Because the Braves will have the privilege of being the first away team to play a regular season game at the Washington Nationals’ new stadium, we’ve decided to give a preview of the stadium for the upcoming season.
Nationals Park obviously gets its name from the team, but about 100 years ago, the former Washington Senators were also called The Nationals and their stadium, the former Griffith Stadium, was also called Nationals Park. Accessibility to the park is also a lot better than Turner Field, as Washington is a lot more commuter-friendly than Atlanta. One of the metro stations drops people off about a block away from the stadium, meaning parking and congestion around the stadium will be a lot more manageable than other stadiums.
The park itself will seat 41,000 fans, about average among baseball stadiums. They have also built 66 suites and will have several other amenities in the stadium. Among them are a grove in the center field pavilion containing cherry blossoms and a statue grove containing statues of past Washington baseball greats: Walter Johnson (Senators), Frank Howard (expansion Senators) and Josh Gibson (Negro League’s Homestead Grays).
Another interesting note about Nationals Park is that it will receive LEED accreditation once done. LEED accreditation will make it the first and only park in the Majors to receive it so far. LEED is a rating system for “green” building and environmentally sustainable construction.
Now, onto the dimensions of the park. The construction of the field is very similar to RFK stadium, but because no game have been played there, it will be tough to tell whether the stadium favors pitchers or hitters. The reason they are probably avoiding saying anything yet is because of the Citizen’s Bank Park fiasco. When the Phillies built their park it was thought that the wind would blow in from left field meaning a shorter porch would make sense since it would be harder to hit to that area. Of course, once it was built they found out the construction of the stadium and a building outside of the park in the left field area altered the flow of the wind and started pushing balls out of the park making it very Ryan Howard-friendly.
The left and right field walls are 330 feet from home plate. The center field fence is about 410 feet from the plate and the power alleys are 380, a little bit easier to hit out of than Turner Field, but still long enough that a hitter would need some serious power to get there consistently.
If you’re a George Washington U baseball fan, you’ll get a chance to see the ballpark first since they’ll play the first game at the new stadium. The Nationals will play an exhibition game against the neighboring Orioles followed by the March 30th game against the Braves.
Tags: Nationals Park, Opening Day, Washington Nationals
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