The Washington Post

Nats wrap up regular season with early game

For playoffs, expect a crowd somewhat like the one heading for the gate on Opening Day in 2009. (Robert Thomson/The Washington Post)

The Nationals wrap up their unusual 2012 regular season at an unusually early hour.The game is scheduled to start at 1:05 p.m. Wednesday. If you’re planning to play hooky, this might be a good afternoon to walk from downtown to Nationals Park, or perhaps check out the Capital Bikeshare program before the playoffs start.

The Capital Weather Gang tells us that after the morning fog burns off, the afternoon should be partly sunny and much warmer.

Watch for some extra traffic in the late morning and then again in mid to late afternoon in the blocks around South Capitol and M streets, on the Southeast-Southwest Freeway and on the 14th Street, Douglass and 11th Street bridges.

On Metro, the Green Line will be extra busy through the Navy Yard station, closest to the ballpark. Fans who might be planning to park at a suburban Metro garage and take a train will find that parking is tight at the outer stations since even the early commuters will not yet have returned to claim their cars.

As you send the Nats off on their postseason hunt for 11 wins, this might be a good day to test out your own playoff strategy. Anticipate that when the team returns home in the middle of next week, the crowd at Nationals Park may include a lot of shameless front-runners who wouldn’t get out of bed for a regular season game and don’t know the basics about which parking lots are cheapest or which way to turn on the Navy Yard platform.

They’re going to slow down the regulars on their way to the game. And with playoff baseball, expect more fans to hang around until the final out rather than getting a jump on reaching the Metro escalators or the 14th Street Bridge.

With the reduced pressure of today’s afternoon game, you might take time to see whether the 11th Street Bridge works better for the drive than the Douglass Bridge, or whether a stroll down New Jersey Avenue from Capitol South Metro station is a better experience than dealing with the crush at Navy Yard station.

You might find some other tips in our guide for getting to Nationals Park.




Robert Thomson is The Washington Post’s “Dr. Gridlock.” He answers travelers’ questions, listens to their complaints and shares their pain on the roads, trains and buses in the Washington region.



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Mark Berman · October 3, 2012

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