Rachel Levitin: Giving thanks for endearing features at Nationals Park

Last Wednesday marked the five-year anniversary of the groundbreaking at Nationals Park. Since then, there hasn't been too much activity around the Navy Yard, minus the days the Nats are in town. To celebrate, I took a few minutes to remind myself why Nationals Park is a treasured entity over the Nats old home, RFK Stadium.

It's not RFK: Here's the thing - I'm a baseball traditionalist. If it's got a Monument Park or ivy, I'll jump on it like Ryan Zimmerman hitting a walk-off to win it. Baseball returning to Washington in 2005 was the first step and Nationals Park was the gift for those who waited it out to see its birth and growth.

The food is good: It's not exactly Wolfgang Puck, but then again, who wants fancy food options when spending a day or night at the ballpark? And, if you are one of those people who enjoys being catered to with food reminiscent of dining at a country club, then we should probably never go to a ballgame together. The Hard Times Cafe nachos are sinful. Ben's Chili Bowl is a great stop for when you have friends in town but don't have time to go to U Street. And, most grill items like chicken, burgers and hot dogs are grilled as you order. That's better than being forced to pay big bucks for food that's been sitting out for who knows how long.

The Red Porch's beer selection is top-notch: That's not to say a trip to the Red Porch is reminiscent of going to ChurchKey or the late Brickskeller, but if you like beer on draft that isn't beer flavored water, the Red Porch has you covered.

You can see the Capitol dome and the Washington Monument: OK, OK. You got me. It's pretty difficult to see both of Washington's biggest namesake memorials from every corner of the park. You can, however, see both the Capitol dome and Washington Monument if you maneuver your way around the concourse. It gets fun when you try your luck at catching a glimpse from different levels of the concourse, too. The best view, in my opinion, is of the Capitol dome on the sixth level of the building from right around the home plate area.

Grandstand tickets are cheap and worth it: If you like baseball, live in D.C. and haven't been to a baseball game since 2005, then what are you waiting for? Seriously. Even back in the good old RFK days, Nationals baseball was accessible. That, above all else, is the important thing about baseball in D.C. - it's accessible. Prices of $5-$10 for grandstand tickets (depending on the game) is as cheap as any Major League Baseball team could try and sell a seat in their park - without any additional promotion - and still seem legitimate. It's no secret that the Nats aren't a first-place club with a playoff berth in waiting, but it's still baseball and it's being played at the Navy Yard from April to October.

See you there?

Rachel Levitin blogs about the Nationals for We Love DC, and will be sharing her observations about baseball in the nation's capital this week as part of MASNsports.com's season-long initiative of welcoming guest bloggers to our little corner of cyberspace. All opinions expressed are those of the guest bloggers, who are not employed by MASNsports.com but are just as passionate about their baseball as our roster of writers.

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