For years I’ve been looking for a place to play winter wiffleball in DC. Whether it’s a league, or a one day tournament; November to March is far too long not to have any wiffle action.
The problem, of course, is the venue. You have to have a place that’s indoors, and thus not covered with snow. You have to have a place that has a high ceiling. Ideally you want a place with carpet (or artificial turf) rather than hardwood. A place that’s affordable is also important.
A high school gym is rented cheap, but a gym with a regulation basketball court can only hold one field. And, it’s hardwood. Indoor soccer fields have the right turf, and can fit one field…maybe two if we squeeze…but they all have low ceilings. Home Runs, people…home runs. In the winter these places are expensive by the hour.
After five years of frustration…it finally hit me the other night. The DC Armory.
In additon to a floor space that is 380’ by 183’, (that’s 4 to 6 wiffleball fields), it has a ceiling height of 88’. More than enough room to let the home runs soar, and the pop flies fall harmlessly back to earth. Certainly, like any domed stadium we’d need ground rules to cover the inevitable ball hitting the ceiling, or more likely ball hitting one of the lights which hang lower. But, all things considered, the perfect solution for winter.
When the floor seating is pushed back, as we’d need it to be to make room for the fields, the spectator seating is all in the upper deck on second level. Of course, we’d arrange fields so that home run balls hit really well could reach the top tier of the stands into the stadium seats.
It’s hardwood in its natural form, but the indoor football team that played there brought in a rug, and if it works for football, it will work for wiffleball. 70,000 square feet of carpet isn’t the kind of thing you put in a rental van and transport each week, but the Armory is too expensive to use weekly for a league anyway. At $7,500+ a day, this is a one day tournament or special event.
So, that leaves us with a single day tournament in January or February. An all day event with a pool play round that then seeds a double elimination tournament in the afternoon. With six fields, we’d be able to max out at about 24 teams for a pool play and then 16 teams seeded in the double elimination tournament.
As Chris Knight would say…“it’s a moral imperative”. We must do this. I’m now on a mission from god to make this happen.
What do you think?