WASHINGTON — After a lockout and two rain delays, the Washington Nationals finally hit the field against the New York Mets to open their latest season in Navy Yard.
Nationals starter Patrick Corbin threw out the first pitch at 8:20 p.m. Thursday, almost four hours after the game was originally scheduled to start.
However, Rain showers proved no match for Nats fans eager to see the team play.
Fans gathered at bars on N and Half Streets SE before the game. It was a very different sight compared to Opening Day in 2021 when many D.C. buildings were still subject to capacity restrictions.
Atlas Brew Works, on Half Street SE, said it was nice to see so many people around the neighborhood again on Opening Day. Ballpark Brewery and Taproom manager Kyle Farrelly added it was good for business too.
“Kind of a nice rush, a sense of adrenaline just seeing how alive this city is right now, how many people are out in Navy Yard,” he said.
Walters Sports Bar, on N Street SE, also welcomed a lot of customers Thursday. The bar found itself in the middle of controversy earlier in the week when the District Department of Transportation informed the business it would have to deconstruct its $40,000 streatery due to pedestrian and traffic safety concerns.
However, the bar and the District were able to come to an agreement before Opening Day that allowed Walters to keep the streatery open. District workers placed jersey barriers around the streatery to protect it from cars on the road.
“We are sitting here, underneath this heat lamp, having a good time,” said Nats fan Ashley Herrmann.
Fans who entered the stadium Thursday may have noticed a few changes since the last time they were there. The biggest alteration dealt with security.
Now, fans are no longer required to remove their keys and wallets from their pockets or have their bags searched. The Nationals are now using a new technology that screens fans as they walk in a single-file line into the park.
However, the Nationals say all bags bigger than a clutch must be plastic.
Either way, fans did not seem to be bothered by any of the changes. They were just happy to see baseball played again at Nats Park.
“Opening Day, it should be a holiday,” said Nats fan Jose Camacho.
The Nationals lost to the Mets 5-1 on Thursday.