MLB All-Star Game Comes to DMV and Delivers to Area Youth
By Robert R. Bernstein
Baseball lovers can agree on one thing. The All-Star game is worth watching, no matter where it’s at or who’s playing, because it’s all about the fans and their vote for best starting fielders in this exhibition game. And for area baseball fans, they won’t have far to travel to catch their favorites and enjoy a lasting memory.
This July, the Major League Baseball All-Star Game will be played at Nationals Park. It has been almost 50 years since the last All-Star game was contested here, at that time hosted by the Washington Senators franchise.
While area fans look forward to the chance to enjoy the "Midsummer Classic", the surrounding activities, particularly those with lasting effect will be long remembered after the game is consigned to the record books.
With this goal in mind, MLB and the Washington Nationals and the Nationals Dream Foundation recently announced the 2018 All-Star Legacy Initiative. The initiative will provide about $5 million for donations to local charities as well as funding for seven improvement projects for the DMV area.
Two of the projects are of particular interest to residents of Prince George's County.
Nationals All-Star Field at Walker Mill Regional Park - There will be major renovations of existing youth baseball facilities at the park. These improvements include a full rebuilding of one of the existing ball fields to be designated "Nationals All-Star Field." The renovation will include a new irrigation system, covered dugouts, improved seating with shaded bleachers, fences, batting cages, a new scoreboard and storage areas. Additionally, a second field will be improved to provide additional area for increasing participation by local children in the sport. Upon completion of this project, the area's almost 3000 young ballplayers, with the guidance of the Prince George's County Parks and Recreation Foundation and Prince George's County Department of Parks and Recreation, will have access to more organized, competitive baseball as well as the opportunity to become involved with USA Baseball's "Play Ball" initiative.
Mobile Dental Unit with Children’s National - The legacy partners will provide the region with a state of the art mobile dental unit. It is envisioned that this unit (which will be shared with the District) will be able to offer dental services to children in the county more comfortably and efficiently. Dental services in the region are not as widely available as needed and it is hoped that this new unit will be able to close the gap. The current unit was launched in 2001 by Children's National is outdated and due for an upgrade. Children's National is a regional pediatric health care provider.
These two projects along with the five additional projects in other parts of the region will ensure that the community support by the Washington Nationals stays fresh in the minds of DMV residents. It is also hoped that they will keep baseball on the minds of young fans. As MLB representatives said, " The renovation and improvement activities designed to leave a lasting impact throughout the local community as well as support national charitable organizations with close ties to baseball."