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Nationals Park staff has been preparing for the big day since July
The Washington Nationals have their playbook on how to beat the St. Louis Cardinals. Frank Gambino’s team has a three-ring binder on how to host the playoffs.
Thanks to a trusty crew of nearly two dozen workers and, of course, the binder, the stadium’s vice president of facilities said the stadium is prepared to host its first-ever postseason game when the gates at Nationals Park open at 10:30 a.m. Wednesday.
It has been nearly 80 years since the last time a baseball postseason game was played in Washington. In 1933, the Washington Senators made it to the World Series, but they lost. Mr. Gambino on Tuesday promised a better record with his crew.
“We’re usually not quite as busy in October,” Mr. Gambino said with a laugh. “We’re happy to have the opportunity to continue playing baseball. I know everybody on my staff, even though it’s a lot of hours, everybody is thrilled. It’s quite an experience.”
Mr. Gambino said his work to prepare the stadium for its first postseason game was similar to readying the riverside facility for Opening Day.
The difference, he explained, is that around the All-Star break in mid-July, Major League Baseball issues binders “with various requirements for the postseason.”
“That ranges from ticket requirements to hospitality and broadcasting, field preparation, things like that,” Mr. Gambino said. “Obviously, this year we need to pay close attention to it, so right after the All-Star break we started regular committee meetings, and as our season became more and more successful, it broke into subcommittees.”
The months of preparation winnowed down to weeks. Finally, last weekend, Mr. Gambino’s crew put the finishing touches on the ballpark.
Thanks to a rainy Sunday, the groundskeepers spent the earlier part of the week stenciling along the base lines and on the grass, a task more challenging in the postseason because of the multicolored stencils used, Mr. Gambino said.
The crew also switched out logos and wall pads and added new graphics for television.
In terms of broadcasting, “there’s quite a bit to do,” he said. “Setting up additional camera positions, making sure there’s enough fiber and data to the camera positions and we had to build platforms,” for additional photographers.
The crew also set to work touching up a lot of paint in and around the stadium.
“Obviously there’s a lot of green paint used outside, and blue and red. Those are probably the three most popular colors. In terms of our painters, when I ask them to paint something else, they kind of look at me funny.”
The series is also set to be decided in the city, Mr. Gambino said, which means his crew must prepare — hopefully — for a celebration.
He said recent time was spent cutting plastic and rolling out extra carpet to lay down as a shield against champagne and beer.
© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
Meredith Somers is a Metro reporter for The Washington Times. She can be reached at email@example.com.
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