That doesn’t mean everyone starts from scratch. Verizon Center has experienced plenty of postseason hockey and basketball in the past decade, although the surrounding Gallery PlaceChinatown neighborhood is very different from the one around Nationals Park. Still, transportation officials and fans have dealt with sellout crowds at the ballpark. And they’ve dealt with crowds of visitors unfamiliar with the area’s streets, parking and transit. Nationals Park has hosted events ranging from the 2008 papal Mass to the recent Bruce Springsteen concert.
“We expect sellout crowds, and we want to make sure fans have a good experience getting to and from the stadium as well as at the games,” Terry Bellamy, director of the D.C. Department of Transportation, said in an e-mail. “We encourage everyone who can to take transit or Capital Bikeshare, and we are making modifications to our traffic management plan to ensure we can move vehicles in and out as quickly as possible.”
Like the season itself, planning isn’t complete, but here’s some information fans can use as a guide.
A lot depends on the demands of television networks and the weather, to say nothing of the talent and luck of the team. There are scenarios in which the Nationals might play one game at home and be done. (We’re just sayin’.)
The National League starts a best of five Division Series on Saturday and another one Sunday. The National League Championship Series, best of seven, starts Oct. 14. The World Series starts Oct. 24. If it goes seven games, there will be baseball somewhere in November.
Some playoff dates and times will depend on the final regular season standings. If the Nationals finish with the league’s best record, they could play their first postseason home game in the middle of next week. Depending on the start time, it could either complicate the afternoon rush hour or test Metro’s overtime service.
The daily deals site LivingSocial stepped in to finance up to two hours of extra rail service if necessary after games. (Metrorail is open till midnight Sunday through Thursday and till 3 a.m. Friday and Saturday nights.)
Under the agreement, the first hour would begin at 11:20 p.m., when the last Green Line train connecting to other lines is typically scheduled to leave the Navy Yard station, closest to Nationals Park. If a game is still going at 11:45 p.m., a second hour of extra service will be added.
Fans heading to any weekend games would get another break. Metro canceled the major track work it had planned for the first two weekends in October, partly out of concern for delays and crowding that might affect travel to and from the ballpark.