New at Nationals Park: Easier access, hot chicken and sports book

Washington Nationals fans have been grabbing the team’s new jerseys inspired by cherry blossoms and adorable lazy animals, but there’s another accessory they might want to find before heading to the stadium this season: a clear plastic bag.

Icelanders have a new, streamlined access system this season, which trades previous airport-style magnetometers for something called CEIA Opengate. Fans walk between the two pillars, with cell phones, keys and other items in their pockets, says Scott Fear, vice president of public safety and security, and stick straight to the rotation circle without stopping.

“With this technology, we do not expect to have any lines outside our stadium except before the gate opens,” says Fear. “When the gate opens, we expect people to go through one file. Lines will disappear and everyone will enter much faster. “

In a media preview on Wednesday morning, reporters with pockets loaded with personal belongings were able to walk around the gates at normal to fast speeds without sounding any warnings. Anyone who issues a warning will be referred to the table for further review.

The disadvantage of faster access is that there will be no specified bag search lines, except for families and people who carry bags for medical reasons. All bags larger than the clutch – five inches wide, seven inches long, three-quarters deep – must be made of clear plastic, vinyl or PVC, such as a transparent bag or one-liter freezer bag. Fear points out that other stadiums in the area, such as FedEx Field and Oriole Park in Camden Yards, have similar requirements. Food from outside is still welcome, as long as it is carried by hand or in an acceptable bag. Fans who come to the park after work can rent a locker outside the right stadium or next to the home plate to store briefcases or laptop bags.

When you enter the park, the most magnificent addition is the one that can only be seen by a select number of fans: the FIS Master Club, renamed the club’s ‘payment technology club’, has been transformed into a small national museum. Six large glass capsules around the 2019 World Cup contain jerseys and hats and a nice Baby Shark, which honors the unlikely race of the team. Another series of cases around the club’s two bars hold performances dedicated to Ryan Zimmerman, including a bat and ball from his 2008 Opening Day walk home; Bryce Harper of titles; and ball games from various no-hitters. The furniture and lighting have also been updated with soft, caramel-colored club chairs.

The FIS Club is also home to the ballpark’s most notable food and beverage addition: Duke’s Grocery, an English-accented bar known for its huge burgers and truffle-soaked mac and cheese, takes over the grill.

The favors are not high sales: David Chang’s Fuku is the only restaurant not to return this year, and the most popular new option is Roaming Rooster, which started throwing Nashville hot chicken sandwiches out of a food truck and now has restaurants around the area. (It’s in section 238.) Instead, there are some interesting little changes: South Mountain Creamery, from Frederick County, has replaced Breyers and will offer one serving container with five or six varieties of ice cream. The Nationals have teamed up with local cocktail company Pratt Standard to create a cherry blossom-themed drink – served with vodka or in a tasty non-alcoholic form – on specially designed bars. For craft beer fans, there are still 13 District Drafts carts pouring into local brews, and Other Half, Solace and City-State brews have been added to the exchange.

Nationals Park is money-free again this season, with pre-orders for food and drink through the MLB Ballpark app. (Fans who carry cash can exchange it for “Nats Bucks” at certain locations.) New addition: Buy merchandise in the team store for the fourth quarter and it will be delivered to your seat.

Five bobblehead gifts are on the agenda, starting with the Stephen Strasburg World Series MVP release on Friday. In addition to the evenings dedicated to “Star Wars” (a little cool Juan Solo bobblehead, July 16) and Marvel (“The Unstoppable” Josh Bell, June 11), this season is the DC Comics night’s debut, with Wonder Woman bobblehead (August 26). ). Other theme nights include Intern Night on July 14; the return of Cat-urday, without real cats being allowed, July 30; and nights dedicated to Filipino heritage (August 27) and Italian heritage (September 27).

For families, there are two notable additions: From May to August, one Sunday a month has been designated Summer Reading Sunday, where Nationals players Sean Doolittle and Bell read to young fans, as well as a book theme sponsored by groups including the Smithsonian and Library of Congress. Also, gifts for 12 and younger fans, such as the Juan Soto jersey (April 23-24) and bucket hats (July 2-3), will be exchanged on two weekends instead of just one game. The kids still run the bases after every Sunday game.

Finally, one of this year’s most visible additions is actually not in the ball: the BetMGM sports book, a bar with more than 40 TVs and 17 kiosks and six windows where customers can bet, is right outside the center, in the old Center Field Social event space. There is no direct access to the book from the Nationals Park ticket office, so there is a place to collect before or after games. And the BetMGM app works in the stadium if fans want to bet from their seats.

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