Wednesday, July 11, 2007
The Topping Out Ceremony
Today was The Day--and an awful rainstorm wasn't going to damper spirits. The Construction Team of Clark/Hunt/Smoot along with Our Washington Nationals celebrated The Topping Out of New Nationals Park with the very last Steel Beam. This event became the Who's Who of Washington Politics and Nationals Baseball. If you were anywhere involved in the construction process--you were here on this first steamy, then downright WET AFTERNOON. Team Owner Ted Lerner, his son Mark, The Cohens, Team President Stan Kasten--among many other Team Officials. Of course Mayor Adrian Fenty was in attendance, along with Councilmen Jack Evans and Kwame Brown and a host of City Representatives.
This was a FESTIVE AFFAIR--no moment more thrilling than the site of EVERY SINGLE CONSTRUCTION WORKER (nearly 700 in all), along with every Top Official, signing their names to that final beam to be placed at New Nationals Park. Even SBF himself, was given the great honor of signing. No one was going home unhappy today. The Signed Beam will be placed above the Large Scoreboard in Right Field.
Red, Hot & Blue Barbecue provided Lunch for everyone. And, "Teddy", Yes, that lovable loser stopped by to shake hands and hang out with the Construction Crews. Our Washington Nationals provided those workers with Nats Caps, Cooler bags and Special White "TOPPING OUT" T-Shirts as a special thanks for their efforts.
Of course, just as the Actual Ceremony commemorating the moment was to get underway--a deluge began and DID NOT STOP. Did it EVER RAIN--And HARD!!! Everyone moved under the overhang of the Upper Deck to continue an abbreviated version of the ceremony. But, the fun of the moment, was not lost. The site of Team President Stan Kasten absolutely SOAKED, but not detered--very funny.
Mayor Fenty, along with Mr. Kasten talked briefly. Then, took questions from the assembled Media.
Principal Owner Mark Lerner telling me: "Its just so nice to see this day come. Its taken such an effort on a part of so many to make a date (Opening Day-2008) set in stone. Really, its an amazing effort. The other exciting thing is the neighborhood surrounding. I come out here every week, another building has been knocked down for a new and improved neighborhood. That’s very exciting. I love driving through this neighborhood watching it change, day by day."
The Press Notes included the following Time Table for Construction:
July 6th--Stadium Seats installation begins (although this has been going on for some time.)
July 23--Start Erection of West Garage Structural Precast
Aug 15--Erect Portions of The Main Scoreboard
Oct. 31--Lay Sod On Field.
Mayor Adrian Fenty, Team President Stan Kasten and Clark/Hunt/Smoot Site Foreman/Superintendant, Ronnie Strumpff, all took time to speak with me this afternoon at today's ceremony. Those interviews will post up tomorrow.
And, finally--here's a few more pictures taken inside New Nationals Park this afternoon.
Right Field Foul Line looking toward behind the plate.
The Press Box
The Light Stands