After a 33-year absence, Major League Baseball in Washington was revived with the arrival of the Nationals in 2005. The Nats played their first three seasons at RFK Stadium before moving into a brand new, state-of-the-art facility in Southeast DC in 2008, Nationals Park.
The team, constructed by Mike Rizzo, president of baseball operations & general manager, built a strong core of young talent, including first-round draft picks Ryan Zimmerman, Stephen Strasburg and Bryce Harper. By 2012, the franchise had secured its first division championship. It was the first time the District had experienced postseason baseball since the 1933 Washington Senators advanced to the World Series.
The 2014 season will feature the managerial debut of Matt Williams, the former slugger for the San Francisco Giants, Cleveland Indians and Arizona Diamondbacks. Williams won four Gold Gloves and four Silver Sluggers during his 17-year professional career, and is the only player in MLB history to hit home runs for three different teams in the World Series.
Nationals Park is located in the Capitol Riverfront neighborhood which continues to grow into one of the District’s premiere hot spots. Easily accessible from the Navy Yard-Ballpark Metro stop, this area provides many options for before and after the game.
Inside the park, the menu is one-of-a-kind: enjoy a legendary chili dog from Ben’s Chili Bowl, a Washington institution. Fans can also watch the game comfortably from the Red Porch Restaurant, a full-service restaurant within the stadium. On the Miller Lite Scoreboard Walk, fans can dine at Shake Shack, Blue Smoke Barbeque, El Verano Taqueria and Box Frites.
Don’t forget to catch the GEICO Presidents Race, which takes place during the fourth inning of every game, featuring oversized likenesses of “George” Washington, Tom Jefferson, “Abe” Lincoln, “Teddy” Roosevelt and “Bill” Taft. They are joined by Screech the Eagle, waving the Nationals Curly W flag after victories in an epic display of Natitude.
Nationals Park is also the first major professional stadium to be LEED Silver Certified by the U.S. Green Building Council, using numerous sustainable elements to provide the most environmentally conscious experience.
Watching the Nationals play is more than just catching a ballgame. It’s an essential part of the DC experience.
Riding Metro is the quickest and easiest way to get to Nationals Park. The Navy Yard-Ballpark station on Metro's green line is just half a block away from the stadium. Three main transfer stations will take you to Navy Yard: L’Enfant Plaza, Fort Totten or Gallery Place-Chinatown.
Metrobus is also available, with several different routes that serve Nationals Park. Another great option is the DC Circulator's Union Station-Navy Yard route that operates every 10 minutes to and from Union Station.
If you plan on driving to the ballpark, make sure to get a big lead: parking spaces fill up quickly, and traffic can become clustered around the stadium at game time.
- Nationals Park’s official capacity is 41,418, but 45,017 crammed into the park for the team’s first home postseason game on October 10, 2012.
- Teddy (a 10-foot tall foam model of Teddy Roosevelt) won the Presidents’ Race for the first time on Oct. 3, 2012 after 534 attempts and a fan-led “Let Teddy Win” campaign.
- The Nationals became the third DC baseball franchise in 2005 upon their relocation from Montreal. The original Washington Senators began play in 1901. Those Senators became the Minnesota Twins in 1960. The second installment of the Senators lasted from 1961-1971; they went on to become the Texas Rangers.