WASHINGTON — The Potomac Nationals told fans five years ago that the team would build a new ballpark in Prince William County, Virginia. Now, the deal to do that is dead.
“The owner of the Potomac Nationals, Art Silber, officially made the request to withdraw the deal from consideration from the Prince William Board of County Supervisors,” said Supervisor Pete Candland, R-Gainesville. “He clearly saw that he did not have the votes for this to pass.”
Calling negotiations “incredible efforts” by the county, the landowner and the team, a statement from Silber said he’s open to discussing other options with the county, but now will explore opportunities elsewhere — something he said was “required” by Major League Baseball’s standards for minor league teams.
“We are saddened to report that the parties have been unable to come to an agreement on terms to build a new ballpark,” the Silber statement said.
“It has always been our family goal to find a way to continue to serve Northern Virginia with the finest in affordable, family entertainment — and great Nationals Minor League Baseball — as we have for more than two generations,” Silber’ statement said.
Any resumption of talks, Candland said, would need to include significant changes from what was last discussed.
He called the last financial deal on the table unacceptable, describing it as “looking to obligate the taxpayers with virtually no safety net except increasing taxes for a 30-year period.”
Candland expressed dismay at what he called the difference between where the deal started and where it is today.
“That deal has gone from [Silber] writing out a check for $25 million to him not putting a penny into this deal,” Candland said.
The team, a Class A-Advanced affiliate of the Washington Nationals, has played at Pfitzner Stadium, in Woodbridge, for 33 years, Silber said in the statement. In that time, the team has been known as the Prince William Pirates, Prince William Yankees, Prince William Cannons and Potomac Cannons.