The Nationals provided a "What's new at Nationals Park" media tour Thursday to show off improvements, additions and changes at the ballpark for this season.
The tour included technological advancements, expanded and improved concession offerings, new concession concepts, concession stand expansions, new menu items and more.
Further ballpark element changes include the new Norfolk Southern Club, which replaces the Stars & Stripes Club in sections 206 through 221, the Gold Glove Club, the Silver Slugger Suite, Heineken Red Star Bar near Section 205, a clubhouse team store ladies boutique located behind Section 141 and an expanded Nationals main clubhouse team store, which will be upgraded and moved to the right field side of the Center Field Plaza.
Corporate partnerships include McDonald's, Kellogg's and ID.me. McDonald's will sponsor the first run scored in the game and will offer a free order of six-piece Chicken McNuggets to all fans with the McApp if the Nationals score six or more runs. The Nationals' partnership with McDonald's also includes branded cups and signage at more than 400 McDonald's locations in the D.C. area.
Kellogg's will partner with the Nationals for the July 2 game, honoring the military. One winner from a military base from around the country will be invited to come out and throw the first pitch.
ID.me specializes in verifying individuals as military members, veterans and first responders so they can purchase exclusive ticket offers online in advance of the games they wish to attend.
Nationals season plan holders will be able to enjoy advanced benefits, which include:
* A new portal design available on any desktop, tablet or smartphone. The personal dashboard features customizable widgets showing an upcoming schedule, eCash balance, and special announcements and offers.
* A new mobile app (coming soon) that will be integrated with MLB's At the Ballpark app so fans can use their smartphones to gain entry to the park and to view seats for each game. They can also manage their online accounts from the app.
* eCash and "eCash Only Lines." eCash is an easy way to make purchases at select locations around Nats Park with special benefits available to season plan holders, including loading cash to their Ultimate Ballpark Access Cards.
* Red Carpet Rewards points can be earned for every card scanned into the ballpark.
Food, Beer and More
The Nationals have expanded their food choices, ensuring that fans could come to every home game and have something different to eat.
The tour showed that the Nats will feature 55 beers. Many of them are local and craft choices, including offerings from Port City, DC Brau, Mad Fox, Allagash, New Belgium and Dogfish Head.
Food choices I witnessed (while partaking in a few nibbles) included an Asian turkey burger on a pretzel bun, a black and blue burger and the south of the border burger. The next stand featured veggie cheesesteaks, Greek salads and portobello sandwiches.
The sushi-themed area included California roll, veggie roll, spicy tuna roll, salmon avocado roll, calamari seaweed salad and bay shrimp salad. I had the seaweed salad and the spicy tuna roll. Both had a nice kick to them and were delicious.
Some of the high-end mixed drinks available included the aged negroni, cucumber vodka and aged jalapeno tequila.
The sandwiches offered from DC's own G Sandwich shop included chicken parmesan, Italian hero, roasted cauliflower and the Drewno. The Drewno is named after chef Scott Drewno, not after Drew Storen.
The Red Porch table featured poutine, "curve balls" and cheesesteak eggrolls.
The Intentional Wok offered beef-drunken noodles and chicken pad thai.
Other options available include steak and chicken burritos and burrito bowls, crab cake sliders, and Chesapeake Bay grilled cheese and crab nachos.
The concession concepts available at Nats Park include: G at Nationals Park, South Capitol Sushi, Intentional Wok, Chesapeake Crab Cake, Bullpen Burrito and Kettle Corn.
Concession stand expansions include District Drafts, with four stands located in Sections 138, 308, 118 and 225. All four stands will feature locally brewed beers from Atlas Brew Works, in addition to DC Brau, 3 Stars, Port City Brewing Company and Mad Fox.
Barrel-aged bourbon is available in the Lexus Presidents Club, the Red Porch, the Beltway Bar (Section 130), the Capitol Club (Section 113) and the Union Pub (Section 306). On Firkin Friday, the Nationals will offer cask beers in the Red Porch during each Friday home game in 2014.
Also available are the popular Ben's Chili Bowl, Change Up Chicken, Field of Greens and Hard Times CafÃ©.
Bobblehead giveaways have been expanded to seven bobbleheads during the season, including a Jayson Werth garden gnome, which will be distributed at all gates to the first 25,000 fans.
There is also new flake flooring covering the concourses, ramps and seating bowl stairs to preserve and protect the concrete.