It took 22 months, 450 truckloads of dirt per day, 25 miles of pilling and 3,500 pieces of steel. But after more than $600 million of public funding the nomadic Washington Nationals finally have a place to call home.
Nearly two years of digging brought out a glistening diamond from decrepit dust. The construction of Nationals Park in Southeast Washington has breathed new life into a once unconscious part of this city. Luxury condominiums are beginning to sprout up near the Anacostia River. Metro’s Navy Yard stop is seeing unprecedented traffic.
Adjacent to a handful of drab crumbling factories has risen Major League Baseball’s newest park: a pristine facility splashed with stunning blues and resounding reds.
The pillow was still cool at Nationals Park for Saturday’s 3-2 win over the Atlanta Braves. Ryan Zimmerman, the first face of the franchise, hit a walk-off homerun to cap off a tremendous night to seal the win. President George W. Bush, who watched the game from a presidential box and spent some time on ESPN with anchors, threw the opening pitch – high and outside – to Manager Manny Acta.
But as the win excited District residents, the Nationals are still considered the worst team in the uber-competitive National League East. For Sunday night, Nationals Park was a diamond for a team many consider in the rough.