is the current ballpark for the Washington Nationals of Major League Baseball. It is the first LEED-certified green stadium in the United States.  The facility was opened in time for the 2008 baseball season-opening game (in North America) against the Atlanta Braves on March 30 2008, and previously hosted collegiate baseball games. It is located along the Anacostia River in the Navy Yard/Near Southeast neighborhood of Washington, D.C. and replaced RFK Stadium as the Nationals' home ballpark.
The ballpark, designed by HOK Sport and Devrouax & Purnell Architects and Planners, seats 41,888 fans and cost $611 million to build.
It sits across the river from the site of D.C. United's proposed soccer-specific stadium at Poplar Point. The Washington Monument and the U.S. Capitol building are visible from certain areas of the stadium.
The park's name echoes the original name of the old Washington Senators ballpark, National Park, which was renamed Griffith Stadium when it was rebuilt.
NATIONALS PARK TICKETS
Location and transportation
Nationals Park is located just one block south of M Street, SE
, a main (and, until very recently, underused) artery bisecting Southeast and Southwest Washington, D.C. The ballpark is accessible from I-395
via the Southwest Freeway, and from I-295
via the Frederick Douglass Memorial Bridge
, which carries South Capitol Street across the Anacostia River. The Douglass Bridge was renovated so that South Capitol Street could continue at ground level past the stadium (it was previously above ground level).
The ballpark is also accessible via the Navy Yard station
on the Green Line
of the Washington Metro
. Located a block and a half from the ballpark's gate in left-center field, the station is heavily used by fans on game day. Prior to the ballpark's opening, the Navy Yard station's ballpark entrance and farecard mezzanine underwent a major expansion, along with the addition of an extra escalator and elevator to handle the crowds.
The Nationals run a shuttle service from parking lots at RFK Stadium on game day, given that parking in the immediate vicinity is highly limited. Several Metrobus
routes service the park, and various other transit options have been proposed including a potential water taxi
service from Virginia.
Cycling enthusiasts are encouraged to ride to the stadium and offered some of the best parking available. Garage C, located next to the ticket windows along first street, houses a free bike valet service (compliments of CycleLife) where fans are invited to store their bikes safely for the duration of the game.
Financing for the stadium was expected to be provided by a banking syndicate led by Deutsche Bank
. However, finalization of the financing deal stalled due to complex negotiations among the city government, MLB as owner of the team, and the bank. The bank requested a letter of credit or comparable financial guarantee against stadium rent to cover risks such as poor attendance or terrorism. The requested guarantee was $24 million, with the city requesting that MLB provide the guarantee. The financing situation was since solved and construction began in May 2006.
The site of Nationals Park was chosen by Mayor Anthony Williams
as the most viable of four possibilities for a future ballpark. The ballpark's design was released to the public at a press conference on March 14
. Ground breaking was in early 2006. With an ambitious construction schedule of fewer than two years to complete the stadium, a design-build
approach was selected to allow the architects and builders to work in concert with one another. Ronnie Strompf, the project superintendent, coordinated the efforts of numerous subcontractors on a daily basis. 
The ballpark has 41,000 seats and features 66 suites, all around the infield
. Other amenities include the "Oval Office
bar." Team President Stan Kasten
also said that the team might sell the naming rights to the levels of the luxury suites, which bear the names of presidents Washington, Jefferson and Lincoln. While the city agreed to spend up to $611 million, Kasten has stated that the principal owners, the Lerner
family, spent tens of millions of dollars more on "jazzing up the park". The park has an out-of-town scoreboard, which is long, installed in the right field wall. The main scoreboard, at long and high, is more than 5 times bigger than the one at RFK Stadium
On March 13
, Kasten announced that not only was the Nationals new ballpark on schedule to be ready by Opening Day
2008, but that there would be a grove of cherry blossoms
located just beyond the left field bleachers. Kasten stated that the cherry blossoms will provide a look that Americans associate with the nation's capital. The Nationals also have plans to erect three statues in the ballpark, honoring Walter Johnson
of the original Washington Senators
, Frank Howard
of the expansion Senators
, and Josh Gibson
of the Negro League Homestead Grays
, which played many of its games in Washington. 
The 2008 Washington Nationals season
is the team's first in Nationals Park. The George Washington University
(GW) and the Nationals announced in February 2008 that the GW Colonials baseball team would play the first game in Nationals Park on March 22
. GW played Saint Joseph's University
in an afternoon game 
and the hometown Colonials had a 9-4 victory over Saint Joseph's. 
The Washington Nationals defeated the Baltimore Orioles
, 3-0, in an exhibition game
on March 29
, in their first game in the ballpark. 
The Nationals opened the 2008 MLB season
(in North America
) in Nationals Park with a rare one-game series against the Atlanta Braves
on March 30
, which served as the first official MLB game at the park. True to tradition, President George W. Bush
threw out the ceremonial first pitch
(and in a sign of his popularity, was audibly booed by spectators). The Nationals defeated the Braves 3-2 with a walk-off home run
from Ryan Zimmerman
giving the Nationals their first opening day win since moving to Washington. Chipper Jones of the Braves hit the first batted ball and first home run, while the Nationals' Christian Guzman
got the first base hit. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Zimmerman's game-winning home run was the third walk-off home run in major-league history to be hit in the first MLB game played at a stadium. 
The game was the most watched MLB opening night in the history of ESPN
The second game at Nationals Park set the modern MLB record for smallest crowd in the second game of a new facility. 
Pope Benedict XVI visit
Pope Benedict XVI
traveled to Washington, D.C. in April 2008 and celebrated Mass
at the Nationals Park for 47,000 people on April 17
. There were 200,000 requests submitted for tickets to the Mass. 
- Washington DC home to first "green" stadium in U.S.
- Major League Stadium
- Giving You the Score, Plus a Whole Lot More - washingtonpost.com
- At Last, Bound for Glory
- GW, St. Joseph's honored to open field
- The Official Site of Major League Baseball: News: Major League Baseball News
- Nats' Zimmerman plays hero with game-winning shot in opener
- The Washington Times, America's Newspaper
- Nationals Park Debut sets ESPN record - Nationals Journal
- Nats Set a (Non)Attendance Record - D.C. Sports Bog
- Pope Benedict Says Mass Before 47,000 in New Washington Stadium