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Potomac Nationals

The Potomac Nationals were a Minor League Baseball team of the Carolina League. They were located in Woodbridge, Virginia, and played their home games at Northwest Federal Field at Pfitzner Stadium. After the 2019 season, the team relocated to Fredericksburg, Virginia, becoming the Fredericksburg Nationals.

Potomac Nationals
19842019
Woodbridge, Virginia
PotomacNationals.pngPotomac Nationals cap.PNG
Team logoCap insignia
Class-level
PreviousClass A-Advanced
Minor league affiliations
Previous leagues
Carolina League
Major league affiliations
Previous
Minor league titles
League titles (4)
  • 1989
  • 2008
  • 2010
  • 2014
Division titles (9)
  • 1989
  • 1991
  • 1995
  • 2004
  • 2008
  • 2010
  • 2013
  • 2014
  • 2018
Team data
Previous names
ColorsRed, white, blue
              
MascotUncle Slam (2005–2019)
Big Shot (1995–2004)
Prince Willie (1987–1997)
Previous parks
Northwest Federal Field at Pfitzner Stadium (1984–2019)

HistoryEdit

The Alexandria Dukes moved from Alexandria, Virginia, to Woodbridge for the 1984 season and were renamed the Prince William Pirates. Subsequently, the team was named the Prince William Yankees, Prince William Cannons, Potomac Cannons, and the Potomac Nationals.

The team was affiliated with the Seattle Mariners, Pittsburgh Pirates, New York Yankees, Chicago White Sox, St. Louis Cardinals, Cincinnati Reds, and lastly the Washington Nationals. The franchise played all its home games at Northwest Federal Field at Pfitzner Stadium, with an announced seating capacity of 6,000 people.[1] The team mascot was Uncle Slam, a blue creature resembling Uncle Sam in hair and attire.[2]

RelocationEdit

Previous attemptsEdit

The team sought a better ballpark for at least twenty years. When Prince William County officials rejected a 1998 proposal for a $150 million sports and entertainment complex on the Cherry Hill Peninsula by the Potomac River, team owner Art Silber changed the team name from Prince William Cannons to Potomac Cannons and announced an effort to move to Fairfax County.[3] In 2000, the team proposed a $250 million stadium and apartment complex next to Fairfax County's Dunn Loring Metro station,[4] but county officials rejected it in 2001. In 2002, the team and Prince William County officials reached an agreement to build a new $10 million stadium tentatively sited next to Pfitzner Stadium.[5] In 2005, the team announced preliminary details about construction of the stadium, due to open in 2007, but with the site undecided.[6]

Another ballpark proposal began as early as 2010.[7] In 2011, Silber said he was looking for a site along I-95 in Prince William and that a stadium would be privately funded.[8] By 2012 the proposal was focused on a site on I-95 in Woodbridge. The team and the county were reported to be close to a deal in December 2016. The county would raise $35 million in municipal bonds, lease the site, pay for site preparation, construct the stadium, and lease it to the team for thirty years. The team would cover the county's annual debt service and site lease costs. The county also would build a 1,400-space parking garage next to the stadium for stadium and commuter parking. The county sought state funding for the garage starting in 2012, but the extent and status of funding was never clear, nor was the final cost of the garage.[9] Silber said that Minor League Baseball required the team to be out of Pfitzner Stadium by the end of the 2018 season.[10][11] The team opposed attempts to put the deal on the November 2017 general election ballot, saying that would delay the deal for too long.[12]

On July 13, 2017, the Nationals withdrew the proposal for the new stadium in Woodbridge after it was clear it did not have the votes to pass.[13] Silber indicated that the team could be sold to buyers outside the Northern Virginia area, but that he preferred to keep it local if possible. Potential locations included the cities of Alexandria (former home of the team when they were the Alexandria Dukes) and Fredericksburg, as well as Loudoun, Spotsylvania,[14] and Fairfax counties.[15] Maryland and Arlington County were ruled out as possibilities, and Silber indicated it was unlikely the team would find another site in Prince William, either.[14] Alexandria indicated it wasn't interested in February 2018.[16]

In January 2018, Silber announced an extension of the team's lease at Pfitzner Stadium through 2020, still needing Minor League Baseball to approve playing there past the end of the 2018 season.[17][18] Silber remained interested in moving the team and building a new stadium, in Northern Virginia—including Prince William County—or another nearby locality,[17][18] but said he was not pursuing a sale.[17]

Move to FredericksburgEdit

Silber announced in June 2018 that he had signed a letter of intent to build a new stadium in Fredericksburg, Virginia, that would open in April 2020.[19] The 5,000-seat multi-purpose stadium will include a 300-seat club facility and 13 suites.[20] In November 2018 the Fredericksburg city council unanimously gave final approval for the Silber family to finance, build and maintain the $35 million stadium with the city as an "anchor tenant" making an annual payment to the club of $1.05 million for 30 years.[21]

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

Though plans call for the new stadium to open in 2020, the Potomac Nationals' deal with the city actually calls for the facility to be ready for public events by April 1, 2021.[23]

The Potomac Nationals played their last regular season game at Pfitzner Stadium on August 29, 2019.[27][28]

As part of a process to give the team a new name that included Fredericksburg,[21] a "Name the Team" contest that began in April 2019 received more than 2,400 responses on the team name, colors, mascots, and ways to incorporate local history and culture.[24] On October 5, 2019, the team announced that it had changed its name to the Fredericksburg Nationals for the 2020 season and that its marketing nickname for the team – "P-Nats" when the team was the Potomac Nationals – would change to "FredNats."[29][30][31]

PlayoffsEdit

  • 1989 season: Defeated Lynchburg, 2–1, in semifinals; defeated Durham, 3–1 to win championship.
  • 1991 season: Lost to Lynchburg, 2–0, in semifinals.
  • 1995 season: Lost to Wilmington, 2–0, in semifinals.
  • 2004 season: Lost to Wilmington, 2–1, in semifinals.
  • 2008 season: Defeated Wilmington, 3–0, in semifinals; defeated Myrtle Beach, 3–1 to win championship.
  • 2010 season: Defeated Frederick, 3–1, in semifinals; defeated Winston-Salem, 3–1 to win championship.
  • 2011 season: Lost to Frederick, 3–2, in semifinals.
  • 2013 season: Defeated Lynchburg, 2–0, in semifinals; lost to Salem, 3–0 in finals.
  • 2014 season: Defeated Lynchburg, 2–0, in semifinals; defeated Myrtle Beach, 3–1 to win championship.
  • 2016 season: Lost to Lynchburg 2–1 in semifinals.
  • 2018 season: Defeated Lynchburg, 3–2, in semifinals; lost to Buies Creek, 1–0 in finals.

Notable alumniEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Pahigian, Josh (2007). The Ultimate Minor League Baseball Road Trip: A Fan's Guide to AAA, AA, A, and Independent League Stadiums. Guilford, Connecticut: Lyons Press. pp. 88–90. ISBN 978-1-59921-024-7 – via Google Books.
  2. ^ "Meet Uncle Slam | Potomac Nationals Fans". Potomac Nationals. Retrieved 2017-03-10.
  3. ^ Shear, Michael D. (March 21, 1998). "Cannons Aim for Stadium in Fairfax". The Washington Post. Retrieved March 10, 2018.
  4. ^ Eggen, Dan (November 1, 2000). "Cannons Set Sights on Fairfax". The Washington Post. Retrieved March 10, 2018.
  5. ^ Weiss, Eric M. (July 4, 2002). "Stadium Deal to Keep Cannons in Pr. William". The Washington Post. Retrieved March 10, 2018.
  6. ^ 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 10, 2018.
  7. ^ Reichard, Kevin (September 27, 2010). "P-Nats, Prince William County working on new ballpark plan". Ballpark Digest. Retrieved January 3, 2017. After making several runs at a new ballpark in several years, [...] yet another new ballpark plan.
  8. ^ Buske, Jennifer (August 1, 2011). "Aging Potomac Nationals' stadium field to get a makeover". The Washington Post. Retrieved March 10, 2018.
  9. ^ Koma, Alex (December 14, 2016). "Potomac Nationals, Prince William County nearing stadium agreement". InsideNoVa.com. Leesburg, Virginia: Northern Virginia Media Services. Retrieved January 3, 2017.
  10. ^ Koma, Alex (December 30, 2016). "New Potomac Nationals stadium construction may face hurdles". InsideNoVa.com. Leesburg, Virginia: Northern Virginia Media Services. Retrieved January 3, 2017.
  11. ^ Rist, Hugh (February 16, 2016). "Potomac Nationals face 2018 deadline for new stadium". InsideNoVa.com. Leesburg, Virginia: Northern Virginia Media Services. Retrieved June 24, 2017.
  12. ^ Koma, Alex (June 21, 2016). "Prince William's $35M stadium deal avoids referendum". InsideNoVa.com. Leesburg, Virginia: Northern Virginia Media Services. Retrieved June 24, 2017.
  13. ^ Goff, Karen (July 13, 2017). "Potomac Nationals No Deal With Prince William For New Stadium". Washington Business Journal. Retrieved July 27, 2017.
  14. ^ a b Foley, Dennis (July 17, 2017). "Possible new homes for Potomac Nationals being considered". WTOP-FM. Retrieved July 27, 2017.
  15. ^ Maese, Rick (July 13, 2017). "Potomac Nationals say they might leave Woodbridge after stadium deal falls through". The Washington Post. Retrieved July 27, 2017.
  16. ^ Koma, Alex (February 1, 2018). "Alexandria not interested in Potomac Nationals". InsideNoVa.com. Leesburg, Virginia: Northern Virginia Media Services. Retrieved March 10, 2018.
  17. ^ a b c Hansen, Drew (January 22, 2018). "Potomac Nationals owner still pursuing relocation, inside or out of Prince William". Washington Business Journal. Retrieved March 10, 2018.
  18. ^ a b Koma, Alex (January 29, 2018). "Potomac Nationals owner in stadium talks outside of Prince William". InsideNoVa.com. Leesburg, Virginia: Northern Virginia Media Services. Retrieved March 10, 2018.
  19. ^ Hambrick, Greg (June 26, 2018). "Potomac Nationals announce plans for Fredericksburg stadium". InsideNoVa.com. Retrieved June 27, 2018.
  20. ^ "P-Nats Announce First Fredericksburg Ballpark Founding Partnership". Ballpark Digest. July 9, 2018. Retrieved July 10, 2018.
  21. ^ a b Jett, Cathy (November 13, 2018). "Fredericksburg finalizes $35 million stadium deal with Potomac Nationals' owners". The Free Lance–Star. Retrieved January 31, 2019.
  22. ^ Spedden, Zach (February 26, 2019). "New Fredericksburg Ballpark Breaks Ground". Ballpark Digest. August Publications. Retrieved May 20, 2019.
  23. ^ a b Spedden, Zach (May 20, 2019). "Could Fredericksburg Ballpark Open in 2021?". Ballpark Digest. August Publications. Retrieved May 20, 2019.
  24. ^ a b "Fredericksburg Ballpark Site Work to Start Next Month". Ballpark Digest. August Publications. June 25, 2019. Retrieved June 26, 2019.
  25. ^ "Moving dirt at the baseball stadium site in Fredericksburg". Fredericksburg Today. August 17, 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. ^ 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.
  28. ^ "Corredor's Bomb Drives P-Nats to 5–1 Victory". MiLB.com. Potomac Nationals. August 29, 2019. Retrieved August 31, 2019.
  29. ^ Caputo, Phil (October 5, 2019). "Introducing the FredNats, by George!". SportsLogos.net. Retrieved October 5, 2019.
  30. ^ LoMonaco, Joey (October 5, 2019). "Fredericksburg minor league baseball team unveils new name". The Free Lance–Star. Retrieved October 6, 2019.
  31. ^ Hill, Benjamin (October 5, 2019). "Fredericksburg makes Nationals news". MiLB.com. Minor League Baseball. Retrieved October 6, 2019.

External linksEdit