- The Washington Times - Friday, September 2, 2005

Like nearly every structure in and around New Orleans, the home of the Washington Nationals’ Class AAA minor league team sustained damage from Hurricane Katrina. However, 8-year-old Zephyrs Field is still standing and appears to be structurally sound, according to Pacific Coast League officials.

George King, director of business and baseball operations for the PCL, said the league has received reports that “structurally, everything seems to have remained intact.

“There have been reports of some roof damage, and they did lose a pavilion section above the right-field wall, but nothing has been confirmed yet about the details,” King said. “It appears that the lights and the scoreboard are still up.”

The 10,000-seat ballpark, built at a cost of $23 million, is about eight miles inland from the French Quarter, so it did not appear to sustain the flood damage much of the community is coping with.

The Zephyrs were in the middle of their final homestand when the decision was made to evacuate Saturday, resulting in the cancellation of a doubleheader and the home finale Sunday. After players returned home to gather belongings, they and their families were bussed to Oklahoma City, where the Zephyrs were scheduled to play next.

It was the second time this season the Zephyrs canceled home games because of a hurricane. In early July, three games against Iowa were called off because of the threat of Hurricane Dennis.

Because the home season was about to end, many players already had their belongings packed or shipped out. They played in Oklahoma City last night against the Oklahoma RedHawks, and are scheduled to begin a season-ending series today in Des Moines, Iowa.

The RedHawks started a benefit for hurricane victims this week, offering free admission to anyone who shows up with bottled water to be shipped to New Orleans.

The Nationals signed a two-year agreement with the Zephyrs before the start of the 2005 season. Last year the franchise’s Class AAA club was in Edmonton, Alberta.

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