Author Topic: Nats Park Playoff Fan Experience  (Read 3522 times)

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Offline dcpatti

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Re: Nats Park Playoff Fan Experience
« Reply #25: September 05, 2017, 01:54:38 PM »
MLB sets the standards for security, not the Nats, so there might not be much wiggle room there, but they could dedicate a "clear bags" lane just like the Express/No Bags lane and encourage everyone to use a small see-thru bag if they plan to bring a bag. 2016's playoff traffic was a crapshow because of Safe Track and the Metro being shut down, which caused a lot more people to drive. Since Safe Track is over and Metro runs til 1 am on the weekends, this will solve itself for most of the NLDS, assuming we get to be the home team for Games 1 and 2. There would only be one weeknight home game then, Game 5, which might not even be needed.

Busses to RFK would be good. I hope that DDOT did some good traffic pattern analysis last year and learned some ways to improve. Completely closing the side streets might be a good move, because those side streets become a rabbit's warren of traffic and contribute to the flow problems on the main roads (blocked intersections, people trying to merge/turn in, etc). 
 
Port-a-potties on the concourse is just trading one problem (long bathroom lines) for another (even more crowding on the concourses when you decrease the amount of space that people can stand/walk while simultaneously introducing a new place for a queue to form).

"Express" concession stations--- carts with only a small selection of items for cash-only sale-- can be placed around the ballpark to get people out of the main lines and back to their seats quickly. If they're smart, they'll have the items all be even dollar amounts (even better if it's multiples of $5) so the staff doesn't have to make change.

The ability to get a big chunk of the fan base to the park a few hours early is going to really depend on the timing of the games. People will leave work an hour or two early, but it's a lot harder to justify taking a day off.  Encouraging them to linger after the game would help traffic but is a lot harder, especially if there's a loss. They could do something in the streetside event space (like where they did Taste of the World) but there may be agreements with the ANC that preclude post-game activities in the first place.


Maybe I'm old and n(d)umb but when I attend any event with 40,000 people, I get there early.    I expect delays.    I don't carry bags  ...
 occasionally I have rain gear.     I don't buy food.    I may have a beer or two during the game.    I have a bathroom that's usually pretty open but ya gotta walk to find it.    I don't normally drive to the stadium.    I walk to Capitol South and take a direct line to my part of NoVA.    I expect a trip to the stadium to be a 6 to 8 hour event.

My son got me a motorcycle (:couch:) calendar some years ago and there was a picture of a guy riding a bike in the rain.   The caption:  "If you want all the comforts of home, stay there."

^^ This.

Maybe not every word of it-- have more than two beers and buy a big ol half smoke if you want. But fans need to set their expectations properly and not get bent out of shape when stuff takes longer than they're used to.  There *will* be traffic, there *will* be lines, things *will* go wrong, but you'll have a better time if you keep your cool.

Offline Monarch

  • Posts: 528
Re: Nats Park Playoff Fan Experience
« Reply #26: September 05, 2017, 02:00:48 PM »
Not true. I go to at least a couple Redskins games a year and don't have near the problems with lines like they had at Nats Park last October. With huge crowds there will be lines but Fed Ex handles much larger crowds with fewer issues.

We'll agree to disagree, but other than the tailgating thing, there isn't anything about FedEx field that is better than nats park. I was just talking to two of my buddies yesterday about it, b/c they had just gone to the VT-WVU game.

Concessions and bathrooms are the only thing Nats park has trouble with for games that are sellouts (opening day and playoff games).

Offline LoveAngelos

  • Posts: 149
Re: Nats Park Playoff Fan Experience
« Reply #27: September 05, 2017, 02:52:53 PM »
PowerBoater all great suggestions.

At mid week regular season games it can take an inning just to get a hot dog. Roaming vendors and carts in the concourse would cure that ill

Offline geneticlyperfct

  • Posts: 126
Re: Nats Park Playoff Fan Experience
« Reply #28: September 05, 2017, 02:59:25 PM »
Love the blocking off the LF gate for STH only idea. I mean, they have STH lines at CF, RF, and LF but only the CF one is monitored. They're useless in LF and RF on busy games.

Offline bluestreak

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Re: Nats Park Playoff Fan Experience
« Reply #29: September 05, 2017, 03:02:35 PM »
Love the blocking off the LF gate for STH only idea. I mean, they have STH lines at CF, RF, and LF but only the CF one is monitored. They're useless in LF and RF on busy games.

I agree on this. However, Season ticket holders are the worst about getting through the lines. You would figure that people who go to the games the most frequently would be the most savvy, but I have found the STH line moves slower than the regular line. Many times at CF gate i just skip. At LF it is never enforced. It infuriates me.

Offline Ali the Baseball Cat

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Re: Nats Park Playoff Fan Experience
« Reply #30: September 05, 2017, 03:11:31 PM »
I really want to know why so many people show up in the STH line like they are about to hike the Appalachian Trail.  I mean the emergency tent and back-up sterno stove I can kind of understand, but you just don't need an ice axe 
I agree on this. However, Season ticket holders are the worst about getting through the lines. You would figure that people who go to the games the most frequently would be the most savvy, but I have found the STH line moves slower than the regular line. Many times at CF gate i just skip. At LF it is never enforced. It infuriates me.

Offline PowerBoater69

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Re: Nats Park Playoff Fan Experience
« Reply #31: September 05, 2017, 04:10:16 PM »
I agree on this. However, Season ticket holders are the worst about getting through the lines. You would figure that people who go to the games the most frequently would be the most savvy, but I have found the STH line moves slower than the regular line. Many times at CF gate i just skip. At LF it is never enforced. It infuriates me.

I really want to know why so many people show up in the STH line like they are about to hike the Appalachian Trail.  I mean the emergency tent and back-up sterno stove I can kind of understand, but you just don't need an ice axe 

Interesting, I hadn't noticed this, although I don't pay much attention because they are so rarely enforced. Best trick in those lines is to explain to your friends that you are in the SPH line, often the people in front will realize they are in the wrong line and switch.

Maybe the better option is a bag free entrance at that gate.

Offline PowerBoater69

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Re: Nats Park Playoff Fan Experience
« Reply #32: September 05, 2017, 04:22:27 PM »
Concessions and bathrooms are the only thing Nats park has trouble with for games that are sellouts (opening day and playoff games).

Well those are two pretty big problem areas, and I'll add security lines to that list.

Offline bluestreak

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Re: Nats Park Playoff Fan Experience
« Reply #33: September 05, 2017, 04:28:19 PM »

Concessions and bathrooms are the only thing Nats park has trouble with for games that are sellouts (opening day and playoff games).

Well the only things I do at the park other than sit on my duff are eat, drink and go to the bathroom. So.....

Offline PowerBoater69

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Re: Nats Park Playoff Fan Experience
« Reply #34: September 05, 2017, 04:35:40 PM »
MLB sets the standards for security, not the Nats, so there might not be much wiggle room there, but they could dedicate a "clear bags" lane just like the Express/No Bags lane and encourage everyone to use a small see-thru bag if they plan to bring a bag. 2016's playoff traffic was a crapshow because of Safe Track and the Metro being shut down, which caused a lot more people to drive. Since Safe Track is over and Metro runs til 1 am on the weekends, this will solve itself for most of the NLDS, assuming we get to be the home team for Games 1 and 2. There would only be one weeknight home game then, Game 5, which might not even be needed.

Busses to RFK would be good. I hope that DDOT did some good traffic pattern analysis last year and learned some ways to improve. Completely closing the side streets might be a good move, because those side streets become a rabbit's warren of traffic and contribute to the flow problems on the main roads (blocked intersections, people trying to merge/turn in, etc). 
 
Port-a-potties on the concourse is just trading one problem (long bathroom lines) for another (even more crowding on the concourses when you decrease the amount of space that people can stand/walk while simultaneously introducing a new place for a queue to form).

"Express" concession stations--- carts with only a small selection of items for cash-only sale-- can be placed around the ballpark to get people out of the main lines and back to their seats quickly. If they're smart, they'll have the items all be even dollar amounts (even better if it's multiples of $5) so the staff doesn't have to make change.

The ability to get a big chunk of the fan base to the park a few hours early is going to really depend on the timing of the games. People will leave work an hour or two early, but it's a lot harder to justify taking a day off.  Encouraging them to linger after the game would help traffic but is a lot harder, especially if there's a loss. They could do something in the streetside event space (like where they did Taste of the World) but there may be agreements with the ANC that preclude post-game activities in the first place.


^^ This.

Maybe not every word of it-- have more than two beers and buy a big ol half smoke if you want. But fans need to set their expectations properly and not get bent out of shape when stuff takes longer than they're used to.  There *will* be traffic, there *will* be lines, things *will* go wrong, but you'll have a better time if you keep your cool.

MLB sets standards but the Nats go further than mandated. Pretty sure I haven't had to remove my hat at other parks and it seems like the bag search is more intrusive here.

You are right about the lack of good spots for porta johns, but I've seen a few. Along the switch points on the ramps, at the top of the stairs next to the kids zone, by the elevator at section 224, by the river over looks....

I like the idea of express carts, although I think that mobile hot dog vendors is easier to implement.

Definitely it will be easier to fix the issue of fans getting to the park at the same time as opposed to leaving. Hard to fix the issue when there is a close game on a cool night and everyone wants to leave at the same time.

Obviously the playoff crowds will mean more waiting, I'm not sure if management has any idea of how bad it is for crowded games. Kasten used to wander the park but I have never seen the new revenue chief mixing with the customer base.

Offline PowerBoater69

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Re: Nats Park Playoff Fan Experience
« Reply #35: September 05, 2017, 04:44:08 PM »
Just thought of another one: Tweet out the micro selection at each of the local brew stands so that I can find my favorite without having to circle the park.

Offline varoadking

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Re: Nats Park Playoff Fan Experience
« Reply #36: September 05, 2017, 04:44:56 PM »
Kasten used to wander the park but I have never seen the new revenue chief mixing with the customer base.

Mark Lerner used to mingle with the elites in the N&S Club...or so I've been told...  :couch:

Offline mitlen

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Re: Nats Park Playoff Fan Experience
« Reply #37: September 05, 2017, 06:01:55 PM »
When I had a job (:P) in customer service, we would "call ourselves up".    You find out pretty quick it ain't the well oiled machine you think it is.      Maybe some of the folks who work in the Nats' cube farm could get out and try the different entities/amenities PB mentions.     Something like "under cover boss" really can open the eyes of the folks who think the service is "just fine".    Have this person do it for different games and have him/her report directly to the Lerner family.

Offline PowerBoater69

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Re: Nats Park Playoff Fan Experience
« Reply #38: September 05, 2017, 06:13:47 PM »
Not sure if this can be in place by October, but the Nats are looking into automated vendors.

Offline mitlen

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Re: Nats Park Playoff Fan Experience
« Reply #39: September 05, 2017, 06:15:33 PM »

Maybe not every word of it-- have more than two beers and buy a big ol half smoke if you want.

No half smokes for me.   Takes too much time.     :)

Offline RobDibblesGhost

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Re: Nats Park Playoff Fan Experience
« Reply #40: September 05, 2017, 11:54:11 PM »
Not sure if this can be in place by October, but the Nats are looking into automated vendors.

They do have at least two ice cream vending machines now. That'll help on those cold October nights :smh:

Offline OldChelsea

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Re: Nats Park Playoff Fan Experience
« Reply #41: September 06, 2017, 07:13:38 AM »
I agree on this. However, Season ticket holders are the worst about getting through the lines. You would figure that people who go to the games the most frequently would be the most savvy, but I have found the STH line moves slower than the regular line. Many times at CF gate i just skip. At LF it is never enforced. It infuriates me.

Earlier this season I attended a home match, entering through the centre-field dedicated STH gate, and had the most glacial progress through the security ever - lots of backpacks and lots of people generally who just don't know how to progress through security (they're just as confused at airports and it slows everyone up). Since then I've entered at the left field gate - much quicker.

Offline OldChelsea

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Re: Nats Park Playoff Fan Experience
« Reply #42: September 06, 2017, 07:20:15 AM »
Not sure if this can be in place by October, but the Nats are looking into automated vendors.

Keep passing so-called ;living wage' laws and mandated benefits (such as paid family leave) and it's on. It's why McDonalds is going to automated kiosks at many locations - businesses will always look to economise.

Offline LoveAngelos

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Re: Nats Park Playoff Fan Experience
« Reply #43: September 06, 2017, 08:07:24 AM »
The playoffs will be a good indication whether this franchise has finally learned how to handle huge crowds and what may be expected at the All Star game.


Great America Ball Park has automatic beer vending; I  had a hard time dealing with a robotic voice asking for my id and then when it thought I had one too many:   

Offline dcpatti

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Re: Nats Park Playoff Fan Experience
« Reply #44: September 06, 2017, 08:14:28 AM »
Keep passing so-called ;living wage' laws and mandated benefits (such as paid family leave) and it's on. It's why McDonalds is going to automated kiosks at many locations - businesses will always look to economise.

You could pay workers $1/hour and if there's a machine that can do the job, the machine will win. The rate of worker replacement will be faster when the wage is higher but even poverty-line wages won't prevent automation from taking over. Robots work for free. Free always wins.

Offline Ray D

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Re: Nats Park Playoff Fan Experience
« Reply #45: September 06, 2017, 08:29:05 AM »
Robots work for free.
Until the robots unite.

Offline bluestreak

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Re: Nats Park Playoff Fan Experience
« Reply #46: September 06, 2017, 08:32:08 AM »
You could pay workers $1/hour and if there's a machine that can do the job, the machine will win. The rate of worker replacement will be faster when the wage is higher but even poverty-line wages won't prevent automation from taking over. Robots work for free. Free always wins.

Robots also can’t buy things...

Offline OldChelsea

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Re: Nats Park Playoff Fan Experience
« Reply #47: September 06, 2017, 08:32:18 AM »
You could pay workers $1/hour and if there's a machine that can do the job, the machine will win. The rate of worker replacement will be faster when the wage is higher but even poverty-line wages won't prevent automation from taking over. Robots work for free. Free always wins.

Basically true, but these preemptive hikes in mandated minimum wages just exacerbate the situation.

Offline bluestreak

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Re: Nats Park Playoff Fan Experience
« Reply #48: September 06, 2017, 08:40:48 AM »
Basically true, but these preemptive hikes in mandated minimum wages just exacerbate the situation.

I think that companies want us to believe that, and it makes some amount of sense, but the actual evidence on it is pretty inconclusive.
Industry has been fighting minimum wages for decades. Our economy hasn’t fallen apart yet. In any case the Lerners aren’t moving to automated vending because the minimum wage, they are doing it because machines don’t require any wage, and they don’t ask for benefits and they don’t take vacation.

Offline dcpatti

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Re: Nats Park Playoff Fan Experience
« Reply #49: September 06, 2017, 09:09:05 AM »
I think that companies want us to believe that, and it makes some amount of sense, but the actual evidence on it is pretty inconclusive.
Industry has been fighting minimum wages for decades. Our economy hasn’t fallen apart yet. In any case the Lerners aren’t moving to automated vending because the minimum wage, they are doing it because machines don’t require any wage, and they don’t ask for benefits and they don’t take vacation.

^^This.  Machines also don't steal and don't complain when there's a double-header to work.

For the companies leading the way in the automation of customer-facing jobs like McDonalds, the sheer number of workers they have means they'll save a ton of man-hours by replacing people with machines, and those man-hours will represent a huge amount of money, regardless of the base wage, simply because there are so many of them. 

American Airlines did a cost/benefit analysis on the little salads they served in first class at the time, and were able to save $40k (1987 dollars or closer to $100k now) by cutting the ingredients from three olives down to two.  The fast food places have been wanting to cut labor for years (decades probably). The technology hasn't been there for very long and the customer base hasn't been tech-savvy enough to accept the change till very recently.  It's not the rising minimum wage that's driving any of this.