Opening day bridges excitement, tradition and an electric environment around the ballpark. There's just one problem.
Fans want more things to do before and after the game around the stadium.
Nationals Park opened five years ago with the promise of development all around the ballpark.
The recession stalled development plans, with only a handful of dining or drinking venues open five years later. It leaves fans hungry for more.
"One of the wonderful things that happened with Verizon Center is how that whole neighborhood grew," says fan Marlene Koenig.
Finally, however, more options are surfacing. It's opening day Monday for the Gordon Biersch Brew-pub, the largest restaurant to open near the ballpark so far.
"We'd like to have more restaurants come in because that just provides critical mass and brings more and more and more people down," says Gordon Biersch regional manager Arthur Forgette.
More will open soon - some this season, some in 2014 - along with a grocery store and eventually blocks of retail and restaurant space right next to the ballpark. It's just like the plan five years ago, except this time the construction is already underway.