Since I played baseball earlier today and because I’m watching the Nationals – Padres game now, my topic for today about What I like about Washington DC will be “baseball.”
This is my 11th year of playing in the Ponce de Leon Baseball League, the 30-and-over hardball league. I haven’t been there as regularly as I would have liked since I’ve been traveling frequently on weekends. But, it was great to be back out there today — playing center field on a hot and humid day. Despite the polyester uniforms, I don’t mind playing ball in the muggy weather. First, I’m fortunate because I play with a group of great guys. Secondly, it’s great that they have these types of leagues so we can play the game we grew up playing and loving.
In looking at the DC market, there’s much to offer for baseball fans. At the Major League level, of course we have our Nationals. Some people may complain that they’re not a good, competitive team but I beg to differ. I like the foundation they’re putting into place. Plus, after not having pro baseball in DC since the ’70’s, it’s a dream come true to be able to watch MLB action in our hometown. Also, it’s great to be able to watch the visiting teams. For this coming week, DC fans have the opportunity to witness the greatest player of our generation, Albert Pujols of the St Louis Cardinals. Then, next week, the O’s and future Hall-of-Famer, Vladimr Guererro, will be in town. In addition, we have Pudge Rodriguez on our hometown team. So, just this week alone, there’s a great opportunity to see three future Hall-of-Famers in action.
(I am focused on DC for this month’s topics but I have to throw a shout-out to Orioles Park at Camden Yards in Baltimore. In my opinion, it’s one of the three best baseball parks in the country. And, it’s only a 45-minute drive away.)
In addition to the MLB action, there’s also minor league baseball — in Potomac, VA; Bowie, MD; and Frederick, MD. There is something special about watching minor league action. And, of course, when Bryce Harper suits up for the Potomac team, it’ll be a packed house every game.
At the college level, there’s plenty of local action. I like to watch the Georgetown Hoyas play at Shirley Povich Field. UVA is not a DC team but there are few local players playing on the nation’s top-ranked team. I also like to watch summer games in Northern Virginia in leagues stocked with college players.
There is excellent high school baseball played throughout the greater DC metropolitan area. There’s also a ton of youth baseball leagues … Babe Ruth, Cal Ripken and Little League. As a board member of the DC Batter Up / RBI Foundation, I must also throw a shout-out to the youth leagues in DC. Most of these youth leagues wouldn’t be able to run without the impressive amount of volunteers. My kudos to all who give so much to help benefit the youth.
So whether you play, watch or volunteer, there’s so much baseball action in Washington, DC. It’s great that our national past-time is back in the Nation’s Capital. I’m looking forward to attending the Nats games this week vs the Cards and Orioles as well as playing in our Ponce de Leon play-offs next week. Cheers.