On the Road: Putzing Around the Pfitz in Potomac

To see all posts from my June 29, 2015 visit to the Potomac Nationals (this is Part One) click HERE. To see all of the posts from my June 2015 trip through the Virginias, click HERE. To see ALL of my “On the Road” posts (going back to 2010), click HERE.

2015 “On the Road” landing page HERE! 

The Potomac Nationals were the penultimate stop on this, my pen-penultimate road trip of the season. The P-Nats, as they are known colloquially, play in G. Richard Pfitzner Stadium. This facility is known colloquially as “The Pfitz.”

The Pfitz is located in Woodbridge, Virginia, part of the greater Washington D.C. area. Driving in this heavily congested area gives me Pfitz, but I allotted myself plenty of time to make the trip from Salem and made it to Woodbridge uneventfully. After arriving at the listed alliterative address of 7 County Complex Court, I parked my car in a lot largely occupied by Prince William County government vehicles. After changing my shirt (yep, yet another instance of stadium parking lot toplessness), I looked around and was at first confused as to where the stadium actually was.

001 Ah, yes, there it is.

002

The Pfitz opened in 1984, and has not aged all that Orwell. P-Nats owner Art Silber has been working for years to finance a new stadium, an effort I covered in some detail during the offseason, and its days appear to be numbered. But despite the long-articulated deficiencies of this no-frills Carolina League facility, I was immediately charmed by it.
003Uncle Slam wants you to, per industry operating principles, enjoy an evening of affordable family-friendly fun.

004The main entrance of the stadium leads directly into the Cafe Area.

008The Cafe Area is locked in an unending staring contest with “The National Mall” team store.

011In the adjacent ticket office, I became acquainted with a triumvirate of recent P-Nats giveaway items: Wilson “The Buffalo” Ramos, Michael Taylor Flattop figurine and the Jayson Werth Beard-A-Rine. All of them make perfect sense and do not need to be explained.

IMG_1533To the right of the team store is a franchise Hall of Fame, which features some pretty big names.

014

015

We now transition from big names to a small concourse.

017But the front office still finds ways to be creative within these confines. I’d never seen a photo booth at a Minor League ballpark before, and think it’s a great idea.

018I soon ran into Andrew Pollowitz,  recent Lynn University graduate and P-Nats intern.

019Pollowitz doesn’t dress like this every game, or at least I don’t think he does. The P-Nats were staging the “Intern Olympics” on this Monday evening, an event of great pomp and pageantry that required costumes such as the above. Weiners could be seen everywhere.

020

Finally, mercifully, I made it out onto the field of play. The Pfitz is a minimalist amalgam of seats and bleachers.

022

This, allegedly, is the best seat in the house.

024Here, we see a rare living example of the non-descending dugout.

025It was a beautiful day for baseball. That’s all I ever ask for.

027There is little relief from the sun, however, a situation that is exacerbated by the Pfitz’s less-than-ideal orientation. It’s not at Bakersfield (or even Batavia) facing-the-sun levels, but still pretty bad.

028The start of the game was still more than half an hour away. Thus, it was an ideal time to conduct an interview. This, here, is Thomas J. Rhoads, a Towson University professor and author of the recently-published The Call Up to the Majors: A Proximity-Based Approach to the Economics of Minor League Baseball.

029I’ll write an article based on my interview with Thomas, as soon as I get the chance (as you may have noticed, I’m having a real hard time keeping up with my travel schedule this season). But I’d recommend checking out his book if you’re interested in the business of Minor League Baseball (although, fair warning, it is priced at an academic rather than mass audience level). From the back cover:

This book explores the unique relationships between professional baseball teams and the unique ways professional baseball teams are organized in North America with a primary focus on how proximity can and does impact consumer demand. 

After taking the photo of Thomas seen above, I turned to my right and found myself in proximity to this quintessentially Minor League Baseball tableau.

Okay, enough stall-ing, it was time for the game to begin. The starters hustled out onto the field for the National Anthem.

032While the reserves took their sweet old time.

033

As for me, I’ll take my sweet old time finishing up this Potomac Nationals blog series. It’s not like I’m leaving on my next trip in a couple of days or anything. Stay tuned…

benjamin.hill@mlb.com

twitter.com/bensbiz

instagram.com/thebensbiz

1 Comment

Long time owner Art Silber was also their first base coach for a LONG time, and wore number 42. He and Mariano Rivera were the last in organized baseball to wear #42, He stepped down as first base coach in 2012.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/dc-sports-bog/post/potomac-nationals-owner-retires-as-first-base-coach-to-honor-mariano-rivera-jackie-robinson/2012/05/18/gIQA7x7dYU_blog.html

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