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 But even if its big and outdated, its still a perfectly good stadium.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.