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Nationals meet and greet at the new ballpark page 2
Nationals meet and greet at the new ballpark

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ABOVE: An artist's rendering shows the completed project, expected to be a state-of-the-art facility when it opens for play next spring. The stadium will cost $611 million. LEFT: The green grass and well-groomed infield is a long ways off, though. Construction on the stadium's superstructure continues at a brisk pace. The field is expected to be graded in July and the turf should be installed this fall.
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Date published: 1/30/2007

By TODD JACOBSON

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Plans for the stadium call for an exterior of glass and limestone-like concrete--a look very different from the red brick retro baseball stadiums built over the last decade and a half.

As fast as the stadium has already risen, work will accelerate in the next few months.

Strompf said approximately 100 workers will be added to the crew of about 375 already at the site as electricians, plumbers, drywall fitters and other tradesmen begin to transform the guts of the stadium into a livable home for the team and its fans.

Steel work, including the lighting standards and a canopy over the upper concourse, is scheduled to be done by July 4. That's when the field will be graded. By October, the turf on which the Nationals will play is scheduled to arrive.

"The weather has been very good to us," Strompf said. "We've been very lucky."

Zimmerman and his teammates looked on with interest at the workers milling around the stadium yesterday, donning hard hats for a brief overview of the ballpark.

As Logan walked onto what will eventually be the playing surface, he wondered where center field was and joked that he hoped the unfinished outfield walls would stay that way, so he'd be able to use his speed to hit home runs.

O'Connor gazed at where he thought the pitching mound might end up.

"It's starting to look like a stadium," O'Connor said. "It's definitely coming together. It's coming up a lot faster. I guess it's only a year away from being ready so it's got to be far along."

Zimmerman had actually visited the stadium with Nationals catcher Brian Schneider several months ago. Much had changed, and this time, Zimmerman could truly see the team's new home taking shape.

"We like RFK Stadium but to have a brand new stadium that's going to be only ours and only for our fans to come watch just us is pretty cool," Zimmerman said.

Todd Jacobson: 540/735-
Email: 1974tjacobson@freelancestar.com


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