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No fans, no problem: Finding the best views of Nationals Park

No fans, no problem: Finding the best views of Nationals Park

While fans won’t be able to watch live baseball from inside their home ballparks, a lucky few will from the comfort of their own home.

When a handful of fans around the country first strategically purchased or leased apartments with direct views of MLB stadiums, it was a fun perk, but now with the coronavirus pandemic, their homes provide one of the only opportunities to watch the abbreviated 60-game season in person.

Starting July 23, these die-hard fans will get to watch their favorite team and maybe even welcome a few guest spectators for the unique and coveted view, as Jared Diamond wrote in a story for the Wall Street Journal.

For Nationals fans, a number of Navy Yard institutions serve as their only chance to see live baseball this season. Here’s are the best views of Nationals Park in town.

1221 Van Apartments

Photo by Helen Kozak

Without a doubt, the 1221 Van Apartments have the best vantage point inside Nats Park. Located directly across the street from the stadium on Van Street, the rooftop view looks directly into the stadium toward home plate. With an infinity pool, grills and outdoor bar seating, it’s the perfect place to spend a summer night watching the reigning World Series champions.

1205 Collection at West Half

Photo courtesy of West Half

Another breath-taking view of the park can be found at 1205 Collection at West Half. While slightly farther away than the Van units, this virtually unobstructed view gives fans a look into the park with both indoor and outdoor seating areas. On the rooftop of this 465-unit apartment building, the bar area looks across the street directly at the stadium.

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F1RST Residences

Photo courtesy of First Residences

For a more distanced view, fans can witness the action at Nats Park from the rooftop of F1RST Residences. The communal space on top of the apartment building offers a partially obstructed view of the stadium as well as a TV to watch the action up close.

Top of the Yard Rooftop Bar & Bites

Photo courtesy of Top of the Yard

Finally, the Hampton Inn & Suites Washington DC-Navy Yard offers a view for die-hard baseball fans at its Top of the Yard Rooftop Bar & Bites. The outdoor rooftop bar at the hotel overlooks the stadium but is obstructed by the parking garage solar panels. But for a baseball fan with limited options this summer, it provides a glimpse into the action.

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Sean Doolittle is in Washington, but still not positive he won’t opt-out

Sean Doolittle is in Washington, but still not positive he won’t opt-out

WASHINGTON -- Sean Doolittle stopped his press conference to reach for his phone. He logged in, looked and then confirmed what he was about to say. His coronavirus test results from Friday were not back yet mid-day Sunday despite Doolittle already being tested again that morning. He’s frustrated.

“So, we've got to clean that up, right?” Doolittle said, rhetorically. “That's one thing that makes me a little nervous."

Sunday, with his gray cloth mask over his face and hair suggesting it was just freed from a hat, Doolittle went through his plan to play. There is no guarantee he will. He’s concerned foremost about the possibility of his wife, Eireann Dolan, who is high-risk because of a chronic lung condition, becoming sick. So, they have decided to live separately. She is in the area in case he needs her and not “half a country” away in their Chicago home. Meanwhile, he is maximizing his precautions while he feels things out at the ballpark.

“So she’s close enough where if something happens, if I get sick, even though she can’t be with me because she’s high-risk, she’ll be able to help in some way,” Doolittle said. “Bring groceries or stop by the house and make sure I have everything I need, something like that. From that standpoint, we’re feeling a little bit better about it.

“But I don’t know. So far – and we’re only three days into this – our medical staff has been doing an incredible job. I think it’s running as smoothly as it can at this point. Like a lot of players, [I think] the opt-out provisions are not great. There’s a lot of players right now trying to make decisions that might be participating in camp that aren’t 100 percent comfortable with where things are at right now. That’s kind of where I am.

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“I think I'm planning on playing, but if at any point I start to feel unsafe, if it starts to take a toll on my mental health with all these things that we have to worry about and just kind of this cloud of uncertainty hanging over everything, then I'll opt-out. But for now I've prepared for the last three months like I'm going to play. I feel ready to go.”

A handful of players -- including two of Doolittle’s teammates, Joe Ross and Ryan Zimmerman -- have chosen not to play this season. Los Angeles starter David Price decided Saturday he would not play in 2020.

And, each day brings new positive tests -- as expected. Players continue to debate what to do going forward. Doolittle wonders what news his phone is going to provide every time it rattles because of an alert.

“It’s been weird, man,” Doolittle said. “It’s been really weird. My mental health is something that I’m really going to have to stay on top of. I can already tell this is going to be a grind mentally and I might go crazy before anything else.

RELATED: TWO NATS PLAYERS TEST POSITIVE FOR COVID-19

“Like I said, there’s this cloud of uncertainty. You’re always kind of waiting for more bad news. Every time I get a text message or something on my phone throughout the day, I’m worried that it’s either going to be some kind of bad news -- like somebody in the league tested positive or somebody opted out or so-and-so broke protocols and there’s pictures of people going out on social media when they shouldn’t be. And just the regular procedures of the day. It’s a lot. It’s very, very different. And unfortunately there’s not a long period of adjustments and there’s not a lot of room for error.”

Doolittle threw from the game mound in Nationals Park on Saturday. He wore his mask most of the time he was pitching (players are not required to on the field). His usual post-session fist bump for the catcher was stifled. There was no face-to-face discussion about how his pitches were acting. He left for a spaced-out clubhouse where the water sits outside of a fridge so no one repeatedly touches a handle. Then, he went home to a different place than where his wife is, waiting for his coronavirus test results from the last three days.

This will be his life from now until at least the middle of October, if not later, should he choose to play and baseball make it that long. Both remain in question.

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Two Nationals players test positive for the novel coronavirus, COVID-19

Two Nationals players test positive for the novel coronavirus, COVID-19

Two Nationals players tested positive for COVID-19, manager Davey Martinez said Sunday. Martinez did not identify the players.

He did say the positive tests were the result of testing conducted July 1 during the team’s initial intake testing and the players have not returned to the park since then.

The Nationals are also awaiting more results after 58 players took intake tests. There are still outstanding test results for Latin American players who arrived late to summer camp.

“Everybody assumed that everybody (that) got in got tested on Wednesday,” Martinez said. “That wasn’t the case for us. We still got guys out there that came in late and are still waiting on the results. I think being — this weekend, things were a little tough because it was a holiday weekend. So hopefully we’ll get all these results tomorrow and guys will start trickling in and get ready to work out.”

RELATED: MLB’S FIRST ROUND OF CORONAVIRUS TESTING SHOWS LOW POSITIVITY RATE

Major League Baseball reported a 1.2 percent positive rate from its initial league-wide tests, well below the rolling seven-day national average of 7.4. However, more players, including Atlanta first baseman Freddie Freeman, have now also tested positive.

Sean Doolittle cited multiple concerns Sunday. He said his results from Friday -- as part of MLB’s every-other-day testing -- still were not back by mid-day, though he had been tested again Sunday. The time lag for results is becoming a consistent theme in the sport.

“We’ve got to clean that up,” Doolittle said.

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Also, underlying health conditions have often been cited as a key concern during the pandemic. Martinez underwent a heart procedure last fall, which puts him at a higher risk while he watches over his players.

“As we all know, I’m definitely at a little bit of a risk, but I’m doing everything I can to stay healthy,” Martinez said. “I wash my hands 47 times a day. I wear my mask everywhere. I leave here with gloves on. I’m going to do everything I can to stay healthy. The biggest part of that is not to get anybody else sick, in case I do come up with it. I don’t want to get anybody sick. I worry about that more than I worry about me getting sick. I just want to make sure I’m healthy and everybody else stays healthy.”

The two players who tested positive are the first positive cases in the organization since an employee tested positive in April.

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