Behind the Scenes at the Ballpark
It has been a few weeks since I have been to Nationals Park because the team has been on a very long road trip. On Saturday, my family and I decided to head to Half Street S.E. to take a look behind the scenes of the Nats Park. I know a lot of Matt’s Bats readers want to go on the field very badly and see all the cool things that the players do at the ballpark. By taking a tour on a non-game day, you can easily go on the field and in the bullpen. The tour is free for season ticket holders and Jr. Nats Club members, but anyone can buy tickets too. (Here is a link for more information). The tours are $15 for adults and $12 for kids. All of the money goes for the Nationals Dream Foundation charity. You get to see more areas of the stadium if you go on non-game days, like we did.
Our tour guide was Susan. Susan is the woman on the far left. Normall she is an usher in the Lexus Presidents Club, but today she took us around the ballpark and got us ultimate access. The tour takes about an hour and a half and you get to see things like:
- The PNC Diamond Club, the Lexus Presidents Club and the Stars & Stripes Club
- A luxury Suite
- The Shirley Povich Media Center
- The Nationals Dugout
- The Visiting Team Clubhouse (subject to availability)
- Nationals Bullpen
CONCOURSE and PNC DIAMOND CLUB
- We walked around the concourse of the stadium a little bit and learned about the history of the Nationals, the statues at the centerfield gate, and some of the plaques and posters of historic players around the stadium. Susan asked a lot of trivia questions, and I got a lot of them right. One was “Who hit the longest home run at Griffith Stadium?” The answer is Mickey Mantle, 565 feet. I got this one right.
- The first cool thing we did is go into the PNC Bank Diamond Club. Tickets to the Diamond Club are sold in 3, 5 and 7 year contracts and cost about $175 per ticket for each game. Sometimes you can buy individual game tickets, but they are even more expensive.
- The ticket also includes free buffet and drinks.
- You can rent out the Diamond Club and all other areas of Nats Park for events. Next week, the ZiMS Foundation is going to rent out the Diamond Club.
- The Diamond Club is on the concourse level behind home plate and overlooks the Lexus Presidents Club, which I’ll mention later.
- You can sit inside the Diamond Club at tables like a restaurant or you can sit outside. Some foul balls come up to the Diamond Club.
- Susan showed us one of the tiles that make up the scoreboard. The scoreboard is 5,000 sq. ft. I got to touch the scoreboard tile, and it would take 5,000 of these tiles make the real scoreboard! There are over 1 million pixels in the scoreboard.
- We got to see one of the Washington Suites. The one we went into happened to belong to WJLA- ABC7 News, Channel 8 News, and Politico. The view was right behind the plate and it was an awesome view. The Washington Suites are right behind home plate across from the smaller clubhouse shop. There are also suites in the 200-level.
- The owners of the suites get to decorate the inside.
- Then, we rode the elevators to the 7th floor, which is the Shirley Povich Media Center. The broadcasters sit one level above that.
- Outside the eleveator, I saw Shirley’s scorecard of Don Larsen’s Perfect Game in the 1956 World Series.
- There is a also a media cafeteria. It’s where the media eat lunch and dinner.
- Each journalist in the press box has a saved seat with the name of their newspaper or TV station. The official scorer sits there too.
- One day I hope to be up there too! (Or down on the field!)
LEXUS PRESIDENTS CLUB
- We took the elevator all the way down to the field level, where the next stop on the tour was the Lexus Presidents Club.
- The Lexus Presidents Club has the most expensive seats in Nationals Park. There is a bigger restaurant area than the PNC Diamond Club. You can also sit inside or outside, and you are like literally behind home plate.
- The distance from the pitcher’s mound to home plate is 60 feet 6 inches, but it looked really really close.
- The Lexus Presidents Club is where the Nationals do the “Wave Your Caps” salute to military members takes place in the middle of the third.
- Inside the Presidents Club you have a view of the Nats’ indoor batting cages and the press conference room. One cool thing is they have all the Inside Pitches on the wall.
|This is what the tunnels around Nats Park look like.|
- Then, we went to the visiting team’s clubhouse. The visiting clubhouse was a simple room with as much amenities you need for a few days. But, it still was the awesomest thing ever.
- There was a little cafeteria where the players can get food. Then there was a locker room. There are also showers and a gym but we didn’t get to see that.
- It was empty when we went, but in a few days all the cubbies will have the names of the visiting players. That same room I was in will say ” Ryan Howard, 6″ in a few days when the Nats take on the Phils.
- If any of the players are not responding to your tweets before the game, this is probably why:
- Outside the clubhouse is the visitor’s batting cage. We saw the opposing batting cages and I started swinging off a tee with a “Michael Morse” style bat. (P.S. “Michael Morse” means the imaginary grand slam swing on 9/29/12.)
|If you like to watch BP before games, this is useful to memorize.|
- The floors are all made out of carpet or rubber mats so the players can walk on them with cleats.
- You can walk up a few steps and into the visitor’s dugout. There is a little bathroom right inside the tunnel.
|This is the view visiting players have as they are about to walk into the dugout from the clubhouse|
DUGOUT and FIELD
- Then we went into visitor’s the dugout for a few seconds. After that we headed up onto the field. We walked on the track from the visitor’s dugout to behind home plate and walked in front of the Nats dugout.
- It was cool to see the players’ view of the fans.
- We went around the warning track. We followed the warning track to right field to the Nats bullpen.
|The view Mattheus, Stammen, Duke, Rodriguez, Storen, Clippard and Soriano have from work.|
- We went into the Nationals bullpen. The home bullpen has fake grass because it is mostly in the shade, but the visitor’s bullpen has real grass.
- We were all able to try taking a pitch in the bullpen. I tried to locate my pitch over the plate by throwing it like Craig Stammen, but from the right rubber, it sailed right down the center of the pen.
The tour was really awesome. I would recommend it to anyone who reads my blog. It may be cool to take people who are visiting from out of town. I know other clubs offer tours, so if you ever go on vacation to a city that has a baseball team, it might be a good thing to do there too. It made me feel like I was really a Nats beat reporter going into all the exclusive areas.
In other news, it was a really disappointing game last night against the Padres. But the fun thing is that everybody started doing #TeamUpsideDown by turning their Twitter pictures upside down. I did mine, and I know F.P. Santangelo, Dave Jageler, Julie Alexandria and Ian Desmond did too. I think we should keep them upside down until the Nats win in San Francisco. So maybe they’ll be no Giants series hashtag, but instead we do: