Nationals unveil new videoboard

Nationals unveil new videoboard

WASHINGTON -- At some point, ballpark designers will stop making videoboards that are increasingly larger and larger.

That day has not yet arrived.

The Nationals upped the ante in the electronic arms race on Tuesday, unveiling the team's new videoboard, a 4,811-square- foot dazzler that will beam entertainment and replays in high-definition.

"It's as fine a board as there is anywhere in the world," team president Stan Kasten said.

Fans will have to enjoy that boast now, because other teams are, of course, working to keep up with the Kastens -- the Kansas City Royals will unveil a bigger videoboard next spring.

In-game graphics will have a stars and stripes theme to them. The club showed off the capabilities of the board and the video screens located around the park. There are over 1 million pixels on the main board.

"It's a very appropriate board for this world-class stadium," Matthew Cutts of the DC Sports and Entertainment Commission said.

The ceremony was also an opportunity for reporters to tour the ballpark in an almost-finished state. The park has a game day appearance to it, and will be ready for an exhibition game against the Orioles on March 29.

As construction winds down the team also offered several new details about park amenities, including a list of food vendors.

Stationed around the ballpark will be several local restaurants, including: Ben's Chili Bowl, Boardwalk Fries, Cantina Marina, Gifford's Ice Cream, Kosher Sports, Krazee Ice, Hard Times Cafe, La Piccola Gelateria, Mayorga Coffee, Noah's Pretzels and Red Hot & Blue.

There will also be concession stands that will offer typical baseball fare, as well as changing ones that offer food corresponding to the visiting team's specialties, such as pierogies when the Pirates are in town and sushi for the Dodgers' visits.

In total, there will be 49 concession stands scattered throughout the park.

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This was all announced during a ceremony to install home plate on the new field. Team mascot Screech brought in the home plate that was used at RFK Stadium.

"We're putting it in with the hope that we get to use it a heck of a lot more this year than we did last year," Kasten joked.

Amenities aside, people will watch baseball at the new stadium, and Kasten said a lot of thought went into that experience.

"If you're one of those people that just wants to sit and watch baseball for nine innings, this will be as good of a park as any that has ever been built," he said. "You can see the proximity of the seats and that they're all angled toward the action."

But the show was stolen by the videoboard, which at 102 feet wide and 47 feet tall covers an area about three sections of seats wide.

It's tough to miss, which is exactly the idea.

"It's such an important part of the modern experience," Kasten said. "We had to have the very best, and that's what we got."

Michael Phillips is a contributor to This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.