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NatsFest 2014 details announced with new venue

Dec 13, 2013, 7:07 AM EDT

Photo by USA Today Photo by USA Today

The Washington Nationals have announced details for NatsFest 2014, with a new venue set to host the annual preseason celebration for fans.

NatsFest will take place on Jan. 25 at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center in Southern Maryland, one year after the event was held at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in downtown D.C. Tickets went on sale Thursday morning and are available here.

Doors will open for season ticket holders at 10 a.m. on Jan. 25 with the general public allowed to enter at 11. The “baseball festival” as the Nats are calling it was a huge success last year. It features Q&A sessions with players and team officials, baseball skill challenges, photo shoots with fans and players, autograph sessions and much more.

Last year nearly every player on the Nationals’ 40-man roster was in attendance with Stephen Strasburg, Ryan Zimmerman and manager Davey Johnson as the only notable absences. Strasburg holds a charity event in San Diego in late January ever year and Zimmerman and Johnson were on vacation.

New players Doug Fister, Jerry Blevins and Nate McLouth will likely be there to be introduced to fans, just as Denard Span and Dan Haren were last year. New skipper Matt Williams is expected to attend as well.

Tickets for NatsFest are cheaper if you buy them ahead of time. Adult passes are $20 if bought in advance and $25 the day of. Children’s tickets (age 12 and under) are $10 if purchased early and $15 if bought on Jan. 25. Season plan holders will get $5 off the price of admission if tickets are purchased in advance.

The Nats also charge an extra $25 for autograph vouchers and the availability is limited. If you hope to get your favorite piece of memorabilia signed by a Nats player, you may have to act soon.

  1. nats128 - Dec 13, 2013 at 7:15 AM

    “The Nats also charge an extra $25 for autograph vouchers and the availability is limited. If you hope to get your favorite piece of memorabilia signed by a Nats player, you may have to act soon.”

    According to Tweeters I read, the autograph vouchers sold out within minutes.

    • tcostant - Dec 13, 2013 at 9:07 AM

      And that sad to me. It a sham that they charge that, and since they all go in “minutes” they will do so in the future at even higher price until vouchers last the first day there on sale. I for one, refuse to pay for an autograph. Jus sad :(

    • tcostant - Dec 13, 2013 at 10:34 AM

      Ghost –

      That is not really the point. If they want to have an event where player give them there time and charge for autografts, then that is different.

      Maybe it just me.

  2. nats128 - Dec 13, 2013 at 7:24 AM

    http://runningintheusa.com/race/View.aspx?RaceID=32674

    According to this website the Strasburg 5K has been cancelled for 2014. Also if you go to the Strasburg website, you are redirected to Ladanian Tomlinsons site.

    http://www.strasburg5k.com

    • tcostant - Dec 13, 2013 at 10:37 AM

      And Strasburg will still find an excuse not to go..

  3. Ghost of Steve M. - Dec 13, 2013 at 8:02 AM

    Weird, Nats128 your other post with the links on the cancellation of the 2014 Strasburg 5K has disappeared.

  4. TimDz - Dec 13, 2013 at 8:34 AM

    Is the venue bigger at the Gaylord (as opposed to the convention center)?
    If I am the folks in DC (after funding the ballpark and all…), I’m a bit bitter that the money is being spent in Maryland instead of in DC.

    Off topic, Once the area around the stadium is built up, do you think that the visiting teams will be housed at one of the hotels near the ballpark, or still at the Gaylord (which is where they stay now)?

    • Jw - Dec 13, 2013 at 8:45 AM

      Word is that Ted Lerner told Vincent Gray “Put a roof on the ballpark or you’ll never have a NatsFest in your town again.”

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Dec 13, 2013 at 9:00 AM

        FWIW, they wanted a venue in a hotel where the players could all stay and it added a level of convenience and security.

        I think it makes sense.

    • tcostant - Dec 13, 2013 at 9:09 AM

      Gaylord hotel is such a nice place, rather go there than DC any day of the week. Although I liked when they had it the ballpark (but in January not the year it was March).

  5. Section 222 - Dec 13, 2013 at 9:12 AM

    Glad you think it makes sense Ghost, but since you don’t live in the DC area, I’m not sure you’re sufficiently taking convenience for the fans into account. The Gaylord is a long drive, and most important, it’s not accessible by public transportation. That effects lots of fans in the area, not only those who live in the city. It’s nice that it’s convenient for the players, but they come to the ballpark every day during the season. Surely they could journey a mile farther to do it at the Convention Center again. If this was done for the convenience of 25 millionaires over convenience of thousands of fans who support the franchise, they’ve got their priorities wrong.

    • Ghost of Steve M. - Dec 13, 2013 at 9:24 AM

      You’re right unless you live in PG, Alexandria, or NE Washington. Isn’t it all about the players? ;)

      I guess by some of the posts not everyone can ever be made happy.

      As an aside, the Braves are getting major heat for a move out of the city. Moving venues is always tricky.

  6. Faraz Shaikh - Dec 13, 2013 at 9:30 AM

    Logan signed with Rockies, leaving Howell with one less possible suitor. Does it drive his price down and make him available for us? Do we have room for him?

    • NatsLady - Dec 13, 2013 at 9:46 AM

      Logan got a three-year deal at $16.5 MM. Heaven knows what Howell will get. Our bullpen is already pricey and if you want Howell, you might have to trade Storen for prospects. Otherwise, If Detwiler wins the No. 5 contest, maybe Solis to the bullpen?

      • unkyd59 - Dec 14, 2013 at 10:11 AM

        Hindsight being 20/20, it would be nice to have scooped Howell up last year, and have him in our pocket for two more, at last year’s price… Maybe would have been a better idea that Soriano…?

    • Hiram Hover - Dec 13, 2013 at 9:49 AM

      Seeing what Logan got should make it easier to understand why Rizzo found Blevins attractive–Logan is more of a strike out pitcher but also issues more walks. Otherwise, Blevins is equal or better in ERA, WHIP, and FIP.

    • pdowdy83 - Dec 13, 2013 at 10:33 AM

      I would have to say there is almost ZERO chance the Nationals would go after Howell if Boone Logan just got that ridiculous contract. The Nationals already have a surplus of relievers with multiple options (Detwiler, Solis, Cedeno) for a 2nd lefty. The bullpen seems pretty set for the most part with Soriano, Clippard, Storen, Stammen, and Blevins. That only really leaves 2 spots which would seem to be up for grabs between Cedeno, Mattheus, Roark, Garcia if healthy, Detwiler if he doesn’t win the 5th starter job and Ohlendorf. Ohlendorf has a major league deal this year so he seems to be locked in to some degree. It seems there may need to be a trade from our relief surplus. Mattheus is expendable for sure with Barrett and Davis in the minors and already on the 40 man.

  7. NatsLady - Dec 13, 2013 at 9:55 AM

    Was it a “success” at the Convention Center? I didn’t go (and won’t go this year), but I heard reports of long lines, over-crowded events, supply of hot dogs running out, etc.

    Basically, I assume if you is going, especially if you are going with children, you are making a day of it, including piling the kids in a van, pretty much as you do for a Sunday game. I figure that’s the crowd they want–families and kids–more than the buddy-groups, solos, and Saturday night young couples who Metro to games.

    • NatsLady - Dec 13, 2013 at 9:58 AM

      Bah. If you *are* going. Anyway, it remains to be seen if the event is a success at the GayLord, but I don’t fault the Nats for experimenting with venues.

      Also, you don’t know, maybe the Convention Center wasn’t available at the time the team wanted it, as I believe occurred in the past.

  8. natsfan1a - Dec 13, 2013 at 10:52 AM

    I’m just one person, but I enjoyed the fest last year and am looking forward to it this year. I didn’t do the autograph thing last year but just got a general admission ticket, and am doing the same this year. There were lines for food at the vendor I chose (in the afternoon), but it wasn’t too long of a wait imo, and they weren’t out of anything there. I enjoyed the talks I attended. They did boot you out at the end of each talk, as they’d also done at the ballpark, but I had no issue getting back in and I didn’t have to wait in the cold. Duh, winning. :-) As always, your mileage may vary.

  9. natsfan1a - Dec 13, 2013 at 10:53 AM

    (boot you out of *the room* at the end of each talk)

  10. sjm308 - Dec 13, 2013 at 10:57 AM

    Will not attend either. I loved going to the stadium even in the cold. I am totally unconcerned with players autographs and stuff like that but it was fun going down and just walking around the stadium, sitting in on a couple of Q & A sessions and thinking about Spring. I remember one year it had snowed and our group went up to our new seats in 308 (duh) and brushed the snow off the seats and just sat there laughing and happy about life. We have kept those seats for quite a few years now and its a great view of a game. With the addition of Blue Jacket brewery, Gorden Biersch, and a couple of other places to have a nice cold beverage, I think the Park makes perfect sense for an old guy like me. Maybe not for families though so I do appreciate what the Lerners are trying to do.

    Go Nats!!

    • Jw - Dec 13, 2013 at 11:40 AM

      The Rogers Hornsby NatsFest. Go to a bar near the ballpark, stare out the window and wait for spring.

      • natsfan1a - Dec 14, 2013 at 8:43 AM

        Now, that’s funny.

  11. Ghost of Steve M. - Dec 13, 2013 at 11:27 AM

    James Wagner did an Espinosa piece with Boras quotes.

    “He’s healthy,” Boras said. “He’s fine.”

    • Hiram Hover - Dec 13, 2013 at 11:40 AM

      Straight from the horse’s …

  12. Section 222 - Dec 13, 2013 at 11:38 AM

    Also, you don’t know, maybe the Convention Center wasn’t available at the time the team wanted it, as I believe occurred in the past.

    Right, I don’t know. Neither, of course, do you. There could be all sorts of explanations for why this site was chosen. One of them was definitely not that it’s more convenient for the majority of Nats fans who might be interested in attending. I sure hope one of them was not that it’s nearly as convenient for the “the crowd they want.”

    But I was mistaken about it not being accessible by public transportation– from Bethesda, for example, you could take the Red Line to Gallery Place, transfer to the Green Line and take that to Southern Ave., then take a 30 minute busride to National Harbor. I doubt many people will do that.

  13. originalnatsfan - Dec 13, 2013 at 12:17 PM

    According to what I read yesterday, the DC Convention center was booked for the weekends they wanted, so the team had to choose an alternate site.

  14. naterialguy - Dec 13, 2013 at 3:53 PM

    Gaylord National was one of the first advertisers for the NAts back when they were losing back to back 100 loss seasons and people were not so anxious to associate themselves. Really I think they may be the longest continuous sponsor. (whatever happened to WB Mason?) So with that being noted it makes total sense to have it there. As far as difficulty getting there I don’t think it is any longer to get there for anyone besides people that live in the District itself which is probably not aligned as much with the demographic of your average Nats Fest attendee.
    I’ll go where ever they hold it

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