WASHINGTON, DC (WUSA) -- Driving along South Capitol Street across the Anacostia River, the progress on the Nationals' new ballpark looks amazing. The entire outside structure looks finished. You can see more and more blue seats added every day. But despite all that hard work which is complete, there is a lot more to be done.
A walk through the ballpark on the first Saturday in November shows the accomplishments and goals of the hundreds of men and women working on the stadium. Despite it being a chilly weekend morning, dozens of people are hard at work both inside the stadium and on the outside grounds. Crews began laying the sod on November 1. Two days later, the infield is covered and the right field line is green. But there is a lot of outfield dirt left to go. From the field level, you can smell the fertilizer put down to get the grass nice and strong.
Touring the interior corridors of the stadium, you can tell a lot of work needs to be done. The walls and wires are still exposed. Crews are hard at work getting electrical cables run. Huge hoods, ovens, and other cooking equipment sit on the concourses, waiting to be installed at concession stands where they will one day cook hot dogs and fries for Nationals fans.
A trip to the upper deck gives a good vista of the stadium. The pitcher's mound and home plate are still covered with tarps amid the new grass. While the right field stands look like they are ready for game time, the left field side still lacks seats, railings, and paint. In right field, you can see the visitors' bullpen taking shape. But to the left side, cranes are still nearby, working on future restaurants and the entrance through which most fans will come.
The backstop behind home plate is a distinctive looking stone. It is a gray flatstone. The idea is that when you see highlights on television, you will know it is the Nationals' ballpark.
A trip inside the Nationals' locker room shows a mix of completed work and plenty to be done. A curved wall filled with lockers made dark-colored wood fills one half of the room. The lockers extend from floor to ceiling, with plenty of space for a players' belongings. While the wall looks complete, the center of the room is filled with equipment yet to be installed.
The ballpark is still a work in progress. But project managers promise it will be done on time. It has to be.
Written by Dan Guzman