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Nats propose plan for roof at Nationals Park

Nov 26, 2013, 7:16 PM EST

Photo by Mark Zuckerman Photo by Mark Zuckerman

Six years after opening Nationals Park the Nats want to renovate.

NBC Washington has reported the Nationals’ plans to build a roof over the 41,000 seat stadium in Southeast D.C. They are, as of now, just ‘plans’ as the city would have to not only approve of the project, but pay for it. Mark Segraves of NBC says the roof installation would cost upwards of $300 million and the money would come from D.C. taxpayers.

Segraves says the team approached Mayor Vincent Gray’s office to propose the idea. This is after citizens of the District paid nearly $700 million in tax dollars in 2006 to build the park.

Gray and the city are also dealing with a proposed plan to build a new stadium for D.C. United in the same neighborhood, a project that will also cost hundreds of millions of dollars. Segraves said the city is “reluctant” to agree to the Nats’ deal and it appears unlikely at this point.

Opened in 2008, Nationals Park has been home to the Nationals for six seasons. The team has dealt with rain delays just like others around the league, and there is the vaunted ‘Sun Monster’ that shows up in August and September. Still, without extreme heat during the summer in the region or cold in the fall, Washington seems like an unlikely place for an enclosed baseball stadium.

  1. David Proctor - Nov 26, 2013 at 7:20 PM

    Yeah, this is lunacy. I can’t believe the Lerners even had the nerve to ask for this. It’s completely unnecessary in the first place and to ask for public funds to do it? Wow.

    • scbilly - Nov 27, 2013 at 11:57 AM

      Whoever came up with and pushed it through the organization to the point of a request to the mayor ought to be fired. As CH noted, there’s nothing about the climate in DC that justifies a roof for baseball, and it’s not as if the city government has an extra $300 million lying around unused.

  2. Hiram Hover - Nov 26, 2013 at 7:23 PM

    A report from the Onion has clearly gone astray.

  3. Faraz Shaikh - Nov 26, 2013 at 7:28 PM

    do we really want/need a roof? how many games are affected and how much scheduling headache does it create?

  4. nats128 - Nov 26, 2013 at 8:10 PM

    I really like the idea of a roof as you never have to worry about a rain delay.

    • Eugene in Oregon - Nov 26, 2013 at 8:14 PM

      But is it worth $300m? And are you a DC taxpayer? If the Lerner family really wants a roof, I’m thinking this one should be on them.

      • David Proctor - Nov 26, 2013 at 8:21 PM

        Even ignoring the financial aspect of it, I wouldn’t want a roof on the stadium. I like it the way it is.

        Plus, I get my best seats during rain delays.

      • nats128 - Nov 26, 2013 at 8:33 PM

        Not worth that amount however I hope its retractable. They should pay for it and in turn they will increase attendence.

  5. scnatsfan - Nov 26, 2013 at 8:49 PM

    As stated above, I’m not a DC taxpayer so I am all for it

    • David Proctor - Nov 26, 2013 at 8:50 PM

      The retractable roof sketch that the Lerners proposed was described as being, quote “butt ugly.” Does that change your mind at all?

  6. janebeard - Nov 26, 2013 at 8:57 PM

    Jeez Louise. Think how many players that would pay for. Totally nutty. Baseball does;t need no stinkin’ roofs.

  7. sunshinebobby - Nov 26, 2013 at 9:03 PM

    Hey, Uncle Teddy. You want a dome? There’s one empty in Montreal. I bet you I can get it for you. Cheap.

    • ArVAFan - Nov 26, 2013 at 9:07 PM

      Yeah, but the shipping & handling will kill you.

  8. Eugene in Oregon - Nov 26, 2013 at 9:27 PM

    Just saw that Paul Lo Duca is on the HoF ballot. Anyone else wondering if he’ll opt for a Nats hat on his plaque?

    • Ghost of Steve M. - Nov 26, 2013 at 9:44 PM

      Post of the day!

    • scbilly - Nov 27, 2013 at 11:58 AM

      I don’t think he needs to worry about it.

  9. letswin3 - Nov 26, 2013 at 9:50 PM

    Baseball is an outdoor sport. Also, how could you suddenly step out of the box while feigning another bug in the eye if there are no bugs. And is there really a BIE (bug in eye) metric, with an accepted standard for the National League?

  10. jimmydavis125 - Nov 26, 2013 at 10:10 PM

    No, no, no, no. No. As a District resident and tax payer, I say no. As a baseball fan, I give it a double no. The stadium is already on the sterile side as far as these things go. Put a roof on it and you make it even worse.

    Jimmy D

    • Sec 3, My Sofa - Nov 26, 2013 at 10:30 PM

      I live in DC; am settled here; work here; shop here; pay taxes here; vote here.

      This is a horrible idea all around. The unmitigated gall is breathtaking.

      • Sec 3, My Sofa - Nov 26, 2013 at 10:49 PM

        These are the same guys who won’t pay a crummy couple of thousand dollars to run Metro late for their games.

    • tcostant - Nov 27, 2013 at 9:54 AM

      I agree with most of these comments. I don’t want a roof at all, even if it was free. Hate this idea and shame on the Lerners for asking. Plus my seats are just enough under cover to not get rained on yet the view is not blocked.

  11. therealjohnc - Nov 26, 2013 at 10:46 PM

    This is such a staggeringly terrible idea that I have trouble believing that it is on the level.

  12. David Proctor - Nov 26, 2013 at 10:54 PM

    “These are the same guys who won’t pay a crummy couple of thousand dollars to run Metro late for their games.”

    Why in the world do people keep repeating this? It’s been reported numerous times that the Lerners have been willing to pay for it, but Selig and MLB did not want to set the precedent of teams having to pay for public transportation. Thus, for the playoffs last year, the Nationals had to go find a corporate sponsor to pay for it (Living Social did it).

    • scbilly - Nov 27, 2013 at 12:02 PM

      Convenient excuse. Would the Lerners face the same consequences the Cubs did for defying Selig and MLB about managerial announcements before the end of the World Series? Or that Angelos has for their “talk to the hand” response denying the Nats out of 10’s of millions in TV rights payments?

    • Sec 3, My Sofa - Nov 27, 2013 at 5:01 PM

      OK, a mitigating factor, perhaps. But Seligman didn’t want them going over slot to sign draft picks, and they blew that off. So they could do it.

      • Sec 3, My Sofa - Nov 27, 2013 at 5:02 PM


  13. sjm308 - Nov 26, 2013 at 11:10 PM

    David – its like the earlier comment talking about how many players the roof would pay for. Lerners pay for players you as a DC resident would pay for the roof.

    Personally, I helped build both stadiums in Baltimore and basically had no say in that. I can understand the residents of DC not being crazy about this.

    I also do not want a roof but it is more for the aesthetics then anything else.

    Doubt if this project gets too far. Hopefully we will be back talking baseball tomorrow

    • David Proctor - Nov 26, 2013 at 11:20 PM

      I don’t want a roof one bit. I think it’s ridiculous that they’re asking for it. But the Lerners have been willing to pay for Metro service, MLB won’t let them do it.

  14. pftaddict - Nov 27, 2013 at 12:45 AM

    Assuming DC did not spend the money on needed services, DC would be better spending $300 million to lure the Redskins back to DC.

  15. slidell2 - Nov 27, 2013 at 7:38 AM

    Oh my! If there’s a roof, I will have bought my heavy Nationals jacket and my Nationals lap robe for naught!

  16. 3on2out - Nov 27, 2013 at 8:09 AM

    A retractable roof is not a horrible thing…but as an add-on? $300M? Absolutely ridiculous. This falls in the “there is no news today so let’s generate some” category. It ain’t happening and a week from now we will have forgotten someone brought it up.

  17. Joe Seamhead - Nov 27, 2013 at 8:14 AM

    I miss baseball.

    And baseball should be played outside, with players wearing Oakley and Ray Ban sunglasses.

  18. Hiram Hover - Nov 27, 2013 at 8:22 AM

    Is there any other stadium that has a roof in such a relatively temperate climate? All the ones I can think of are either in much colder or much hotter/wetter places.

  19. sjm308 - Nov 27, 2013 at 9:18 AM

    Add to all this that the stadium was not built with the idea of adding a roof at a later date. Can’t imagine all the necessary work to the foundation. Lets just make sure the guys that do this are not the same people that built the new parking facility in Silver Spring.

    Seriously, NO ROOF!

    • scbilly - Nov 27, 2013 at 12:04 PM

      Or the new World Cup stadium in Brazil that’s in the news today.

  20. natsochist - Nov 27, 2013 at 10:04 AM

    I recall going to see the Twins a season or two before they left the Metrodome. It remains one of the oddest experiences of my life. Baseball is not meant to be played in a dome; it’s far too sterile an environment.

    Also have to agree with the unmitigated gall of asking for another $300M from taxpayers a mere 7 years after they footed $700M of the bill for your brand-spankin’-new, no-roof-required stadium.

  21. Jefg - Nov 27, 2013 at 10:24 AM

    Leave it open

  22. natslifer - Nov 27, 2013 at 11:13 AM

    Chase –

    How about some actual reporting on this so you can stop all this knee jerk discussion. The whole thing doesn’t make any sense. First off, businessmen like Ted Lerner never go to a 15 minute meeting to talk about anything that hasn’t been vetted and they’re reasonably sure of the outcome. It’d be like Obama going over to Iran out of the blue for a first visit and saying “hey, how about you just stop building any nuclear material” and Iran’s president going “No” and Obama just walking away. It doesn’t make any sense. And building a roof? No business person would ever say “hey, how about spending about $300M on a roof?” unless there was a very significant reason to want it, they had some sort of business case for it and they had done a fair amount of engineering work to understand how it could be done.

    Here’s my WAG for what’s really going on: the Lerners want the city to replace all the dark blue ultra-heat conducting seats (I’m a full season ticket holder and will never go to a summer day game and sit in the sun again). This has been brought up several times with the city but nothing’s happened. Perhaps out of some frustration, Lerner offhandedly says something like “well, you could spend $300M on a roof or you could spend $10M replacing seats – pick one.”

    Please figure it out – in the meantime I’m putting together my One Direction syndicate.

    • scbilly - Nov 27, 2013 at 12:07 PM

      I’m guessing that the Nats owners (MLB or Lerners depending on timing) had a voice in the color of those seats as a design element of the stadium. If the team wants them replaced, that should come out of their pocket, too.

  23. Section 222 - Nov 27, 2013 at 1:56 PM

    Hahahahahahahahahahahhahahahahahahahahhha. Hah!

  24. Section 222 - Nov 27, 2013 at 1:56 PM

    Hahahahahahahahahahahhahahahahahahahahhha. Hah!

  25. Sonny G 10 - Nov 27, 2013 at 7:57 PM

    Can’t say I feel too sorry for the city for paying $700 M for the stadium. With all the tax revenue they’ll get from the revitalization of the area, they’ll come out smelling like a rose. That’s in addition to the $5+ million they’re getting in rent and employment for a goodly number of their citizens.

    • Sec 3, My Sofa - Nov 27, 2013 at 9:57 PM

      Yeah, I’m loving all those new restaurants and hotels along Half St. It’s practically Broadway all around there. And then there’s all those great minimum wage jobs. I could clear hundreds of dollars a month!

      Look at the neighborhood around Griffith Stadium–well, where it used to be. A different planet compared to 20 years ago. If there’s been growth in SE, the ballpark was coincidental, or feeding off it.

      • Sonny G 10 - Nov 27, 2013 at 10:10 PM

        OK. Maybe you can start a movement to send them out here to the Dulles area. I bet we wouldn’t have any problem paying DC their $700 M back.

  26. natsfan1a - Dec 1, 2013 at 3:15 PM

    Saw the headline while I was out of town but hadn’t read any stories until now. My initial reaction was, “Is this a joke?” My next reaction was, “Baseball is supposed to be played under the sun and stars, on a field of green.” My third reaction was, “Is there any pumpkin pie left? Dibs on the last piece!” But I digress. Carry on.

    (Just another belated knee-jerk reaction/editorial from natsfan1a. Thanks for reading. And pass the eggnog.)





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