Review by Gary
Pfitzner Stadium, known as “The Fitz”, is the closest ballpark to my abode in northern Virginia and is my unofficial home stadium. This ballpark is nestled at the back of a tree-lined property behind a compound of government offices and two smaller ball fields. The Fitz was built in 1984 and looks at least a decade older, inside and out. Before the start of the 1995 season, the ballpark was renamed in honor of Prince William County Board of Supervisors member G. Richard Pfitzner. Pfitzner led the charge to bring the Alexandria Dukes to Prince William County in the early 1980s.
Housed in a separate building, the concrete box office and gift shop stands in front of the fenced-in stadium. The entire ballpark is at ground level, including both dugouts, which is unusual in that there is no fence or rail separating them from the playing area. During the last game I attended, the home plate umpire had to ask the visiting Down East Wood Duck players to get away from the fence and back into the cozy dugout.
The grandstand is a single level metal structure with ramps that lead 10 feet up to the concourse with stairs back down to the reserved seats that are sectioned off by metal fence posts in a weird and somewhat uncomfortable throwback to stadiums of the 50s and 60s. The reserved seat bottoms are buttock-shaped and about 12” in depth, which can be a challenge to sit in for just about anyone over 150 pounds. However, the views from these seatlets are great as the front row is five feet off the ground and about 25 feet from home plate. From the concourse, fans climb to the upper reserve bleacher seats. Added over the years are two separate General Admission sections on either side of the field that are accessed by walking around the original grandstand.
Pfitzner Stadium is a basic ballpark suitable for Class A baseball that has seen better days. Shortly after the parent club Washington Nationals came to town, they required that the “PotNats” build a new stadium, as this location is about 30 minutes from Nats Park in DC. Sluggish approvals and delays in county fundraising have delayed the new stadium as of this writing. Until then, loyal fans continue to enjoy the confines of The Fitz. There is exactly one concession stand at Pfitzner and it is under the grandstand, creating a logjam in the narrow concourse even with the smallest of crowds in attendance. Fortunately, we sat in the reserved seats, complete with a concierge to wait on us. We had to wait a bit to get our food, but at least we didn’t miss any of the action.
For the 2017 season, Pfitzner Stadium received its biggest upgrade in years with the installation of a new video board. While attractive, the ownership chose to keep the very small analog clock above the video board, which looks like a wristwatch from the stands 400 feet away. Regardless, it’s Single-A baseball and the PotNats are a very competitive team, winning the Carolina League as recently as 2014. For a great day at the ballpark, The Fitz provides a welcome, economical alternative to northern Virginians looking to avoid sitting in traffic to DC to see the mother club.