The Washington Nationals Single-A Affiliate Hagerstown Suns may be forced out of its current stadium, and Hagerstown altogether, due to deteriorating field and facility conditions.
According to a report from Bob Parasiliti of the Herald-Mail, the situation has come to a head since Major League Baseball and the Washington Nationals wrote letters to the Suns’ owner Bruce Quinn regarding the field and clubhouse conditions. According to Quinn, MLB and the Nationals want Municipal Stadium, where the Suns play, to be improved “for player, coach, and fan safety” for “player development and MLB rehab assignments.” Quinn also said the letters have prompted an offer from a facility in Winchester, Va. to host the Nationals’ South Atlantic League affiliate.
The two most promising young Nationals, Stephen Strasburg and Bryce Harper, started their minor league careers in Hagerstown, and its location in close proximity to the Nation’s Capital is ideal for MLB players recovering from injury during the season. The organization’s High-A Carolina League affiliate Potomac Nationals are the closest affiliate to DC, but there are also concerns surrounding their facilities, prompting its owners to consider moving to a new stadium.
It is unclear what the timetable is for this process, and it is still possible that the Suns could still stay in Hagerstown. However, the Suns’ owners have made it clear that the team takes the letters from the Nationals seriously, and they will take all actions necessary to keep the team inside the Nationals organization, and that includes moving them an hour down I-81 to Winchester.