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Nats re-up with Harrisburg

Aug 23, 2010, 7:06 PM EDT

The Nationals have signed a two-year player development contract with the Harrisburg Senators, keeping their Class AA affiliate intact through 2012.

Members of the organization had shown interest in aligning with the recently relocated Class AA franchise in Richmond but ultimately chose to stay with a Harrisburg franchise that has served as the Nats/Expos’ Class AA club since 1991.

“We are delighted to once again continue our relationship with the Harrisburg Senators,” team president Stan Kasten said in a press release. “Harrisburg, Metro Bank Park, the Senators and their fans have served as wonderful hosts for our players through the years. We look forward to introducing them to our next wave of exciting talent and continuing our longest-running minor-league affiliation.”

Today’s announcement comes one day after the Nationals announced a two-year extension with Class AAA affiliate Syracuse.

  1. Anonymous - Aug 23, 2010 at 7:27 PM

    This stinks for Nats fans in Richmond. Who cares about the AA team for the Giants? No one I know.

  2. Tank - Aug 23, 2010 at 7:29 PM

    Big mistake. Nothing against Harrisonburg, but Richmond would have been perfect.

  3. Stew Magnuson - Aug 23, 2010 at 7:37 PM

    This is great news. I go up there for a game about once a year. I love the location on the island, the refurbished park and stopping at Zembies before the game to order a sandwich named after Harrisburg Senators of yore. I had the Brian Schneider (French dip) last time I was up there. The Mark Grudzielanek "the Grud" (Hot roast beef) is pretty good, too. Ryan Zimmerman has the turkey melt named after him.After that, we walk over the footbridge and hit the batting cages before the game.It's a better experience for fans than the Diamond in Richmond.

  4. Anonymous - Aug 23, 2010 at 7:43 PM

    Love this move..good to hear I can travel to Harrisburg for the next couple of years! Richmond is a pit, thank goodness they are not headed there!

  5. dale - Aug 23, 2010 at 7:49 PM

    Baltimore grabbed the Tidewater market in triple A last year. Tidewater and Richmond are markets the Nats can not ignore if they are to increase their attendance. The Tidewater games are broadcast throughout the Peninsula and Norfolk/Virginia Beach areas. Besides a sandwich, what is to be gained by keeping a team in Harrisburg? My guess is that market is already a Philadelphia/Pittsburgh market. The goal of this franchise should be to try to grow new fans from people who may become lifelong Nats fans. Syracuse and Harrisburg add nothing but cold weather for the spring season.

  6. Anonymous - Aug 23, 2010 at 7:57 PM

    Richmond will have AAA nats in two years.

  7. Mark L - Aug 23, 2010 at 8:12 PM

    Richmond's stadium isn't good enough for anything better than Low A. what a dump!

  8. Richard - Aug 23, 2010 at 8:17 PM

    I like this move, too. Harrisburg is convenient to WDC, if fans want to see the AA team, and the newly renovated Park is a pleasure. I'm hopeful that anon@3:57 is right and the Nats move the AAA team to Richmond in 2013. It makes total sense, of course, re building the fan base, marketing, convenience for the Nats club, etc., and we know the Nats are interested in Richmond.

  9. Tcostant - Aug 23, 2010 at 8:23 PM

    Tank said… Big mistake. Nothing against Harrisonburg, but Richmond would have been perfect. +1 Here – Richmond would be a better base to draw on.

  10. Anonymous - Aug 23, 2010 at 8:24 PM

    Harrisburg isn't really any farther away than Richmond, and since the team has been there for so long – 20 seasons – it's pointless to move. Now, if the Nats would like to exercise their territorial rights to PG county and tell the Orioles to clear out of Bowie, now that would be a change worth making. Harrisburg is as much a Baltimore market as a Philly one – it's quite a bit closer to Baltimore than Philly – and for the O's to have their AA team there makes tons of sense.If Richmond ever got around to building a decent stadium, then I could see them getting an AAA team down the road. The problem is, without MLB expansion, there aren't a whole lot of teams to move to Richmond. San Antonio is a huge city and only has a AA team. Jacksonville is bigger and only has AA as well. So, when AAA teams are looking to move these days, they're looking for a better stadium for the most part. The Canadian cities – Ottowa and Edmonton – are long gone, so you would need to make the argument that one of the current AAA cities is too small – or the stadium to bad – to support an AAA team. That's not the really the case with any of the 30 AAA teams IMHO.But, if it were to happen, Richmond would be a great place for the Nats AAA squad. Certainly better than cold Syracuse.

  11. Stew Magnuson - Aug 23, 2010 at 8:26 PM

    Hey, if Richmond can build a nice stadium, and the Nats want to move their AA team there, I'm all for it. I'll still go up to Harrisburg about once a year and see a game there no matter who they are affiliated with.Meanwhile, the best way to bring in fans from farther south is to field a winning team.

  12. Brian G. - Aug 23, 2010 at 8:30 PM

    The Nats cannot just up and move the AAA team to Richmond, unfortunately. In AAA, cities own the franchises (this is different from who owns the team). An owner cannot put a team in a city that does not have a franchise. The Braves were the exception, because the Braves are perhaps the only AAA team that owns its own franchise (it also owns the team). The Braves had all the leverage in the world when it came to getting Richmond to build a new stadium … because of the franchise issue. When Richmond couldn't put a stadium plan together that could gain any kind of approval, and the Braves weren't willing to pony up much of the cost, the writing was on the wall. But I digress…. the owner of the Chiefs probably does not own a AAA franchise; I'm certain that the City of Syracuse owns it. So, the likelihood of any AAA team coming to Richmond during the next several years is slim-to-none. The franchises are hard to come by and take years to get, if one is even available.I hope this makes sense. Obviously, AA does not have the same restrictions (but I don't know what they are).

  13. Anonymous - Aug 23, 2010 at 8:41 PM

    Richmond WILL have a new stadium in two years and it WILL be state of the art.Count ont it.

  14. Anonymous - Aug 23, 2010 at 9:08 PM

    You may be able to count on them having a stadium. What you can't count on is any of the 30 AAA franchises 1) wanting to move or 2) able to move.

  15. Dave K - Aug 23, 2010 at 9:24 PM

    Brian G, not sure where you are getting your info, but the only government which owns a team are the Clippers, which is owned jointly by the City of Columbus and Franklin CountyTeams move all the time. Reno just got their AAA team from Tuscon, Lehigh Valley just got Ottawa's team. Portland is getting ready to move.

  16. Richard - Aug 23, 2010 at 9:25 PM

    I'm pretty sure Stan Kasten and company could manage the details of a move of their AAA team to Richmond. They'd need approval from the International League and the Eastern League, which, of course, has a AA team there now; but Peter Angelos and the Orioles got approval a couple of years ago to work with Harrisburg re moving their Ottawa AAA team there, but eventually they decided to relocate to Norfolk instead. The Nats would need an ownership group in Richmond, if they didn't want to own the team themselves. Some Major League teams, in addition to the Braves, which owns all their teams, own teams; for example, the Phillies, Rangers, and Cardinals own teams, although not AAA teams. And, BTW, a new stadium in downtown Richmond, say, in the Shockoe Bottom area like the one on the table in 2009 would be nice. I'm probably missing a few details but I'll trust Stan to work it out.

  17. N. Cognito - Aug 24, 2010 at 2:22 AM

    Dave K said… "Teams move all the time. Reno just got their AAA team from Tuscon, Lehigh Valley just got Ottawa's team. Portland is getting ready to move."That's because the owner of the AAA team moved the team there or sold the team to someone from one of the cities the team moved to.

  18. N. Cognito - Aug 24, 2010 at 2:24 AM

    Tank said… "Big mistake. Nothing against Harrisonburg, but Richmond would have been perfect."When did Harrisonburg get a team?

  19. Anonymous - Aug 24, 2010 at 2:35 AM

    Uhmm I don't think the Syracuse Chief's Tex Simone who is a native of Syracuse will be selling the team or moving out of the fairly new (1997) P&C Alliance Bank stadium for Richmond? Another AAA franchise moving to Richmond? Highly unlikely … about as likely as Knight and Dibble walking to Auburn Georgia.

  20. Richard - Aug 24, 2010 at 11:54 AM

    Anon said "I don't think the Syracuse Chief's Tex Simone who is a native of Syracuse will be selling the team or moving out …"Okay, one last time. The Chiefs don't have to move. The Chiefs aren't moving. The Nationals can move their affiliation.

  21. VCUAlum Kyle - Aug 24, 2010 at 5:04 PM

    Mark,Can you find out what happened here? I live in Richmond and I can say the whole town was really excited about getting the Nuts = Nats relationship going on (Nuts= Richmond Flying Squirrels). From what the RTD (Times Dispatch) had been writing it almost was a done deal we were getting the Nats.Can you find out why management choose to re-up with Harrisburg? Were the Squirrels to hard to deal with? Was the Diamond (our stadium) the main reason why the Nats did not want to come?Thanks a bunchI am truly devastated over this announcement because I really wanted to see Bryce Harper in Richmond before he went up 95 to DC.

  22. Tim - Aug 24, 2010 at 8:40 PM

    I'm from Richmond as well. I have to say the stadium issue is huge. The Diamond was great throughout the 80s and 90s, but just got surpassed by most AAA and even AA stadiums over the years. A new smaller stadium may have even kept the Braves there; if not attracted a new team. But Richmond lucked out getting the old Connecticut Defenders. That team was looking to make a move up the ladder to a larger market. I never thought the Nats would relocate to RVA considering Kasten knows Richmond and the Diamond very well after his years with the Braves.

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