Nationals Park is No Wrigley Field

Nationals Park is No Wrigley Field

When the Cubs made their yearly visit to Washington, DC last week, it was clear they were a long way from Wrigley Field. Located in Southeast Washington, Nationals Park sits in a fairly desolate area that’s known for crime. Think of it as the DC version of U.S. Cellular Field; it’s a bit shady.

I ventured into DC last Thursday night for my yearly trip to see the Cubs in my area despite the two 11356139_10155668448860082_1159906206_nhour rain delay. It may have been a dark and dreary night in the nation’s capital, but there were plenty of Nats and Cubs fans braving the weather to support their respective team.

Nationals Park is a beautiful stadium; it has an enormous electronic scoreboard in centerfield, a restaurant seated above the outfield and there’s not a bad seat in the house, just to name a few of the perks the six-year-old stadium offers. Unfortunately there’s not much of a view outside the park unless you go to the upper deck where you can catch a small glimpse of the Washington Monument and the U.S. Capitol building.

Going to a Nationals game often feels like a social outing rather than a sporting event. A lot of 11226559_10155653574935082_4617425912557423080_nfans are wrapped up in their cell phones and meaningless conversation rather than watching the game. I’m sorry but why did you pay money to sit outside tonight in the rain and take selfies? It seems as though many Nationals fans are at the game for something to do instead of actually watching what’s happening on the field.

Oh, it gets better. You know how minor league ballparks have those cute little activities between innings to keep the fans entertained? Contests, the jumbotron, giveaways, etc? The Nationals do the same thing, desperately trying to keep your attention on the field opposed to getting up and grabbing another beer. It’s constant: t-shirt tosses, the Kiss Cam, there was even a Ryan Zimmerman bobble wave. Yes, as in you were encouraged to hold your promotional Ryan Zimmerman bobble head in the air and wave it back and forth like a lighter at a concert. Can’t say I’ve ever seen that one before at any ballpark.

The one activity I will give the Nats credit for is the infamous Presidents Race. Think of the Milwaukee sausage race only with five former presidents. During the fourth inning of each game, George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt and William Howard Taft race from center field to first base in what is arguably one of the highlights of the game. Just don’t expect Roosevelt to win because it’s practically an unwritten rule that Teddy almost never wins.

My favorite part of the race is watching the reaction from the Cubs as they take the field while the presidents take off running. Kris Bryant got his first look at the racing presidents on Thursday night and looked a bit lost as the oversized characters battled it out for first place. Don’t worry, Kris. You’ll get used to it. Anthony Rizzo is lucky enough to be close to the finish line and usually has his hands on his hips, almost as if he’s thinking “what the heck?” as the presidents cross the finish line. You’re not in Chicago anymore, Rizz. They do things a bit differently out here; just go with it.

Nats Park isn’t a bad place to catch a ball game, it’s just different. Maybe I’m just used to the classic traditions of Wrigley Field but when I go to a baseball game, I expect the entertainment to be the game being played on the field, not games and contests between innings.

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  • Nats park is different. The backdrop is limestone instead of brick. Same for PNC.

    The Cubs have all sorts of extraneous stuff, too. I guess they haven't found a sausage purveyor to provide mascots for the race. Instead they use pluggers to sign the 7th Inning Stretch.

    Also Wrigley would look a lot more like Nats park if the sponsor were Walgreens instead of Wintrust.

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    I don't mean any disrespect Stephanie, but at least Nationals Park knows what it is. It's modern. I was at Wrigley recently and I couldn't believe how out of place the big Jumbotron in left field looked. Wrigley doesn't even know if it's retro or modern anymore.

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    In reply to Kurt Smith:

    Fair enough, but Fenway has the jumbotron as well.

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