Share

Off the field, Nats home opener a success

|
Photo - Fans arrive at Nationals Park for the Nats' home playoff debut against the St. Louis Cardinals. (Graeme Jennings/Examiner)
Fans arrive at Nationals Park for the Nats' home playoff debut against the St. Louis Cardinals. (Graeme Jennings/Examiner)
Local,DC,Alan Blinder

The Washington Nationals lost the first playoff baseball game in D.C. since 1933, but the District government declared that it had notched an off-the-field victory with its sweeping strategy to control crowds, keep traffic moving and limit ticket scalping.

"Our plan worked exactly like it was supposed to work," mayoral spokesman Pedro Ribeiro said of the District's decision to use more than 130 employees to manage the largest crowd in the history of Nationals Park. "We didn't intend on losing the game, but our efforts operated just like they should have."

(View photo galleries with images from the game or the scene at Nationals Park)

Adeeb Parkar, a fan from Waldorf, also said the strategy worked.

"From what I've noticed, they have done a little bit better of a job than a regular-season game," Parkar said. "There are a lot of extra traffic cops out here."

And Cedric Griffin, a vendor at the ballpark throughout the season, also said he thought the day had gone well for the crowd of 45,017 fans.

"If I had to rate it up to 100, I'd say 100," he said.

Anticipating a larger, more boisterous crowd, the Metropolitan Police Department deployed dozens more officers than it usually does for games to provide security outside the ballpark and target scalpers.

Although the agency said it did not make any arrests for scalping, its officers aggressively warned scalpers along Half Street Southeast, the road leading to the ballpark's center field gate.

Jeff Henneman, of the District, said he wondered whether scalpers had anticipated greater scrutiny and moved their operations far from the stadium.

"I had them at Chinatown at the Metro," he said.

Scalpers, though, certainly didn't stop fans from hopping onto Metro's Green Line to the ballpark. The transit agency said 10,994 customers exited at the Navy Yard station, the closest stop to the stadium, in the three-hour window leading up to first pitch. Service stalled temporarily after the game because Metro had to offload a Green Line train due to a brake problem.

City officials said fans who used other transportation options to get to the game encountered few problems aside from a minor accident that caused brief delays, though traffic snarled as thousands of people flooded the roadways after the final out.

The District Department of Transportation, which positioned officials along traffic arteries to help keep fans and passersby moving, also said Capital Bikeshare was a popular choice, with more than 100 fans cycling to the game.

The DC Taxicab Commission also reported no issues aside from an illegal taxi, which hack inspectors impounded, and a spokesman for the city agency that enforces vending laws said it had not documented any violations.

Examiner Staff Writers Abby Hamblin and Kytja Weir contributed to this report.

ablinder@washingtonexaminer.com

View article comments Leave a comment