Archive for the ‘WMATA’ Category

Nationals Open New Stadium in Dramatic Fashion

I couldn’t help but think, as Ryan Zimmerman rounded first, his fist triumphantly thrust in the air, that I would not have written the ending quite as well as it had come out. With the remaining crowd on their feet and cheering, despite the bitter cold and wind, the new ballpark became the Nationals new Home.

Left Field Crowd (Tight)

I arrived at the Stadium in 40 minutes today, some hour and twenty minutes more quickly than our Saturday debacle, and after making it through a thorough, yet friendly, search of my person and camera bag, it was onward into the stadium. The Braves were taking batting practice. The concourse was full of Nats Pack handing out game booklets and stadium information, as well as a number of photographers taking fan photos and capturing the new ballpark.

I settled into Section 108 to watch the Braves put on a hitting show. The ball was carrying well into the outfield, and several lucky fans got souvenirs to take home. Around 6, I headed up to get a Kielbasa and a Coke from the stand at the top of our section. There was a bit of a line, but 15 minutes later I had dinner and was a happy guy again. Tiff went for sodas around 6:30 and had a bit of a wait, but everything was happy for the most part. My frustration came at 7:15 when I waited 40 minutes for a Half-smoke All-the-way from the Nats Dogs concession. While the Ben’s Chili Bowl line was horrendous, the other hotdog stands still carry the signature half-smoke with Ben’s Chili, but the line was bad. It moved, sure, but sporadically, and it seemed that concession workers were still getting a feel for their roles, as I saw many people bumping into each other. The only thing they seemed to be short on was popcorn. Tasty as the half-smoke was, it wasn’t worth a 40 minute wait.

I hear the other lines were pretty long as well, but I suspect much will get better as we get further into the season.

The Nationals, despite a solid first inning of offense, went 24 batters out in a row, between their last hit in the 1st and Zimmerman’s homer with 2 outs in the 9th. I was hoping for a bit more offense out of the club. But, the pitching held true, and kept the Braves from doing little to catch up to the 2-0 lead. Lo Duca’s passed ball in the 9th was a real heartbreaker, and at least one guy in our row wondered what Rauch was doing on the mound instead of the Chief. But in the end, it didn’t matter. Part of me wondered, as my friend Ben said to me later, if we weren’t all in some shared hallucination, seeing what our minds wanted to happen, instead of some sadder truth. I’m thankful it was real.

Row of Seats Asking for a Ball Beer Man Darryl Waiting for a Ball

Let Teddy Win! Nats Pack Girl Warehouse Bunting Left Field Concessions

Read on for a status report on the ballpark

(Pre) Opening Night at Nationals Park

It was cold, but man was it worth it.

My friends and I who share a 20 game package all gathered in the upper level of the outfield seats tonight for the 3-0 exhibition win over the Baltimore Orioles. The whole stadium is such a massive improvement over the decrepit and dilapidated RFK Stadium

Clock (Closeup)

I was amazed, also by the efficient concessions (though they were out of hot chocolate by the fifth inning) and by the wide concourses and the comfy seats. I was not so pleased with my transit experience on the way in to Nationals Park. We had a bear of a time getting down to the new park amidst the Cherry Blossom and Kite Festival traffic. We got to Courthouse about 2:40, had to wait 10 minutes for a train that was packed to the gills. We waited 15 minutes for the next train, which made it as far as Foggy Bottom before some idiot held the doors open and caused the train to break down. Then, once we got to L’Enfant Plaza it was close to a 20 minute wait for a green line train.

I love that people are taking public transit this weekend, it’d just be nice if there was some for us to take.

Once we got to the stadium, though, I do have to say I was floored. There are parts of the stadium I am going to love and love and love and love (I refer, here, to the aforepictured clock, and other photos I took of it…) and the incredible high-def scoreboard that feels more like watching a game on TV (the good parts of course) and the ambience that makes me glad to be paying money for good experiences.

There’ll be more on the ballpark in the coming days, but for a moment, enjoy just some photos of baseball in the Springtime.

Nationals Park Logo Clock (Closeup) Dusk Outfield Toward the Scoreboard

Welcome Home! Opening Week! Getcher Programs! Ben's at Nationals Park

Metro Releases Wacky New Promo

Picture 3.png

Wow. They want you to take metro to Nationals Park. I get that. But wacky peeps as the protagonists? And really, really awful wooden voice acting?

I can’t believe we all just spent money on this.

Think about that. Your fare money, and your transportation money, just went to a couple college kids with a Mini DV camera.

I think I’m going to go throw up now.

The Morning News: Redesign, Rediscover!

It’s a beautiful day in this neighborhood, that much is for sure. Going to be mid-60’s in time for lunch today, so plan on a nice long lunch on one of the many sidewalk cafes that will have tables open. The warm is here for a couple days, so unpack some of those short sleeves! Check out the forecast for the early part of the week, from the Capital Weather Gang.

Violence Targets Cabbies

In the last five weeks, six Maryland cabbies have been attacked, targeted specifically because they drive cabs. Several of these attacks have occurred when the cabbies picked up potentially ineligible passengers in the District where they’re not licensed for work. I dunno about you, but I’d bet money this guy is a disgruntled DC Cab driver (Probably not Mr. T, though, as he only stands for justice and good, right?) who’s out to do violence against those who’d take his fares. Extra points to the DC Metropolitan Police for calling the assailant the “Rogue Cabdriver.” C’mon, couldn’t you at least call him Travis Bickle? Something like that?

Metro Cans Bench Seating

Remember Metro’s plan to can a few rows of seats in favor of some side-facing benches? Yeah, that’s been ditched. Apparently it didn’t adequately increase the possible passenger capacity. So, no New York Subway-esque side benches for the Metro. I say good for you Metro in keeping the tradition of forward/backward seating. Look for handles on the various upper handrails to start appearing. These, I’m not looking forward to. See, I’m tall and I guarantee you I will hit my face and head on them at every possible opportunity. My wife will dig it, though, as currently she can’t reach the top bar…

17 Rowers Rescued from Potomac

It was gorgeous and sunny this weekend, which meant that many rowing teams returned to the Potomac for spring training. Yeah, they forgot to check the wind forecast, as 17 had to be pulled from the river after their shells capsized. No one had to be hospitalized, but I imagine that many were pretty darned cold after a dip in the icy Potomac. It may be getting close to Spring, but that water’s still pretty darn chilly.

The Morning News: Winter’s Last Gasp Edition

Yeah, it’s cold this morning, but this could well be the end of the evil winter cold snaps, as the weather on Monday may reach 60°, more in line with March temperatures. Hold on, winter-haters, the end is near.

Remember Those Firings at the CFS Agency? Yeah, Not Fired.

An administrative officer has recommended those fired by the Mayor in the wake of the Banita Jacks tragedy be rehired. The hearing officer wrote that their due process rights had been violated by the mayor. Now, this isn’t a final case yet, so there’s still hope that someone who gets fired can actually remain fired, should the head of the agency accept the Mayor’s choice and reject the administrative officer’s choice. After that, further appeals go to the courts system.

If You Go To Nationals Park: Take Metro. Really. Don’t Drive.

The District yesterday has announced plans to limit parking on streets near the stadium by the use of 1- and 2-hour meters, and Zone 6 parking permit areas. Parking in the area around the stadium is going to be restricted to Season Ticket Holders, mostly, for the first season or two until new construction in the area, with garages underground, are complete. So take Metro to Navy Yard. You won’t regret it.

The Funniest DC Celeb is…

I’m not exactly who Marc Sterne is, but he was crowned the funniest DC Celebrity at the DC Improv last night. No word who else was up on stage, but it seems Sterne is the funniest celeb that would come to their contest. Congratulations?

The Morning News: Love Hangover Edition

Good morning DC, I hope you’re all blissful this morning. Going to be downright pleasant for February out there, high in the low 50s before a weekend that may require an extra blanket.

Metro Considers Large Plasmas for Stations

Metro’s giving a good hard look at plasma screens for all the platforms, and if you’ve seen the plasmas at the Gallery Place station, you might have a good idea what the prototype may look like. In addition, the displays would show content from a new “Metro Channel”, designed to provide a platform for live announcements and display of system conditions.

Virginia Dumps Smoking Ban

Despite strong support from the left, the Virginia House of Delegates has killed the smoking ban for the fourth straight year. Since Virginia’s legislature holds most of the power in the State, cities and counties can’t independently ban smoking, and thus it continues unabated in many of the bars and restaurants in the state. Who was responsible? Why, look, it’s Virginia’s favorite son, David B Albo, of the egregiously stupid $1000 moving violation fines! Hooray.

Final Amount in Revenue Scam is $43M

Forty-Three Million Dollars is what several DC Department of Revenue employees stole from the city coffers as part of their years-long scam. My general hope is that they spend some serious time in a federal pen belong to the guy with the most cigarettes.

When in Doubt, Don’t Trust the Flower Guy

Some suspects were caught red handed on Thursday, but a Sheriff’s deputy dressed up like a flower delivery guy. They used a sheriff’s van made up to look like a flower delivery truck, and a deputy in a delivery guy’s uniform to put the cuffs on 12 suspects who had been dodging the police for some time.

Do you think they make fun of you extra if you got caught because you were monumentally stupid?

The Morning News: Election Day Edition

It’s chilly out today, but better than yesterday. A wintry mix may descend on the region today, but turn to rain and sleet. It’ll pretty much be lame for evening rush. Leave early, go vote.

Metro Thinking of Rerouting Blue Line

With the Orange Line at full capacity and the tunnel under the Potomac between Rosslyn and Foggy Bottom the system’s biggest chokepoint, Metro is considering rerouting the Blue Line, taking it across the Potomac after the Pentagon station and depositing the trains at the L’Enfant Plaza station, skipping Arlington Cemetery, Rosslyn, and several downtown stations entirely. The plan’s pretty controversial, judging by the comments in the Dr. Gridlock column about the event. Skipping Western DC in favor of the Eastern half is a pretty bold choice, I’d say

DC’s Police DNA Lab Changes Hands

Well, fired isn’t the right term, but reassigned might better fit the bill. The head of the DC Crime Lab DNA section has changed hands to William Vosburgh, after not a single technician in the DC DNA lab was able to gain federal certification, and as such, the FBI is doing all of DC’s dirty work down at Quantico. Maybe Dr. Vosburgh will get the job done?

Maybe Keeping the Flight Systems On is a Good Idea?

The NTSB has determined that a fatal helicopter crash in 2006 was caused by pilot error, specifically the pilot turning off the engine control systems and then not noticing. How the hell do you turn off the system that controls the engine and not freaking notice? The NTSB has come down on the operator like a ton of bricks in their final crash report. Shocker, I know.

Left Lunch on the Red Line

Left Lunch

Originally uploaded by brownpau.

If you were on the red line this morning and managed to leave your lunch behind someone would like to do you a favor and give it back.

So if you had a spinach salad, bag of carrots, grapefruit, water bottle refilled with some kind of juice, then your lunch has been found, and Craigslist can get you back in touch with it.

The Morning News: Wednesday is for Drinking Early Edition

DC Charter School Closing in a Month, Stranding 250

The Washington Academy, which serves 250 area children, is set to close in 30 days. It’s not clear how those kids are supposed to be absorbed into the schools system, as many neighborhood schools in that region are set to close if the chancellor’s plan is completed.

Georgetown Student/Staff Data Missing

If you’re currently a Georgetown Student, or work there, your identity may have been stolen yesterday, when a disk containing the records of the 38,000 students and staff of the University was taken from an office on campus. Georgetown is offering free credit monitoring for those affected. Give the University a call at 866-740-2458 or visit their identity site for more info.

More Rail News

Here starts the blame game. Rep. Jim Moran comes out swinging like it’s a little black boy near his car. Moran insists that this is clearly a political ploy to thwart democrats in Northern Virginia, and has nothing to do with potential risk. Meanwhile, the Examiner points out it could be about failing to resolve a series of technical problems in the proposal, that would have resulted in the failure to operate the proposed line.

The Morning News: Obama in DC

Two big speeches in DC today. One by President Bush at 9pm tonight (street closures), and one by Senator Barack Obama at 11am this morning (doors at 10:30) Sadly, our tickets for the State of the Union never showed, but I did get an invite to see Senator Obama speak.

Virginia Scrambles to Save Dulles Rail

After what amounted to a bitch slap from the Federal Goverment, Tim Kaine and his Transportation crew are working overtime to attempt to prove the worth of the Dulles Rail Extension. I’m not exactly sure what kind of worth study one needs to propose to prove that an airport terminus on the Metro is worth while, but I bet the BART folks in San Francisco can tell you.

Four Days Til Maryland Smoking Ban Takes Effect

While Montgomery County, Prince George’s County and others have had a ban in effect for some time, the rest of Maryland follows suit on Friday. So, if you’re headed up to Charm City, be sure to leave the smokes at home where they’ll only poison you and your close friends. Thanks.

Local Primaries Still in Play

The race for the nomination in both parties will likely still be contested after the Super Tuesday round of primaries in February 5th, making area primaries on the 12th of February more interesting. I like the idea of my vote counting for something…

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