WASHINGTON (DC News Now) — Wednesday was Opening Day for the Washington Nationals, marking the team’s 15th year at Nats Park.
The Nationals played the Atlanta Braves, and hours before the first pitch was thrown, the Nationals crew prepped the field.
There were several festivities before the game. The famous Budweiser Clydesdales took a tour around the Navy Yard, Nationals Park shared a 15th-anniversary video, and the D.C. Air National Guard, 121st Fighter Squadron, Capital Guardians performed a fly-over.
Jonathan Stahl, the Vice President of Experience and Hospitality with the Washington Nationals announced new merchandise and new vendors.
Nationals players will be spotting a new addition on their jersey — a navy blue patch with Founding Managing Principal Owner Ted Lerner’s initials on it.
Lerner passed away in February. The team is honoring him with the patch on the jerseys that has Lerner’s initials and three stars. The stars represent DC, Maryland and Virginia
“He was their biggest fan and he was not only a supporter of the sport but also such a big supporter of the power the sport has in the community and so wearing this patch for them is a reminder of all he has given to the team but also to the city,” said Jennifer Mastin Giglio, Chief Communications Officer with the Washington Nationals.
A new grab-and-go Marketplace with certain food items and a new grab-and-go beer area. Folks with the Nationals said these new options are all about helping fans get back to their seats much quicker.
On the field, there are changes to rules and schedules to make the game faster and more exciting.
“20,000 t-shirts to the first 20, 000 fans through the door. 15th anniversary of Nationals Park that opened back in 2008. So there’ll be a video,” said Mike Ploger, In-Game Ballpark Host with the Washington Nationals.
“The best thing you can do is cheer really loud for the Nationals,” said Brittney Ramsey, In-Game Ballpark Host with the Washington Nationals.
Nationals fans will have over 80 chances to see the team play National Park this season.
The Ukrainian Ambassador to the United States threw out the first pitch at Thursday’s game.