: I think the HOF has worked with other parks, so this is not a special situation.

Food: Barry, please ask Stan if we will be able to bring food in, and if not, why not (other than the fact that they demand every penny in our pockets).

Posted by: McLean | February 5, 2008 11:26 AM | Report abuse

Gee, it's quiet this morning. Everyone must be in transports of bliss over Charlie having re-upped. (I'm pretty charged about it, myself.)

Barry, that's a darn fine-looking sports page and a great story about McGeary. And although I respect others' right to disagree, there would have been no reason to embargo news about the ongoing Bédard saga. If anything, it provides a useful study in contrasting organizational philosophies.

And belated thanks to Mr. Hardwick for the Berube memory jog in the previous post.

Posted by: Hendo | February 5, 2008 11:27 AM | Report abuse

That is a nice story on McGeary this morning. Thank you. It's nice to have a feel of some depth in the farm system. Multiple "experts" are predicting Detwiller will join the Nats rotation by year end, but I assume McGeary will take 3-4 years to develop. Any reason to believe it would be sooner?

Posted by: NatBisquit | February 5, 2008 11:33 AM | Report abuse

It's great that the park will open early on Opening Day, but what about before the exhibition game? Isn't *that* when most season ticket holders will want to explore the place for the first time?

Posted by: Home Field Advantage | February 5, 2008 11:41 AM | Report abuse

natscan: my guess would be similar to Natsnut's. Baseball has been known as the national pastime (yeah, I know, football rules, yada yada yada), so what better place for a Baseball HOF branch than in DC? I believe that the Smithsonian museums have quite a few baseball artifacts in their collection, so I'd be curious if there would be some sort of tie-in with them.

Posted by: natsfan1a | February 5, 2008 11:47 AM | Report abuse

"It's great that the park will open early on Opening Day, but what about before the exhibition game? Isn't *that* when most season ticket holders will want to explore the place for the first time?"

The exhibition game is just that - an exhibition game. If not for it being in the new park, many season ticket holders probably wouldn't even bother going to it. Nothing of consequence will be happening on the field during the game, leaving plenty of time for fans to wander the park while the game is going on - checking out the concessions, checking out the much-ballyhooed view from the concourses, figuring out where the closest restrooms are to their seats, wandering through other sections of the park to see how the seats there compare with their own, etc. That's what I plan to do, anyway. No need to get there early. Plenty of reason to do that on Opening Day, though, armed with the knowledge gained from the evening before.

Posted by: Section 419+1 | February 5, 2008 12:26 PM | Report abuse

"Should have an idea of how many extra seats season-ticket holders are allowed to buy for Opening Night, too."

Any word on whether those of us who bought 20-game packs will also be allowed an opportunity to buy Opening Night tickets? I'm not sure why people who already have secured opening night tickets should get a chance to get more if I, with my $1000+ investment in a 20-game pass, don't.

Posted by: 20-gamer | February 5, 2008 12:34 PM | Report abuse

"My guess is that though DC's not particularly noteworthy in baseball specifically, it is noteworthy for American history."

... thanx NatsNut. Makes sense to me.

Posted by: natscan reduxit | February 5, 2008 12:36 PM | Report abuse

"... is there something about Washington or the Nationals - something I've missed - that would defend such an installation?"

Why would it need to be "defended" anyway? Take a look at the Nats320 blog from the past week where he reports extensively on his visit to the Hall of Fame, and you'll realize from that the sheer volume of artifacts that the Hall possesses and stores. Far too much for the Hall itself to ever display all at once. Indeed, they have so much in storage that there are probably many things there that will *never* be seen in a display in Cooperstown, no matter how often they rotate their displays. So why would they not want to make some of these artifacts available on long-term or permanent loan to another legitimate institution that asked them to do so (with of course the understanding that the artifacts would be treated for display purposes exactly as they would be in the real HoF)? In this case, I doubt that there is any particular "Washington connection" that is bringing this about. More likely it's just because the Nationals asked the Hall to do it, while other teams haven't.

Posted by: Section 419+1 | February 5, 2008 12:38 PM | Report abuse

We asked about this when we called to buy our 20-game package, and were told that full season and 40-game plan holders would get tickets to opening night automatically, and 20-game plan would get first dibs on the remaining tickets before they go on sale to the general public. I was also told that exhibition game tickets are already gone.

__________
Any word on whether those of us who bought 20-game packs will also be allowed an opportunity to buy Opening Night tickets? I'm not sure why people who already have secured opening night tickets should get a chance to get more if I, with my $1000+ investment in a 20-game pass, don't.

Posted by: 20-gamer | February 5, 2008 12:34 PM

Posted by: JennX | February 5, 2008 12:47 PM | Report abuse

Barry,

I loved reading the story this morning on McGeary. These are the kind of stories I will miss from your computer. I also love learning about the future players. Thank you, -P

Posted by: phillip | February 5, 2008 1:08 PM | Report abuse

Not sure if any of you caught the Carribbean World Series game on MASN last night.
Lots of Nats and DC area baseball ties

Belliard -went 1-3 and is 2nd on his team batting .364 in the series

Colome - got rocked in a closing effort in the ninth giving up 3 hits 2 runs and not recording an out in 3 batters faced.

Ramon Ortiz - pitched well getting the win in 6 2/3 innings allowing only 3 hits, 2 walks and 0 runs.

Miguel Tejada - went 1 for 4 against the team of Ortiz, Colome, Belliard and is batting .333

Other notes:
Interesting to see the rock / moroca band performing above the wall in Center field between innings. More interesting to see some of the players dancing to it. A Very different baseball experience there. If you get a chance you should tune to it on MASN or SNYHD (for you DirectTV subscribers)

http://sports.espn.go.com/extra/cws/boxscore?key=20080204CBWSDOMREP2DOMINICAN0

Posted by: P Nats Fan | February 5, 2008 1:19 PM | Report abuse

I'm pretty sure the only difference between 20-gamers and the other STHs is that 20-gamers don't get their assigned seats for opening day. The number of tickets available might vary, but otherwise 20-gamers most certainly will be able to buy opening day tix before the general public.

Posted by: NatsNut | February 5, 2008 1:21 PM | Report abuse

First of all, huge relief to hear a definite yes on Charlie Slowes. As someone who spends much of the season in an area (Blacksburg) where mlb.tv is blacked out while masn doesnt get this far, Dave and Charlie are my main gateway to the nats via gameday radio (best $15 ive ever spent).

I would love to see a baseball museum in DC, if im not mistaken, there was a temporary exhibit by dulles a couple of years back that seemed to go over really well. Something more permanent, even if small, would definitely be something I would get excited over.

Lastly, thanks for the McGeary story. Can't wait to see some of these kids at Potomac and when they get to the big league club in years to come!

Posted by: VT Nats Fan | February 5, 2008 1:28 PM | Report abuse

"Colome - got rocked in a closing effort in the ninth giving up 3 hits 2 runs and not recording an out in 3 batters faced."

That's nice to know (well, not really, given the lousy pitching line) but how are his buttocks and his family? Have JimBo's prayers been answered?

Posted by: Section 419+1 | February 5, 2008 1:30 PM | Report abuse

Bang! Zoom! Welcome back Charlie. I just got more batteries for my radio. Can't imagine a game without you and Dave. My wife is also happy because you both help her keeping score.

Go Nats.

Posted by: Section 223 w/ parking somewhere | February 5, 2008 1:51 PM | Report abuse

Re: Opening Day tickets

I firmly believe (not that it will actually happen that way) that 20-game folks should get the very first crack at the tickets. Full season and 41-gamers already have tickets to that game, so they are likely buying for friends or eBay (the way that I got my ticket to the home opener in 2005--paid 4x face value including shipping but I was there). The 20-gamers, we just want tickets for ourselves!

One person told me that their rep said that we would be limited to the number of tickets in our plan. So, if you have 2 seats, you can buy 2 tickets ahead of the regular folks. I'm split on this. On the one hand, it makes it tough if you were hoping to bring relative/friends with you. On the other hand, it makes more tickets available to other season ticket holders.

One more note, at the NBC Health & Fitness Expo, someone asked that the Nats booth "How can I guarantee that I can buy tickets to Opening Day?" The response? By a season plan.

Posted by: LurkerNowPoster | February 5, 2008 2:27 PM | Report abuse

A permanent HOF installation would be great, a nice attraction on the off days. Of course, with the Smithsonian here spoiling us, it will have to be free, and open most every day, but that's not so tough.
AND -- Cooperstown has several "geezer little league" tournaments during the summer (google "Legends of Baseball") -- really cool if if we could get one here. There's thousands of adult rec players, men and women, locally -- no problem filling teams, I guarantee.

Posted by: CE | February 5, 2008 2:30 PM | Report abuse

Atarashii poosuto

Posted by: FNG | February 5, 2008 2:41 PM | Report abuse

Hi Section 419+1,

,,, you're absolutely correct. The idea about the HoF museum in Nats Park needs no 'defending'. I simply chose the wrong word. I would have been better off to say 'explain' instead of 'defend'. As I say, I think it's a marvellous idea, and I hope to visit the place someday.

Posted by: natscan reduxit | February 5, 2008 4:13 PM | Report abuse

>Kasten did allow is that they're trying to figure out what to do with that space

Barry - great info thanks. Please tell Stan that while he is deciding what to do with that 3B/LF area that overlooks South Cap (museum, conference center etc..) to make it ANOTHER heated/air conditioned space for fans to migrate to. For 2008, put in some mobile drink carts, some adult beverages. Phila has a bar area on their top concourse that provides views out of the ballpark. Please tell Stan it will augment the CF restaurant, which is the only other area out of the elements that the non-club goers can migrate to.

Thanks

Glenn

Posted by: Glenn | February 5, 2008 11:32 PM | Report abuse

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