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Nationals owner Mark Lerner addresses ballpark roof proposal

Mar 15, 2014, 3:17 PM EDT

nationals park getty Getty Images

We heard back in December that the Nationals tried to sell Washington, D.C. mayor Vincent C. Gray on a $300 million publicly-funded retractable roof for their ballpark. The idea was quickly shot down. We haven’t heard much about it since, but Nationals principal owner Mark Lerner addressed the situation for the first time during Comcast SportsNet Washington’s broadcast of a Washington Wizards-Orlando Magic game last night.

Here’s part of what Lerner had to say on the topic, courtesy of Chase Hughes of

“I don’t believe it’s gonna happen. We inquired, we’re always looking to do things that are unique. It was a way to have more events at Nationals Park, but it was just an idea. It was an idea we were throwing around in a room. It wasn’t that we specifically asked for it, we were just talking about it.”

You can see Lerner’s full interview in the video below:

  1. recoveringcubsfan - Mar 15, 2014 at 5:24 PM

    Much has been made of the Nats’ side of this discussion. DC residents know that it takes 2 to tango and if Vince Gray had been able to figure out how to get some sweet, sweet graft out of this, it would already be approved.

  2. cackalackyank - Mar 15, 2014 at 7:11 PM

    On the one hand, the use of public money to underwrite billionaires that own sports teams is abhorrent. However, it seems equally dumb to me to spend hundreds of millions or even a billion on a venue that can’t be used for many days or even months of the year in northern climates. It amazes me that in the last five years in the NY/NJ area not one, but three stadiums opened…none of which has a roof. It feels like tons of lost revenue for rainouts, concerts, conventions etc which would offset the cost of this having been included in the original plan… What I’m saying is I don’t get why they build any stadiums north of Georgia without a retractable roof.

  3. wvugrad00 - Mar 15, 2014 at 8:32 PM

    cackalackyank, the new Yankees stadium seems to host plenty of events that do not require a roof and it isn’t like they are looking for something to use the stadium from April through October. Those other 6 months have a bowl game, and a possible hockey game scheduled. Other than that what would be in that stadium?

    Are you trying to turn the other stadiums in the north to the Alamo dome that is a Hodgepodge that’s good for a bunch of things but not great at anything?

    • dcarroll73 - Mar 16, 2014 at 12:46 AM

      Great point, wvu… The old Yankee stadium was once home to the football Giants (as we old New-Yorkers still refer to them) as well as the Yanks. The place was never a great football venue even if some awesomely great games were played there (some were even great in the Voldemort sense, “great things — terrible, yes, but great.” Poor YA Tittle – see the famed photo of him kneeling after having been pounded all day – I seem to remember that his comment was “All I saw all day was green.” as in grass he was being face-planted into and Eagle uniforms – Philadelphia fans out there, you owe me one.) So I agree with you completely. My old and wise grandma would have said, “good for everything, good for nothing.”

  4. willclarkgameface - Mar 16, 2014 at 9:24 AM

    My favorite part of the Lerner quote was the nonchalantly delivered, “It was a way to have more events at Nationals Park, but it was just an idea.”

    I love this…”hey citizens of DC, even though we can darfinitely [watch Nick Kroll’s “Rich Dicks” to understand where this is coming from] afford this, we really want you to pay for it because, like, it would be fun to have a roof, k?”

    The spin…always about more money finding a way into the owners pockets and out of our own.

    I’m glad this was quickly shot down. Enough with having the public pay for ball parks. Unless you’re giving me a season ticket plan in return for my having invested in your silly ball park and you’re not FORCING me to pay a dime, EFF YOU.

    • wethog66 - Mar 16, 2014 at 2:01 PM

      Agreed. DC needs to focus on schools and pot hole repair in a big way. Not slapping on a 300 mil roof on a brand new stadium.

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