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Entering the Ball Park

Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Stadium, better known as RFK Stadium or RFK, is a professional sports stadium in Washington, D.C., USA. Opened in October 1961 as District of Columbia Stadium (D.C. Stadium for short), RFK was the home of the NFL's Washington Redskins for 36 seasons, from 1961 through 1996. The Redskins moved to FedExField in suburban Maryland starting with the 1997 season. RFK Stadium also served as the home to the expansion Washington Senators of the American League from 1962 through 1971. Starting with the 1972 season, the Senators moved to Arlington, Texas and were renamed the Texas Rangers. The Montreal Expos relocated to Washington as the Washington Nationals and played at RFK from 2005 to 2007, pending the planned opening of a new stadium in 2008. RFK has served as the home of Major League Soccer's D.C. United since 1996. Concerts featuring renowned rock bands and performers also take place at the stadium. It has hosted soccer matches in the 1994 FIFA World Cup, 1996 Summer Olympics, and 2003 Women's World Cup.

The stadium was renamed in January 1969 for U.S. Senator and presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy, who had been assassinated in Los Angeles the previous June. As Attorney General, Kennedy's Justice Department played a role in the racial integration of the Redskins. Along with Secretary of the Interior Stewart Udall, Kennedy threatened to revoke the team's lease at the federally-owned stadium until it promised to sign African American players.

A complex conversion is necessary, at a cost of $40,000 per switch, to convert the stadium from a soccer/football configuration to baseball and back again. This includes rolling the 3rd-base lower-level seats into the outfield along a buried rail, dropping the hydraulic pitcher's mound 3 feet into the ground, and laying sod over the infield dirt. RFK was the first major stadium designed specifically as a multisport facility for both football and baseball. Subsequent facilities were adjusted for this problem so the seating configuration could be changed much more quickly and at a lower cost. In 2005, the conversion was made more than 20 times.

During the Nationals' tenure at the stadium, it has been the fourth-oldest active stadium in Major League Baseball behind Fenway Park, Wrigley Field and Yankee Stadium.

Memorable Moments

April 14, 2005 - Washington Nationals defeat the Arizona Diamondbacks 5-3, before a crowd of 45,596, to win their first home opener in Washington, D.C. They go on to sweep the 4-game series.
June 17, 2006 - The Washington Nationals overcome the deficit of seven runs against the New York Yankees and beat the Yankees by blowing Yankees closing pitcher Mariano Rivera's save in the bottom of the eighth inning with Alfonso Soriano's steals and Jose Guillen's triple and Ryan Zimmerman's single in front of a sellout crowd of 45,085 fans.[7]
June 18, 2006 - The Washington Nationals defeat the New York Yankees on Ryan Zimmerman's walk-off home run off Yankees ace starter Chien Ming Wang in front of a sellout crowd of 45,157 fans. The Nationals win the three-game series against the Yankees.[8]
September 16, 2006 - Washington Nationals' Alfonso Soriano steals second base in the first inning of the game against the Milwaukee Brewers to become the fourth player in the Major League Baseball history to hit 40 home runs and steal 40 bases in a season.[9] (At the Shea Stadium in New York City six days later, Soriano becomes the first person ever to reach 40 home runs, 40 stolen bases, and 40 doubles in one season, making him the only member of the 40-40-40 club.[10])
July 4, 2007 - Washington Nationals 1st baseman Dmitri Young hits a Grand Slam enroute to a 6-0 Nationals win over the Chicago Cubs before almost 40,000 fans.
August 9, 2007 - David Beckham debuts for the MLS LA Galaxy, losing to home team DC United before a sellout crowd of 46,686 fans, the 4th largest to watch MLS at RFK Stadium.
September 23, 2007 - Washington Nationals defeat the Philadelphia Phillies 5-3, in the final baseball game scheduled to be played at RFK Stadium. The win gives the Nationals an overall record of 122-121 in three seasons at the stadium

Nationals Park is the new ballpark for the Washington Nationals of Major League Baseball. The facility is projected to open in time for the 2008 baseball season-opening game against the Atlanta Braves on March 30. It is located along the Anacostia River in southeast Washington, D.C., and replaces RFK Stadium as the Nationals' home ballpark. The new ballpark was designed by HOK Sport and Devrouax & Purnell Architects and Planners, will seat 41,000 fans, and is projected to cost at least $611 million.[2] It will sit across the river from the D.C. United's proposed soccer-specific stadium at Poplar Point. The site is Metro-accessible via the Navy Yard station. Fans will be able to view the Washington Monument and the U.S. Capitol building from certain areas of the stadium.

The park's name echoes the original name of the old Washington Senators' ballpark, Griffith Stadium, which was once known as "National Park" when its tenants were called the "Nationals" more than a century ago.

From 2005 to 2007, the Nationals played in Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Stadium. The team begins play at a new stadium, Nationals Park, on March 30, 2008.

Washington Nationals' Inaugural Home Opener - You could feel the excitement in the air as fans walked up to the gates of the stadium. Music, whistles and cheers were all around you.

1945 views

Washington Nationals' Inaugural Home Opener - A picture of pitcher Esteban Loaiza greets fans as they approach RFK stadium.

1966 views

Washington Nationals' Inaugural Home Opener - Many fans were sporting old Washington Senators jackets, jerseys, hats, and other memorabilia. Here a father and son wait in line to attend their first baseball game together.

2450 views

Washington Nationals' Inaugural Home Opener - Fans gather in front of a memorial dedicated to the late George Preston Marshall.

1981 views

Washington Nationals' Inaugural Home Opener - 'Go Nats! banner created by DCVote.org

1550 views

Washington Nationals' Inaugural Home Opener - Two Nationals fans display home team colors.

1480 views

Washington Nationals' Inaugural Home Opener - Demonstrators protest the money spent by District Taxpayers to get the Washington Nationals.

1579 views
   

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