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February 20, 2008

Sponsor Update: Our friends at Ballard Spahr are offering a special breakfast seminar for your HR personnel.  Topic: "Family responsibility discrimination" — it's becoming a big issue.  Thurs., Feb 28, 8am, Bethesda Hyatt. Sign up here.


It's down to the wire: only 39 days until the new ballpark opens March 29 for a Nats' exhibition game vs. the O's. Yesterday we dropped by the $611M project for a tour, and even though a lot of wires were still hanging, folks assured us this thing will be on time.  In fact, they're largely in testing mode. The plumbing will even be put to the test on Saturday for—we are not making this up—the "Super Flush" when all 11,000 sinks and toilets will be (with the help of scout troops and others) turned on or flushed at the same time.   


Above, our tour guides, Clark's James Barvinchak and Turner's Joel Causey, in front of Major League Baseball's largest scoreboard.  (It was tuned to the Smithsonian Channel for some reason.) These are two "can-do" companies: Turner is the owners' rep for the DC Entertainment and Sports Commission, overseeing construction and budget, and Clark is general contractor. More than 1000 workers are still onsite daily, putting finishing touches on things like nine miles of pipes and three million feet of wire


Joel shows us the grass — which has actually been in since November. And speaking of green:  The Nats' stadium will be the first LEED certified ballpark in the country (silver level).  Architecture firm HOK has a special team just doing the calculations. Everyday more than 100 workers are assigned just to sort the garbage so it can be recycled. Congratulations, all! 


Bisnow's Stacey Pfarr tests the indoor batting cages; good thing she didn't hit her boss who took the picture. We think the grip looks like a cross between Chad Cordero and Nolan Ryan.


James points to the most important part of the stadium:  How the beer travels around. See those black pipes?  All the beer is stored in coolers and pumped through the ballpark to concession stands.


Your name here!  Since the naming rights haven't been bought yet, James and Joel stand by a blank circle at the doors of the President's Club where the future park name will go. No, it's not really Bisnow Stadium—yet. We're just trying it out for size with a little digital enhancement.


Joel shows us the underwater treadmill (sans water) in the Nats' locker room.


In the Diamond Club lounge, Mark tries out as an usher, opening the door to all 41k seats. More than half of the crowd will be able walk right off the street into their seats without having to take elevators or stairs because the field is 24 feet below street level, and the main concourse is level with the sidewalk.


James shows us the exterior of the stadium, partly inspired by the IM Pei designed East Wing of the National Gallery of Art.


All 70k cubic yards of concrete came from the onsite concrete plant of CTI that's long been located there and which the city gave a waiver to remain during construction. As a result, concrete didn't have to be trucked from long distances, a win for the environment.


Soon the dugout will be full of bats, balls, players, and chewing gum. Customarily home teams take the first base dugout, but at RFK they took third because the locker room was closer. At the new stadium, the Nats will return to tradition.


Talk about an American Pastime:  Eating a hotdog and watching a baseball game with the Capitol off in left field.  (Please!  We were not making a political prediction.)

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