FAQ: Everything you need to know about 2023 Washington Nationals season opener

The Washington Nationals will begin their 2023 MLB regular season Thursday afternoon at Nationals Park.

The team is coming off a down 2022 — they finished with 55 wins and 107 losses, including a 26-55 home record.

Here are some things to know about the team for opening day.


  • Q: Who will the Nats play on Thursday?
  • The Nats will play host to the Atlanta Braves.

  • Q: What time does the game start?
  • Play is set to start just after 1 p.m. The gates will open earlier, at 11:30 a.m. On-field pre-game ceremonies are set to begin at 12:20 p.m., including a presentation of colors by the United States Armed Forces Color Guard, the national anthem performed by D.C. Washington and a flyover by the 121st Fighter Squadron, D.C. Air National Guard, Capital Guardians.

  • Q: Who are the starting pitchers for the game?
  • The starting pitchers for the game are Patrick Corbin for the Nats and Max Fried for the Braves.

  • Q: Who will throw out the first pitch?
  • The team announced that Oksana Markarova, Ukraine’s ambassador to the United States, will throw out the ceremonial first pitch to kickoff the new season.

    “We are honored to have Ambassador Markarova join us as we celebrate the start of the baseball season,” Washington Nationals managing principal owner Mark D. Lerner said in a news release. “We deeply admire Ambassador Markarova’s leadership and courage, and the strength of all Ukrainian people, during this most difficult time, and we are proud to lend our support as we stand with Ukraine.”

  • Q: How do I get to Nats Park?
  • If you plan to take the train, the closest stop is Navy Yard-Ballpark on the Green line.

    There will be parking restrictions and road closures three hours before the start of the game, ending an hour and a half after the game is over.

    The following streets will be under the restrictions:

    • N Street from South Capitol Street to First Street, SE
    • Half Street from M Street to N Street, SE
    • Van Street from M Street to N Street, SE (local traffic only)
    • Cushing Place from M Street to N Street, SE (local traffic only)

    There are also parking garages at Geico Garage that can be accessed from N Street and South Capitol Street, SE, and other parking garages along Van Street or Cushing Place be accessed from M Street, SE. Following each game, all motorists who parked in the Geico Garage will be directed northbound on South Capitol Street toward I Street and have the option to travel north in the 3rd Street Tunnel or west on I-395 toward Virginia. All motorists who parked in Garage C will be directed southbound on South Capitol Street, across the Frederick Douglass Bridge, and have the option to travel south on I-295, north on I-295, or east on Suitland Parkway.

    The following traffic closures start before the end of every home game and will reopen approximately 45 minutes after each game:

    • First Street from M Street to Potomac Avenue, SE
    • Potomac Avenue from South Capitol Street to First Street, SE
    • Northbound South Capitol Street from Firth Sterling Avenue to M Street, SE
    • Howard Road from Firth Sterling Avenue to Suitland Parkway, SE
    • Southbound I-295 – Exit 4 (exit to Suitland Parkway or South Capitol Street)
    • Eastbound I-395 – Exit 1A (exit to South Capitol Street)

    During the temporary closures at the end of each game, residents who reside within the traffic closures along Potomac Avenue or First Street SE may enter at First Street and M Street SE.

    All other traffic restrictions can be seen on D.C. police’s website. 

  • Q: What are some changes at Nationals Park?
  • There are some new changes inside Nationals Park to make the fans’ game day experience memorable.

    They include additional local vendors for food offerings and grab-and-go drink options, clothing brands such as Columbia, johnnie-O and Vineyard Vines offering new lines of premium products like t-shirts and new bobbleheads.

  • Q: What's the ball park's bag policy?
  • All bags coming into Nats Park larger than a clutch must be clear plastic, vinyl or PVC and can’t be larger than 16 inches by 16 inches by 8 inches.

    Fans with medical bags or diaper bags can use the ADA/Family lanes at the Center Field and Home Plate gates to have their items inspected.

    Binbox lockers are available for fans to store over-size bags.

    You can find more information about the bag policy at Nats.com/BagPolicy.

  • Q: Anything else special happening on opening day?
  • The answer is yes.

    The Nationals will be honoring their late former managing principal owner Ted Lerner, as he will be added to the team’s Ring of Honor. He died in February at 97 years old, and was known for bringing the team to the nation’s capital in 2005.

    Lerner played a huge role in building the Nationals into a perennial playoff contender, before they won their first World Series title in franchise history.

Tadiwos Abedje

Tadi Abedje is a freelance digital writer/editor for WTOP. He was born in Washington, D.C., and grew up in Northern Virginia. Journalism has been his No. 1 passion since he was a kid and he is blessed to be around people, telling their stories and sharing them with the world.

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