Sunday, March 30, 2008

Opening Night Thoughts--In Their Own Words

The construction of New Nationals Park has been a team effort. The District Of Columbia financed and built the South Capitol Street Ballyard. Our Washington Nationals, refined and assisted in the design--while thousands of workers--labored to make tonight--March 30, 2008--A Special Moment For Baseball Fans in Our Nation's Capital. With this big moment now upon us--I thought it might be fun to gather Opening Night Thoughts--from many of the Big Players involved in the process. Everyone I asked--thankfully agreed to give me their comments.

With that, here we go with Opening Night Thoughts--In Their Own Words.

Principal Owner Mark Lerner

"This is an incredible dream come true. I have wanted to be involved on a personal basis working on a stadium--in my hometown--since I was a little guy. We (The Lerner's) as a family are very lucky because this is a 'Dream Come True' for all of us. The entire family has been involved--one way or another--working behind the scenes to make this happen. We will continue to work, behind the scenes--to hopefully make this Franchise the very best in baseball. We are not going to stop anywhere short of what our goal is. Which is to make The Washington Nationals--The Best!! On Opening Night--I can't wait for The National Anthem, standing with The Fireworks going off--getting that classic fisheye photo. I am looking forward to that. And standing at the front gates--when we first open the park--just watching the many faces entering. I just want to stand over in the corner and just watch peoples faces. The Joy this place will bring them for many generations to come."

Team President Stan Kasten

Opening Night is an important milestone. A terribly important milestone. But, we still have a big job in front of us. We want to build a franchise that makes all of us proud for the long haul--that means on the field and off the field as well. Sunday night is terribly important because Our Fans can not have the experience, they need, until we got this right. We are also mindful we are still building the team on the field. The progress we have made so far has been great. But, also recognize, we have only traveled a short distance and we still have alot more to accomplish."

Our Manager Manny Acta

I don’t’ really know how to answer that question. I will not know until I first step out on the field during the announcing of The Starting Lineups. But, I can tell you that when I first stepped on the field at the Montreal Olympic Stadium Opening Night—my first game in The Big Leagues (as third base coach for The Montreal Expos)—they played the National Anthems and I just wanted to cry-because that was the actualization of my dream. I am FINALLY in the Big Leagues. So, I can’t answer that until Monday Morning or after that game. But, it's going to be special.”

Mayor Adrian Fenty

"The Opening of this ballpark means alot to me as Mayor to have a city that can be able to rally around a professional baseball team--like we have with The Washington Nationals. To have this project completed under one of the most aggressive construction projects in history--is something I take great pride in. Personally, having grown up in the city without a Major League Baseball Team to have one back now in The City--for not only my kids--but so many other youngsters and families for years and years to come is gratifying. Personally, Professionally as Mayor--I believe this is a HUGE DEAL. I look forward to standing out on that field Opening Night--Proudly."

Greg O'Dell--Executive Director DC Sports & Entertainment Commission

"Hopefully--it will be a big sigh of relief!! (Laughing). But, it will be a culmination of a tremendous amount of hard work by everybody. I will be forever grateful over what was accomplished. 22nd months to complete a job that normally takes 25. All the partners have worked together to make this happen. Many believed we could not do it. Well, we did it!! And for that--I am very, very proud."

Bill Hall
(For nearly 15 Years--Mr. Hall volunteered his time to help bring baseball back to Washington, DC. A lawyer by trade with Winston & Strawn--Bill is Baseball Chairman for The DC Sports & Entertainment Commission. He helped negotiate the contract that brought The Montreal Expos to DC).

"On Sunday Night, I will feel a great sense of pride and accomplishment. A long journey has successfully ended and a new beginning starts. Our own home team--right here in Washington, DC--in our New Stadium--that will provide a lifetime of pleasure for countless generations of young and old. It's a very, very happy day. All's well that ends well. This (project) has ended as well as could possibly be."

Chrystal Stowe--The Director of Community Affairs and Business Development--Smoot Construction

"I've become very emotional over the ballpark during the past week. Having been on site since those very first shovels were ceremoniously dipped into the ground 22 months ago and to look up now at all we have accomplished. I might cry. I am so very proud of everyone. What an effort. I will always look back on this assignment as special."


Anonymous said...


You mentioned that you and Sohna took the Nats Express from RFK to the new stadium. Did you notice whether there were any security personnel in place there to watch over the parked vehicles? That's the one aspect of using this that makes me a little nervous. I don't want to come back to a car with broken windows and/or slashed tires. How did it look? Thanks!

Screech's Best Friend said...

Mike Edgar--Yes there was security. In fact, many of the Nats Ushers park their also and take the bus. The only difference we really noticed was the lighting seemed to be dimmer.

Anonymous said...

Much dimmer! On the way back I had trouble recognizing where I was. Then again, I'd never been in the RFK parking lot at night when the glow from the stadium lights wasn't lighting up the night sky.