Potomac General Manager Jay Richardson is looking forward to the possibility of two of the biggest changes in franchise history both occurring in the near future -- a major league franchise relocating to the area and building a new stadium for the Cannons.
One would think that moving a major league team to Washington or Northern Virginia would be a negative for the Cannons, but Richardson said he hopes a National League team does relocate to the area.
"We think it would be good for us, in the same way Frederick and Bowie have a regional appeal because of the Orioles," Richardson said. "The natural thing for us to do would be to affiliate with whatever team ends up here."
Richardson brings a unique perspective to the relocation debate -- this past offseason he left his job as assistant GM with Class AAA Norfolk, one of the cities vying with Northern Virginia, the District, Portland, Ore., Monterrey, Mexico, and Las Vegas to be the Montreal Expos' new home.
Richardson said the fan base exists in Norfolk -- the Class AAA affiliate of the New York Mets routinely topped 500,000 in attendance during his tenure. And while the ownership group trying to lure a big-league team to Norfolk has sold many corporate luxury suites, Richardson said he is skeptical of the long-term corporate support with few Fortune 500 companies in the area.
The Cannons likely will experience big changes under Richardson even if the Expos don't come to the District or Northern Virginia. Funding has been in place for a new ballpark to replace G. Richard Pfitzner Stadium since 2002. The stadium was originally slated to be completed by 2004, but it now appears it won't be completed until 2005 or 2006. Construction has not yet started because Richardson and the Cannons would like to move away from the current secluded spot well off Prince William Parkway.
"If we want to build it on this property, that possibility remains," Richardson said. "But with the poor visibility of this location, we're trying to find some place with a higher profile within the county."