Art Silber has had plenty of chances — and reasons — to give up on his dream of a new ballpark for the Potomac Nationals. For more than two decades, Silber has rolled out replacement plans for Pfitzner Stadium, the P-Nats’ ballpark in Northern Virginia that has been considered out-of-date for just as long, only to see each project collapse.
Silber said he will soon announce a new proposal for a ballpark, a little over a year after his latest — and most promising — bid fell through. Silber said he has been in talks with several Northern Virginia communities interested in hosting his Carolina League franchise. He plans to announce his new project in the next 60 to 90 days.
Silber wouldn’t reveal the locations he’s considering, however last summer he called Fredericksburg, Va., a “very viable” market, according to the Free Lance-Star. Fredericksburg has previously flirted with other minor league teams, including as a landing spot for the Hagerstown Suns in 2014.
Silber, a Brooklyn native and lifelong Jackie Robinson fan who used to wear No. 42 while coaching first base for the P-Nats, remains optimistic about building a new ballpark — even if history has given him reasons to not be. “I’m 77 now. I believe that we will celebrate my 80th birthday in a new ballpark.”
Don Logan received the ultimate gift at the start of his 35th season with the Las Vegas 51s: a brand new ballpark. Of course, the new stadium being built in a suburb of the city doesn’t officially belong to the longtime team president, but Logan can be forgiven if he feels a particular attachment to it. After all, he has spent more than two decades trying to bring one to Vegas.
“It’s a relief, to be honest,” Logan said.
Logan could finally exhale after years of starts and stops when shovels finally hit the dirt last February during a ceremonial groundbreaking for Las Vegas Ballpark in Summerlin, an affluent planned community on the northwestern outskirts of Las Vegas developed by the Howard Hughes Corporation — the same entity that purchased a stake in the 51s in 2013. The real estate development company took over control of the franchise last May and quickly moved forward with the rumored plan of building a state-of-the-art ballpark in Summerlin, marking the end of an era for Logan and the beginning of a new one for the city, team, Pacific Coast League and even minor league baseball as a whole.
The new ballpark, which is being funded by an $80 million naming rights deal from the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority and built on an 8-acre lot owned by the Howard Hughes Corporation, secures the team’s future in a city critical to the Pacific Coast League’s footprint because of the ease of travel through McCarran International Airport. Although the new ballpark has the potential to be one of the finest in the sport, and will represent everything that longtime home Cashman Field is not, it will also test minor league baseball’s “affordable, family friendly entertainment” business model in a market with no shortage of entertainment options.