Metropolitan Washington Baseball, the group seeking a National League expansion franchise for Washington, is examining the possibility of reconfiguring RFK Stadium for baseball for the NL Expansion Committee's inspection tour of the stadium, the group's organizer John Akridge confirmed yesterday.
The committee will be visiting each of the six cities still in contention for the two teams that will begin play in 1993. It will be in Miami and Orlando on Feb. 25 and Tampa-St. Petersburg on Feb. 26. The committee is expected to announce its schedule for Washington, Buffalo and Denver after the completion of the Florida visits, and should be in Washington early in March.
If the reconfiguration takes place, it will be the first time since the Washington Senators' last game in September 1971 that RFK Stadium has been set up in such a fashion, stadium general manager Jim Dalrymple said.
The facility has been the site of several baseball exhibition games since 1971. But for those events, only the temporary bleachers that serve as end zone seats for Washington Redskins games have been removed from the outfield. As a result, the outfield fence in left field and left-center has been about 260 feet from home plate.
The seats occupying left field and left-center have a structure beneath that allowed them to be moved. Although the seats haven't been moved in more than 19 years, Dalrymple said he thinks with some repair the seats can be moved again.
If that is the case, the remaining question would be who would pay for the expected $100,000 to $200,000 worth of work -- Akridge's group or the D.C. Armory Board.
If the stadium is converted for the expansion committee's visit, Dalrymple said it will be left in that configuration for the Baltimore Orioles' exhibition games against the Boston Red Sox April 6 and 7.