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Nationals Park

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The U.S. Navy Band performs during the 7th-inning stretch on June 27, 2008

Home of the Washington Nationals, 2008 to present

BUILT: 2008

CAPACITY: 41,546

FIRST GAME: March 30, 2008, vs. Atlanta Braves (Nationals 3, Braves 2)

DIMENSIONS:

  • Left Field: 336 ft.
  • Left-Center Field: 377 ft.
  • Center Field: 402 ft.
  • Right-Center Field: 370 ft.
  • Right Field: 335 ft.

HIGH SEASON ATTENDANCE: 2,652,422 (2013)

LOW SEASON ATTENDANCE: 1,817,226 (2009)

Nationals Park was built in 2007-2008 to serve as the home of the Washington Nationals, who had moved to Washington, DC in 2005 and had played in RFK Stadium for their first three seasons. It took a protracted fight to get the stadium proposal approved by the District of Columbia Council, as a significant amount of public funds was poured into the $600 million facility. The expenditure was justified by proponents by the fact that the ballpark would spur development in a neglected area of the city, in the District's disadvantaged Anacostia neighborhood. It was also argued that the team would attract a large number of fans from the nearby states of Maryland and Virginia who would bring significant tax income to the city by their spending in and around the ballpark.

President George W. Bush throws the ceremonial first pitch at the ballpark's opening on March 30, 2008
Aerial view of the stadium in 2008

The ballpark opened for the start of the 2008 season. Attendance was disappointing in the park's first few years, as the team was not competitive, and the ballpark was surrounded by unbuilt areas that did not attract fans. The lack of practical public transportation - the nearest metro stop being over a mile away - did not help either. Things picked up when the team became more exciting following the arrival of young marquee players Stephen Strasburg and Bryce Harper in 2010 and 2012 respectively. The 2012 season also saw the Nationals have the best record in the National League, making the team a hot ticket. The ballpark hosted its first postseason games in the Division Series that year.

After the 2013 season, the Nats announced that they were seeking an addition $300 million in public funds from the District government in order to put a roof on the stadium. However, if they were hoping to repeat their 2005 hoist, they were in for a rough greeting, as D.C. mayor Vince Gray simply laughed off the request, and one of the mayor's associates was reported as saying the proposed addition to the park "would be cost prohibitive and butt ugly."

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