Finding Your Way Around G. Richard Pfitzner Stadium

The Finding Your Way Around G. Richard Pfitzner Stadium
by Malcolm MacMillan
  • Ballpark is part of a large baseball complex
  • Courtyard area beyond gates includes concessions, eating area and team shop
The ballpark has a large play area located below the first base bleachers.

If you get to G. Richard Pfitzner Stadium before the gates open an hour prior to first pitch, there are a few things for you to see while you wait. Directly in front of the ballpark, you won't be able to miss the team's ticket office. Three large ball fields surround the home of the P-Nats, and one of them is often hosting a game. Fans are able to wander throughout the complex and check out the action. Take a walk down the path behind the first base side of Pfitzner Stadium to see if anyone's working on his swing in the batting cage. You'll often see one or more players hitting here, and you'll have a front-row spot for the action. Keep walking and you'll get to the spot beyond the right field corner, which is a great place to find a ball hit during batting practice.

When you enter G. Richard Pfitzner Stadium, you walk into a small courtyard, from which the field is not visible. This area is certainly unique, but it's not without its appeal. The ballpark's concession stand is straight ahead and the courtyard includes several picnic tables (with umbrellas) for you to use if you want to eat in this area. Washrooms are also in this area. On a banner above the concession stand's windows, look for the pennants recognizing the franchise's four Carolina League championships. At the other side of the courtyard is The National Mall, a.k.a. the P-Nats team shop. Although the shop is small, its prices are some of the best you'll find anywhere. If you're looking for a Minor League Baseball cap at a reasonable price, this is one of your best bets. The shop features a number of other standard items for fans. On the outside wall of the shop is the team's hall of fame. The hall's members, including Albert Pujols and Barry Bonds, could field an all-star starting lineup.

You can walk toward the field by taking the walkway on either side of the concession stand. In this area, you're essentially under the main grandstand, which doesn't make your walk toward the field very picturesque. When you finally get to the field, you'll see several sections of seating and two small dugouts. The Nats dugout is on the first base side. Up top, G. Richard Pfitzner Stadium is devoid of suites and the press box is modest at best.

A big plus of this ballpark, however, is its intimate feel. Some Class-A Advanced facilities are large and stadium-like, but G. Richard Pfitzner Stadium doesn't give off that vibe. Here, it's easy to walk right down to field level to talk to the players, get photos and ask for autographs.

If there's not much action on the field when you enter, or you're not the type of fan who wants autographs, take some time to tour around the ballpark. Unless you walk in the cross-aisle that wraps around the seating bowl, you'll essentially be walking underneath the bleachers. Along the first base side, there's a large kids area and the teams' batting cages. Also on this side, look for a table belonging to the Potomac Nationals Booster Club, which sells signed, game-used bats and other P-Nats items. The club doesn't stick around for the entire game, so if you're interested in something, buy it early.