Jim Caple rates Nationals Park

Nationals Park is a nice place to watch a baseball game -- especially if you have a Washington lobbyist paying for everything. We're all used to expensive prices at the stadium but this place took it to a new level when it opened three years ago by charging $325 for box seats behind home plate, up to $70 for some seats in center field (since lowered to $59) and as much as $8 for a slice of pizza. No wonder Stephen Strasburg wanted such a large signing bonus. He probably figured he would have to eat his meals at the ballpark.

Interestingly, my favorite seats are the cheapest. Way up in the upper deck down the left field line, $5 gets you views the Washington Monument and the Capitol in addition to the field. The Nats have added tributes to Washington's baseball past with statues of Walter Johnson, Josh Gibson and Frank Howard, as well as a new concession area that gets rave reviews. I really like the access -- both getting to and around the stadium -- but just be careful navigating the cash registers.

Score: 76

To see where Nationals Park ranks among the parks Jim has graded, check out his latest Off Base column, which also suggests the Dodgers' woes actually present a golden opportunity for baseball to solve several other issues.