Because the stadium sits on Federal land, the Secretary of the Interior is essentially the stadium’s landlord. The District of Columbia, through a public-private partnership with Events DC, owns the stadium but leases the land from the National Park Service. Because of this, eight years earlier Secretary Udall was able to put pressure on the Washington Redskins, the only remaining NFL team that had not hired a Black player.
RFK stadium was home to the Washington Senators from 1962 to 1971. Baseball returned to Washington and RFK in 2005 when the Montreal Expos relocated to DC and became the Washington Nationals. The Nationals played there through the 2007 season. After more than 21 seasons at RFK Stadium, Major League Soccer’s D.C. United played their last game at the stadium in October 2017.
On January 3, 1962, ground was broken to begin construction of the Harris County Domed Stadium, later called the Houston Astrodome. The “Eighth Wonder of the World” opened three years later on Opening Day.
Unfortunately, today the Astrodome remains empty nearly 10 years after being closed because of code violations. The National Trust for Historic Preservation continues to work with Harris County, TX, to find alternative uses for this historic stadium.
As preparations are underway for the upcoming holidays, the Los Angeles Dodgers and Minor League Baseball each shared photos of what have to be the best gingerbread houses – or rather, stadiums – EVER!
I drive past RFK Stadium nearly every day on the way to my day job (except for those days I decide to take the route that goes by Nats Park instead). It always makes me sad to see the once proud stadium in front of me with its peeling paint and overgrown parking lots. I feel as though its been calling out for help for quite some time now.
On Sunday, my friends and I made a pilgrimage to say our goodbyes to the beautiful, circular stadium that once was home to the Washington Senators, the Washington Nationals, and other teams of the Nation’s Capitol. Here are some of the appalling things we saw on the inside:
The first thing I noticed was weird stuff hanging off of the ceiling – is this peeling paint? weird dust bunnies? This was apparent before we even entered the stadium.
Once inside, the concrete and metal walkways immediately took me back to some of my favorite stadiums – like Memorial Stadium in Baltimore and Municipal Stadium in Cleveland – stadiums that no one else seemed to appreciate much. Even the then-state-of-the-art video screen on the concourse was pretty darn cool.
The peeling paint and nearly rotting seats, however, were quite appalling.
And the abandoned media suite – or whatever that was way up there – was just downright creepy.
But perhaps saddest of all, were the dugouts left over from the stadium’s baseball days – no longer used for their original purpose, but still proud of their history.
The conspiracy theorist in me naturally assumes this was all done on purpose: “If You Don’t Fix It, They Won’t Come.” In other words, don’t bother with upkeep, because folks want a fancy new stadium anyway and the sooner the old one falls apart, the sooner we can have a new one. But even if its big and outdated, its still a perfectly good stadium. Its not the stadium’s fault that its been treated rather shabbily since the Washington Nationals moved out.
As I’ve said before, there’s nothing sadder than an abandoned ballpark. Whatever the reasons for its virtual abandonment before it ceased to be used, my heart aches for RFK Stadium, whom I will always miss.
On Sunday, we said goodbye to Washington, D.C.’s RFK Stadium. For now, it’s future is unclear, but at least for the next year or so it will still house the practice fields of the D.C. United soccer team, who will be moving to their shiny new soccer-only stadium next year.
It’s always hard to say goodbye – especially to a baseball stadium. Of course, baseball hasn’t been played there in a while, but I will always remember it for the baseball games and rock concerts I attended there in my youth.
RFK opened on October 7, 1961. It was home to the Washington Senators from 1962 to 1971, and the Washington Nationals from 2005 to 2007. (And other sports that aren’t nearly as important as baseball.) It also hosted the occasional pre-season exhibition game in the 1980s and 1990s (before the Nationals came to town), as well as Congressional Baseball games. Sadly, I only ever saw one Nats game there before they moved across town to Nats Park.
This past week, several media outlets published sentimental send-offs for our beloved RFK Stadium. Below are links to just a few:
So, how many games have you been to this season? Generally, by this time, I’ve been to at least a few. So far, however, its only been one. Of course, that didn’t stop me from simultaneously watching three on TV on Saturday. But, still. I feel like I need to improve my game.
With so much going on last week with Jackie Robinson Day, I never had time to share my thoughts on my first baseball adventure of the season – the Norfolk Tides at the Charlotte Knights. I’ll be posting more on that when I have time to think a little more sociologically about it. So watch this space!
This week I have plans to see games in California and New Hampshire. Comparing games from one community to another on different sides of the country is right up the alley for this Baseball Sociologist. So, stay tuned for updates on the Travels of the Baseball Sociologist!
In the meantime – feel free to share your baseball adventures so far this season in the comments section below!
Deux Montréalais qui vont visiter chaque terrain de la ligue majeure de baseball pour promouvoir le retour d'une équipe de baseball à Montréal Two montrealers visiting all the mlb ballparks to promote the return of an mlb franchise in Montreal