P-Nats exploring sites for new stadium

The Potomac Nationals, Washington’s advanced Single-A affiliate whose sodden field became unplayable at multiple points during the 2011 season, are exploring sites for a new stadium outside of Prince William County, according to a report from InsideNova.com this week.

Team owner Art Silber, who has been tangling with Prince William County over improvements to Pfitzner Stadium for several years, said this week he could look at Fairfax County or Loudoun County for a new stadium site, though he said he prefers to keep the team in Prince William County, where it has been playing in Woodbridge since 1984.

According to the report, Silber would pay for the stadium, spending roughly $22 million for a new facility. Construction would not start until 2013, with the hope that the ballpark would be finalized for the 2014 season.

The condition of Pfitzner Stadium has irked the parent Nationals for several years, with things coming to a head in July after Potomac canceled a doubleheader with Kinston because of an unplayable field.

General manager Mike Rizzo issued a statement on July 15, saying he had asked field conditions to be addressed under the supervision of Major League Baseball, and that “recent unsupervised work has resulted in a field that is even more dangerous.”

If Silber was able to secure a new stadium, though, it would eliminate the Nationals’ main point of contention with their top Single-A team. Stephen Strasburg and Bryce Harper both skipped Potomac in their path through the minors, though Rizzo said this July that the field conditions at Pfitzner Stadium had nothing to do with the team promoting Harper from Single-A Hagerstown to Double-A Harrisburg. Strasburg did make a rehab start at Pfitzner Stadium in August.