The Washington Times - March 30, 2008, 10:39AM

\ Thought I’d offer some detail about Nationals Park that I wasn’t about expound upon in our 25 cent edition today. \

\ Generally, it seemed like things went well last night. I toured the ballpark for the entire game, seeing not one pitch, and talked to scores of fans. They all seemed to be enjoying themselves. If there was one comment I heard more than any other it was to compliment the “openness” of the concourses. And for sure, this ballpark has some wide-open spaces, particularly in the area behind the main scoreboard. \


\ There were some long lines at various concession spots, but Nats President Stan Kasten said that every single point of sale was operational, meaning there were no computer snafus that caused any stands to be shut down. \

\ Not surprisingly, the lines at Ben’s Chili Bowl were incredibly long, often as many as 100 fans deep. \

\ “We asked the guy who was at Ben’s ‘Hey, are you having a problem?’” Kasten said. “He said ‘no, no, this is what we do everyday. This is how it is.’ That’s not the answer I was looking for, so we’re going to work on that.”\

\ Kasten said the lines at Ben’s may diminish as fans realize that they can get a Ben’s half-smoke at 12 other concession stands around the ballpark. \

\ Another problem area last night appeared to be at the PNC Diamond Club, where there was some confusion over whether fans would get free food with their tickets. Kasten said the problem stemmed from the fact that the tickets for the exhibition game were comped, and so the computer system in the restaurant didn’t know how to process them. It won’t be an issue for tonight’s game, because the tickets are paid for and pre-loaded with a certain amount of food credits. \

\ As for getting to and from the ballpark, I think the general consensus is that Metro needs to find a way to prevent the massive crowding on some of the platforms. There was a lot going on in the city yesterday, but I know from personal experience and from talking to fans that there just simply weren’t enough trains coming through some of the largest stations on the way to the ballpark. I got on Metro at L’Enfant Plaza and had to wait a full 13 minutes for a train. That’s far too long a wait when the platform is already packed with people. \

\ I did not have the chance to speak to anyone who took the free shuttle from RFK, but one Nats official said that things were going surprisingly smoothly and that it could become one of the more popular options for fans. A big test will be whether it all works well during a weeknight when there’s rush hour traffic to contend with.