Prince William County baseball fans were disappointed this week when they found out the most hyped prospect in the Minor Leagues would not be playing at the Potomac Nationals.
The Nationals organization promoted phenom Bryce Harper from low Class A Hagerstown to AA Harrisburg on Monday, bypassing the high A P-Nats. Though the club said the decision was made to give the 18-year-old Harper more of a challenge, it has drawn attention to poor conditions at the P-Nats' Pfitzner Stadium.
Now Prince William County is working with the team to address some of the issues at the stadium for the short-term while working out a deal to build a new stadium in the longer term.
Corey Stewart, chairman of the Board of County Supervisors, said the team and the county Park Authority have already cooperated to fix some problems with the infield and expand the clubhouse. "The recent problems have been with regard to the field and the potential danger that poor condition of the field poses to expensive players," Steward said.
"The team has already made substantial repairs to the field in order to try to bring it up to a standard that was playable," Stewart said. "There’s some distance to go, and how we parse those costs out needs to be worked out."
Stewart said the team provides important sales tax revenue, jobs and convenient family entertainment for Prince William County. He said the county is pushing to get a new stadium for the team built in Prince William County by the 2013 season.
The county is currently looking at a location along Interstate 95 that would give the stadium much better visibility and accessibility than its current location, Stewart said. He added that the county will not directly finance the new stadium, but that the team will finance it by selling the naming rights.
"In order to keep the team and make sure that the business of the team is even more successful in the future, we’re going to need to construct a new stadium in a more visible location," Stewart said.