Fredericksburg was clearly hungry for a baseball team. Over 1,000 Fredericksburg Baseball fans packed the Fredericksburg Expo Center Sunday afternoon for the Fredericksburg Baseball stadium groundbreaking ceremony.
Team owners Art Silber, son Seth and Daughter Lani Weiss were on hand to celebrate the groundbreaking of the new $35 million privately funded multi-use stadium.
“This is a dream come true for my family,” Seth Silber said.
The Silber family has owned the team for 30 years. The Silber’s honored many elected leaders, sponsors, and a few members in the baseball operations industry. Delegate Bob Thomas, City Councilman “Mr. Baseball” Matt Kelly, Mayor Mary Kathrine Greenlaw, Carolina League President Geoff Lasiter, and Director of Player Management for the Washington Nationals Mark Scialabba were among those honored on stage.
“Fredericksburg is such a tightly knit community,” Lasiter said. “We at the Carolina League knew that Fredericksburg would be a great choice.”
The turnout and support was more than the Fredericksburg ball club could have thought. The Fredericksburg Expo Center was packed with over 1,000 fans attending the festivities.
“We told the Expo Center that we thought 700 people would be a good turnout,” Potomac Nationals General Manager Bryan Holland said. “It looked like we doubled that number.”
Fredericksburg Baseball seems to already have outpouring support from the community. 1,260 people have already joined the Founders Club. Founders Club members will have the priority seating when selecting season ticket plans when they go on sale later this year.
12-and-a-half suites had already been sold before the groundbreaking festivities. The final half suite sold during the social hour before the ceremony.
The team has already sold all 13 suites which Seth Silber says “[that it’s] unheard of to sell every suite a year before the stadiums opening.”
The state-of-the-“Art” (pun intended) stadium will include a family fun pavilion, a water park, a home run porch, an ice skating rink, a year-round restaurant and 5,000 seats.
The team will also discount tickets to military members every Sunday in their partnership with SimVentions. They will also include a “Hats off to Heros” with the playing of God Bless America during the 7th inning stretch. Their parent ball club, the Washington Nationals participate in the same ceremony every home game.
Fredericksburg Baseball will also include a ‘name the team’ contest on their websites. They will take submissions and post the contest on their website on FredericksburgBaseball.com.
“Fredericksburg will be in the name,” Art Silber said after participating in the groundbreaking ceremony. “The Nationals are still an option.”
Some are concerned with the name Nationals as there could be a few jokes going around Minor League Baseball because, well, “F-Nats” could cause some problems when talking about the teams nickname.
The Fredericksburg region is getting a proven winner when the ballclub moves from Woodbridge.
“We are grateful that our parent club [the Washington Nationals] is determined to put a winner on the field every year,” Art Silber said.
The Potomac Nationals won the Carolina League Mills Cup as recently as 2014. The P-Nats won the Northern Division last year but ultimately fell short in a one-game, shortened series against the Bluies Creek Astros.