Monday, June 09, 2008

Pitch, Hit & Run Team Championship

"First & foremost you must win your Team Championship to be eligible to compete in The All Star Game National Finals," said Matt Perez, Coordinator for "Pitch, Hit & Run" out of Atlanta, Georgia. "Every kids here knows--if they don't finish in first place, there will be no tomorrow."

Standing on the field at New Nationals Park--Mr. Perez and I were speaking--moments before 16 Kids, all Sectional Champions in their age groups, were about to begin a major competition. The Pitch, Hit & Run Team Championship for Our Washington Nationals was about to take place. These kids, from The District of Columbia, Virginia and Delaware had advanced on the strength of their youth baseball skills. Winners potentially moving on to compete in The National Finals--during The 2008 All-Star Game at Yankee Stadium--in The Bronx--this July.

This Team Championship was taking place on Saturday June 7th--The Time: 10:AM

Four groups of four different age group kids were on hand to show off their proficiency in the game. 7 & 8 Year Olds; 9 & 10 Year Olds, 11 & 12 Year Olds; and 13 & 14 Year Olds were the groupings. Each Sectional Champion must compete in the following skills competitions.

Pitching: From 45 Feet--How many times can you hit the strike zone target in six pitches. It's not about speed, it's about accuracy.

Hitting: Off a Tee, Three Swings to determine how far and how accurately you can place a baseball from home plate on a line to dead centerfield. Distance is reduced by the feet and inches any hit ball lands to the right or left of the centerfield lined tape measure.

Running: Simply how fast, on one attempt, each child can run 160 Feet (just past second base) to home plate. No do-overs.

Not only was the competition tough--to reach New Nationals Park was a long enduring process. Matt Perez explains: “At this point they have already competed in a local competition hosted by their local ball club, YMCA, park and recreation centers—which began on March 1st. From there, the winners advance to Sectional Competitions—all the local winners--which takes play in May. Then, after these kids first win their age group in Sectional Competition--their scores are compared against the other sectional winners in The Washington Nationals Team Market. The top four in each age group advance to participate today.”

And even if any of these 16 kids on hand at New Nationals Park win their Age Group--they are not guaranteed a spot in The National Finals. “Their scores will be compared against all the other Team Champions at all the other ballparks," stated Perez. "So, we will not know who will actually advance to The All-Star Game until the end of June—when the last Team Champions are named. Remember, only the top three overall from each age group (from all the Team Winners) will advance to the All-Star Game for the National Finals.”

All 30 Major League Baseball Clubs participate. In conjunction with Major League Baseball, each team provides the venue for their Team Championships. And if you were wondering--all Maryland Kids compete in The Baltimore Orioles Market. Not really sure why Delaware is linked to DC though. But whether you live in Fargo, North Dakota or Birmingham, Alabama--each kid is actually competing NATIONWIDE with every other child in their age group. That's a big competition for children.

None of whom seemed overly phased by the spotlight of playing on a Major League Field this past Saturday at New Nationals Park. In fact, most seemed to enjoy the opportunity. Their parents watching and taking pictures from the stands--quite envious.

Saturday's Washington Nationals Team Champions will be notified later this month whether or not they have qualified--based on their skills results--to The National Finals in New York City.

Just another Community Effort supported by Our Washington Nationals.


Anonymous said...

How did you get in to this? How did you find out about this? Could I have come, been on the field, and taken pictures?

Dave Nichols said...

yes, SBF, we'd all like to know how you seem to know about these things. i never saw this event posted, there was no press release to my knowledge. what gives?

you failed to answer my question in the previous e-mail. will you give me the same disrespect now?

Dave at Bottomfeeder Baseball

Screech's Best Friend said...

Dave: You seem to call yourself a REPORTER. Are you? You seem to dish me at every opportunity (in your blog and now here), when I have NEVER PERSONALLY MET YOU. It is not Our responsibility to make sure YOU GET OUR INFORMATION. What's with YOUR VENOM? We've worked hard and have fun. That's all.

In case you haven't noticed by reading--as a profession, we work in INTERNATIONAL JOURNALISM. The TOP LEVEL. WE are known WORLDWIDE FOR OUR HARD NEWS COVERAGE. We know the town. We've made connections. Have you?

But I have said more than you deserve. Because Nothing you say will take away from the enjoyment we have writing Nats320.

We have fun. The type of which you like to de-ride us about--at every single opportunity. That's not how to make friends and connections in this town.

Nothing more will be said by us on this subject.

We OWE you nothing.

Randy: No--this event was not open to the public. You could not have come on the field and taken pictures. Sorry.

Dave Nichols said...


I am truly disappointed you have decided to make this public. I gave you ample opportunity to respond to me in private so that we could have a mutually repsectful conversation about this. Your failure to do so makes me uncomfortable, but I have no choice to respond.

First, I commend you on your coverage of the Nats. I never meant to imply anything else. With coverage of this team from the major news gathering agencies so inadequate, we need more responsible journalism from the Natosphere.

Next: never, ever--not once--have I ever disparaged your name or your blog. Not on my blog-not on yours. Your distortion of the truth of this simple fact is troubling and disconcerting. I simply posed the question of how you seem to have access to events others do not, i.e. Ladies Night.

Obviously you have great connections. I'm not going to dispute that. But that goes to the heart of my original question. I wanted to know if there were connections that I should be making so that I can get the type of access you have. You failed to reply to my original innocuous question-publically or privately.

That brings us to your current post on the pitch, the hit & run event held today, an event that you replied to Randy was "not open to the public". So again, how do you have access? Were you personally invited to the event by the Nats? Was it the P.R. staff? Was it the Media Relations staff? Was it Jim Bowden himself? Or did the organizers of the event invite you? I think Randy and myself would both go away if you simply answered the question.

Finally, I believe both of my posts to you were of a professional nature, and you were the party that took it to a personal level. I'm sorry you took it that way. But mischaracterizing my questions as "venom" or derision is unprofessional (the fact of your professional status you felt necessary to point out to me in all caps in your reply) and immature. Never once in either of my posts did I mention anyting of a personal nature. YOU were the one that took it personally.

SBF, I don't want to take any of your joy out of this. Your joy is obvious by your dedication to a lousy baseball team. I just wanted to know if you paid to go to Ladies Night, had a press credential, or were personally invited. If you paid, I have no problem whatsoever. If you had a press credential, I have no problem whatsoever. If you were personally invited, then I know who to speak to regarding the issue to try to level the playing field.

Again, I invite you to reply to me personally instead of dragging this out in a public forum. My email is

Dave at Bottomfeeder Baseball

Anonymous said...

Dave: Do whatever you want to cover this "lousy baseball team" as you say. This is Our Blog and we will continue having fun in our own way, despite people like you who consider everything a competition.

And this is the absolute last word from me, too, on this subject. We are moving on.

Anonymous said...

I am hardly in Dave's camp- I see why you guys feel he is being aggressive, but lemme explain where I stand. I see you guys having your fun out there and say "hey, I want to see kids in that competition! I want to help make those kids feel important as they play on an MLB ballfield!"

Now, unlike the Caps, the Nats do not have a policy when it comes to blending blogs with the MSM, and so my assumption until recently was that these events, while hardly publicized, were somewhat open, and that Dave or I could just email the Nats media relations folks and they could help make arrangements.

Now however, you guys are being very defensive about exactly what your relationship is with the Nats. You haven't come out and said Nats320 is a credentialed Media Firm according to the team (which would be fine), but you also refuse to explain on what grounds you are allowed in these events, or even more surprisingly, given access to the Lexus Presidents Club (your photos show wristbands not press passes), when your seats in 218 do not grant such access.

I know you pre-emptively closed the discussion by giving the last word, but do think that these are legitimate questions to be addressed, whether in this (probably long forgotten) thread, or by email.

I am not a critic. You guys work your butts off and put in more hours than is probably healthy to cover this team, and your readership reflects that. I just am curious about the behind the scenes bit.

Anonymous said...

They won't give you an answer.

Anonymous said...

Pretty amazing rant going on here. Why should they give an answer? They are not responsible for you and what you want. Why don't you guys just ask the team? These two care and show up at many community events while giving up their own time that is very much appreciated by many. The amount of stuff by Nats320 covering this team is quite remarkable both on and off the field. You guys are barking up the wrong tree. That man and his wife have done nothing wrong.

Just ask the team?

If you want to go to presidents club and get an armband, have a ticket. They did. So what is the problem?

CameronJ said...

What sort of international hard news have you done? That sounds fascinating!