FredNats Ballpark

The FredNats Ballpark is a multi-purpose stadium in Fredericksburg, Virginia. The stadium has 5,000 seats, a 300-seat club facility, and 13 suites.[6] The estimated cost of the stadium is $35 million.[4] It is home to the Fredericksburg Nationals, a Minor League Baseball team of the Low-A East and an affiliate of the Washington Nationals, since 2021. The stadium will also host a variety of community athletic and social events. In 2020 and 2021, it served as the alternate training site for the Washington Nationals.[7]

FredNats Ballpark
Former namesNew Fredericksburg Ballpark (planning)
Address42 Jackie Robinson Way, Fredericksburg, VA 22401[1]
LocationCelebrate Virginia South
Fredericksburg, Virginia
Coordinates38°19′05″N 77°30′35″W / 38.31806°N 77.50972°W / 38.31806; -77.50972Coordinates: 38°19′05″N 77°30′35″W / 38.31806°N 77.50972°W / 38.31806; -77.50972
OwnerPotomac Baseball, LLC[4]
OperatorPotomac Baseball, LLC[4]
Executive suites13[6]
Capacity5,000[6]
Surfacesynthetic turf[5]
Construction
Broke groundFebruary 24, 2019[2]
Built2019–2020
OpenedMay 11, 2021 (2021-05-11)[3]
Construction cost$35 million[4]
Tenants
Fredericksburg Nationals (LAE) 2021–present[1]
Website
www.milb.com/fredericksburg/ballpark

HistoryEdit

BackgroundEdit

The Potomac Nationals, playing since 1984 at Northwest Federal Field at Pfitzner Stadium in Woodbridge, Virginia, began seeking a better ballpark at least as early as 1998,[8] with various proposals made in 2000,[9] 2002,[10] 2005,[11] 2010,[12] 2011,[13] and 2016.[14][15][16]

Meanwhile, Fredericksburg worked with the Hagerstown Suns in 2013 and 2014 on plans to relocate that team for the 2015 season,[17] but those plans fell apart.[18]

ApprovalEdit

In June 2018, Potomac Nationals owner Art Silber announced that he had signed a letter of intent to build a new stadium in Fredericksburg that would open in April 2020.[19] In November 2018 the Fredericksburg city council unanimously gave final approval for the Silber family, doing business as Potomac Baseball, LLC, to finance, build and maintain the stadium with the city as an "anchor tenant" making an annual payment to the club of $1.05 million for 30 years.[4] The team held a contest to rename itself[4] and announced on October 5, 2019 that the team would be renamed the Fredericksburg Nationals.[1]

ConstructionEdit

A groundbreaking ceremony was held on February 24, 2019,[2] but construction work had not begun as of May 20, 2019.[20] A month later it was announced that site work would begin in July 2019.[21][22] In August 2019, the Fredericksburg Economic Development and Tourism Office released a video of earth being moved at the construction site.[23]

The Potomac Nationals played their last regular season game at Pfitzner Stadium on August 29, 2019.[24][25] On September 25, 2019, general manager Nick Hall said, "We're 100 percent planning on opening April 23, [2020,]" and that the first concrete could be poured as early as the next week.[26] MASN reported on January 13, 2020 that Hall had said that construction was on schedule; that he was confident the venue will be ready for the 2020 season; and, "The seating bowl should actually be finished by the end of next week."[27]

With the 2020 season start postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Nationals held a virtual opening day on April 23, 2020. Hall said that the stadium was baseball-ready though construction was not yet complete, even though, with construction deemed as essential business, "The construction progress has gone off without a hitch."[28][29] Construction was continuing at the start of June 2020.[30]

UseEdit

The start of the 2020 minor league baseball season was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic before ultimately being cancelled on June 30.[31][32] The still unnamed ballpark was used in the 2020 Major League Baseball season as the alternate training site for members of the Washington Nationals 60-man player pool who were not assigned to the 40-man roster.[33][34] The Washington Nationals chose the ballpark to again serve as their alternate site to begin the 2021 season.[7]

The Fredericksburg Nationals played their first home game on May 11, 2021, losing to the Delmarva Shorebirds, 7–5, with 2,065 people in attendance.[3][35] At this time, the facility became known as FredNats Ballpark,[3] though there was some limited earlier use of the name, such as in placing a sign on I-95 in December 2020.[36]

The team also began hosting a series of concerts in 2021 including performances from The Beach Boys and Blue Oyster Cult.[37]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b c LoMonaco, Joey (October 5, 2019). "Fredericksburg minor league baseball team unveils new name". The Free Lance–Star. Retrieved October 6, 2019. In a nod to Silber’s idol, the stadium’s street address—the only building on a new road—will be 42 Jackie Robinson Way.
  2. ^ a b Spedden, Zach (February 26, 2019). "New Fredericksburg Ballpark Breaks Ground". Ballpark Digest. August Publications. Retrieved March 2, 2019.
  3. ^ a b c "FredNats Enjoy Warm Welcome, but Fall Short to Shorebirds". Fredericksburg Nationals. Minor League Baseball. May 12, 2021. Retrieved May 13, 2021.
  4. ^ a b c d e f Jett, Cathy (November 13, 2018). "Fredericksburg finalizes $35 million stadium deal with Potomac Nationals' owners". The Free Lance–Star. Retrieved March 2, 2019.
  5. ^ "New Fredericksburg Ballpark to Feature Synthetic Turf". Ballpark Digest. August Publications. December 6, 2019. Retrieved December 28, 2019.
  6. ^ a b c "P-Nats Announce First Fredericksburg Ballpark Founding Partnership". Ballpark Digest. August Publications. July 9, 2018. Retrieved March 2, 2019.
  7. ^ a b "Here are 2021 alternate training sites". MLB.com. March 24, 2021. Retrieved April 5, 2021.
  8. ^ Shear, Michael D. (March 21, 1998). "Cannons Aim for Stadium in Fairfax". The Washington Post. Retrieved March 2, 2019.
  9. ^ Eggen, Dan (November 1, 2000). "Cannons Set Sights on Fairfax". The Washington Post. Retrieved March 2, 2019.
  10. ^ Weiss, Eric M. (July 4, 2002). "Stadium Deal to Keep Cannons in Pr. William". The Washington Post. Retrieved March 2, 2019.
  11. ^ Campbell, Rich (February 14, 2005). "Cannons Make Name Change; New Stadium Also Will Be Built for the Potomac Nationals". The Washington Post. p. D04. Retrieved March 2, 2019.
  12. ^ Reichard, Kevin (September 27, 2010). "P-Nats, Prince William County working on new ballpark plan". Ballpark Digest. August Publications. Retrieved March 2, 2019.
  13. ^ Buske, Jennifer (August 1, 2011). "Aging Potomac Nationals' stadium field to get a makeover". The Washington Post. Retrieved March 2, 2019.
  14. ^ Koma, Alex (December 14, 2016). "Potomac Nationals, Prince William County nearing stadium agreement". InsideNoVa.com. Retrieved March 2, 2019.
  15. ^ Koma, Alex (December 30, 2016). "New Potomac Nationals stadium construction may face hurdles". InsideNoVa.com. Retrieved March 2, 2019.
  16. ^ Rist, Hugh (February 16, 2016). "Potomac Nationals face 2018 deadline for new stadium". InsideNoVa.com. Retrieved March 2, 2019.
  17. ^ Freehling, Bill (October 1, 2013). "Hagerstown Suns apply to relocate to Fredericksburg". Business Insider. Fredericksburg.com. Archived from the original on December 2, 2013. Retrieved March 2, 2019.
  18. ^ Gould, Pamela (November 25, 2014). "Baseball deal out in city". The Free Lance–Star. Retrieved March 2, 2019.
  19. ^ Hambrick, Greg (June 26, 2018). "Potomac Nationals announce plans for Fredericksburg stadium". InsideNoVa.com. Retrieved March 2, 2019.
  20. ^ Spedden, Zach (May 20, 2019). "Could Fredericksburg Ballpark Open in 2021?". Ballpark Digest. August Publications. Retrieved May 20, 2019.
  21. ^ "Fredericksburg Ballpark Site Work to Start Next Month". Ballpark Digest. August Publications. June 25, 2019. Retrieved June 26, 2019.
  22. ^ Baron, James Scott (June 24, 2019). "Work on Fredericksburg baseball stadium to begin soon". The Free Lance–Star. Retrieved July 1, 2019.
  23. ^ "Moving dirt at the baseball stadium site in Fredericksburg". Fredericksburg Today. August 17, 2019. Retrieved August 31, 2019.
  24. ^ Murillo, Mike (August 30, 2019). "Thanks for the memories: Potomac Nationals play last regular game in Prince William Co". WTOP-FM. Retrieved August 31, 2019.
  25. ^ "Corredor's Bomb Drives P-Nats to 5-1 Victory". MiLB.com. Potomac Nationals. August 29, 2019. Retrieved August 31, 2019.
  26. ^ LoMonaco, Joey (September 25, 2019). "Fredericksburg Baseball confident in being ready for 2020 season". The Free Lance–Star. Retrieved September 27, 2019.
  27. ^ Kerr, Byron (January 13, 2020). "FredNats on schedule for new stadium opening April 23". MASN. Retrieved January 13, 2020.
  28. ^ Kerr, Byron (April 23, 2020). "Fredericksburg stadium baseball-ready for today's virtual opening day". MASN. Retrieved June 13, 2020.
  29. ^ LoMonaco, Joey (April 21, 2020). "FredNats dealing with 'hodgepodge' during COVID-19". The Free Lance–Star. Retrieved June 13, 2020.
  30. ^ Nawrotzky, Kirk (June 9, 2020). "With inaugural season on hold, Fredericksburg Nationals can't wait to take the field". WRIC-TV. Retrieved June 13, 2020.
  31. ^ "A Message From Pat O'Conner". Minor League Baseball. March 13, 2020. Retrieved May 5, 2020.
  32. ^ "2020 Minor League Baseball Season Shelved". Minor League Baseball. June 30, 2020. Retrieved July 1, 2020.
  33. ^ "Washington Nationals Taxi Squad to Practice at New Fredericksburg Nationals Ballpark". MiLB.com (Press release). Fredericksburg Nationals. July 6, 2020. Retrieved August 23, 2020.
  34. ^ Dykstra, Sam (July 16, 2020). "Roundup: Major League alternate training sites". MiLB.com. Retrieved August 23, 2020.
  35. ^ "Shorebirds vs. Nationals Box Score 05/11/21". Minor League Baseball. May 11, 2021. Retrieved May 13, 2021.
  36. ^ Freehling, Bill (December 3, 2020). "FredNats Ballpark sign up on I-95". FredericksburgVA.com. City of Fredericksburg. Retrieved May 18, 2021.
  37. ^ "Fredericksburg Nationals Announce Late Summer Concert Series". MiLB.com. July 23, 2021. Retrieved September 30, 2021.