Minor league baseball is more than a game; it is pure entertainment. According to Nick Hall, the Executive Vice President and General Manager of the Fredericksburg Nationals,(or ‘FredNats’),“every game you come to is a nine-inning vacation.”
The FredNats are a single-A minor league baseball team, and began as a team in Woodbridge called the Potomac Nationals. After searching for a new stadium, the Nationals decided to base their team out of Fredericksburg. They began the transition to Fredericksburg in 2019, and completed the construction of Virginia Credit Union Stadium in 2020, with the season ready to begin.
There was, of course, one major setback: the COVID-19 pandemic. Covid hit the FredNats hard, delaying their first season by an entire year (which they were informed of one month before opening day). With that delay, the FredNats lost a full season of revenue. However, that did not deter them.
“We didn’t come to Fredericksburg to make a quick buck,” Hall said. “We came here for the next 30 years.”
The FredNats officially launched their first season in 2021 with resounding success. Coming in third of all single-A baseball attendance in 2021, Hall said that one of their goals in 2022 is to finish in second. “We came out of Covid swingin’,” he said.
Opening Day at the FredNats’ stadium will be Tuesday, April 12th, where they will face off against the Carolina Mudcats. Hall is excited to see many of the 2021 draft picks play for the first time in the minor leagues. What he believes separates minor league baseball from other sports is the combination of the “world’s greatest sport” with wacky, zany entertainment value. The FredNats have exciting attractions and shows in between their innings, from adults riding around the field on tricycles, to a 21st birthday celebration for Harambe the gorilla (rest in peace).
In Hall’s opinion, every minor league team has a staple that makes their location significant, whether it be a beach or mountains. The staple that separates the FredNats, he believes, is the community. An estimated 75% of guests are from Stafford, Spotsylvania, or Fredericksburg. Hall said that the FredNats always wanted to be engaged with the local community, and are thrilled with the support that they have received.