"After so much uncertainty, I am pleased to report that we are very close to finalizing the transfer of land at Ft. Dupont from The Federal Government to The District Of Columbia," happily stated Marla Lerner Tanenbaum, Chair of The Washington Nationals Dream Foundation. "And if everything continues on the right path, we expect to break ground in 2010."
The Washington Nationals Dream Foundation's 5th Annual Gala featured big news. The political maneuvering which has hampered the development and construction of The Washington Nationals Dream Foundation's D.C. Baseball Academy in NE Washington for nearly two years--is apparently over. Common sense has prevailed and children throughout Washington, D.C. will be better for it.
That's good news on any night, but especially pleasing when stated before a packed house at The Gaylord National Resort in Prince Georges County, Maryland. Some of Our Washington Nationals biggest supporters gathered again to raise funds for not just The D.C. Baseball Academy, but also the many Neighborhood Initiatives supported by Washington's Major League Baseball Team's charitable arm.
The Sold Out Ballroom featured attendees sitting with a player or coach from Our Washington Nationals. Our table featured Relief Pitcher Miguel Batista, who turned out to be quite the lively conversationalist. Miguel was not shy to talk about most any topic, including the new Arizona Immigration Law. As Washington's Player Representative, he's against it. What was even better was finding Ryan Zimmerman sitting directly to my back at the adjoining table and Livan Hernandez sitting just across from The African Queen. Both providing further opportunities to chat.
As usual there were the many Silent and Live Auction Items up for sale. But the best item shown to us was not up for sale--although Team President Stan Kasten made sure The African Queen and I got a private viewing.
"Now, you can look all you want, but they are not available for any price," firmly stated Mr. Kasten. So while one patron would eventually bid $7,000 this night for the opportunity to shadow Our General Manager Mike Rizzo on Draft Day in June, and another would pay $6500 for a game used Stephen Strasburg Jersey, Mr. Kasten was sporting, some "priceless" nifty cuff links of his own at the 5th Washington Nationals Dream Foundation Gala. Of course, he made sure we saw them.
"I know you are going to be jealous," (laughing) he continued, "but you can't have them." Mr. Kasten chuckled as he showed The African Queen and I his handmade leather baseball cuff links with the red threads and all. And yeah, they were nice. And yeah, we would love to have a pair too. But there were plenty of other offerings to consider at this Black Tie Event to raise money for The Washington Nationals Dream Foundation's Neighborhood Initiatives--including these offerings:
Autographed Baseball Signed by President Barack Obama and Framed Photo of the 100th Anniversary of The Presidential First Pitch
Deacon's Bench signed by Our Washington Nationals
An American Flag of Baseballs signed by Our Washington Nationals
American Flag carried by a Navy Seal Team into Iraq
Various autographed uniform jerseys--including one from The Washington Capitals' Alexander Ovechkin
and personal baskets of memorabilia donated by players of Our Washington Nationals.
There were some funny moments during the live action, when after Willie Harris purchased Ryan Zimmerman's Game Worn Number 42 Jersey from Jackie Robinson Day ($4200), his bid set off a series of others bids from his teammates on other items. Adam Dunn eventually taking a Lexus Presidents Club Game Package which included dessert with Ian Desmond and The Z-Man after the stated game. And Ryan following suit by taking another Lexus Presidents Club Game Package which included Josh Willingham and Wil Nieves having dessert with him.
All in the name of charity. The 5th Washington Nationals Dream Foundation Gala was another good night out. And as always, for a very good cause.
Here are more photos from our evening at The Gaylord National Resort on May 8th:
All Photos Copyrighted--Nats320--All Rights Reserved.