Nats: “Without a new stadium..nothing to talk about.”
For the first fall in decades, the city of Richmond is looking at the prospect of spring rolling around without a professional baseball team to root for. This story has major political implications because of the way it has been bandied about by the candidates for mayor of Richmond. (Something my colleague Rachel DePompa has covered extensively on her blog).
The obvious choice for a marriage of baseball for a minor league city like Richmond would be the Washington Nationals. The Nats have been in D.C. since 2005 and have yet to capture the imagination of the beltway crowd. This despite a beautiful new ballpark and plenty of fan amenities (like the big-headed president mascots below).
It would appear that fertile ground where the team could develop fans from would be here in Richmond, only 100 miles away from Nationals Park. It’s a concept that the team’s play-by-play announcer Bob Carpenter talked about on the team’s broadcast last night:
“The obvious place, people would think, would be Richmond, but it’s a whole lot more complicated than that Don. There is no franchise available to put there right now.”
Carpenter was talking to Don Sutton, the former player and the team’s color analyst. Sutton talked about the Braves’ move to Georgia when Carpenter added this:
“Before anyone goes to Richmond, they will have to have written assurance that a new stadium is on the way.”
And so in lies one of the city’s biggest obstacles to bringing in another Triple-A team to Richmond. There is little to no talk about building a brand new stadium to lure a team here. I talked to an official in the Nationals’ organization today and he told me the following.
“Richmond is a great city, but until there is a new stadium there, there is nothing for us to talk about.”
I’ll have a complete report on this topic, including what local fans think of the idea of a Nationals affiliation tonight at 11.