June 2010

The Minority Report: An in-depth look at the Nats’ Minor League system

The Nationals Minor League report (
MLR 6-30-10.pdf) is a weekly window into the Nationals farm teams, with updated standings, league leaders, team and individual player stats, and the latest team and player news. 

This Week’s Top Headline

HEY NOW, YOU’RE AN ALL-STAR!:  The Harrisburg Senators, in conjunction with the Double-A Eastern League, yesterday announced the rosters for the 2010 Eastern League All-Star Game being played on Wednesday, July 14 at Metro Bank Park in Harrisburg, PA. The Senators had six players selected:  SS Danny Espinosa, 1B Chris Marrero, RHP Rafael Martin, INF Michael Martinez, LHP Tom Milone and C Jhonatan Solano. Additionally, Harrisburg Manager Randy Knorr and his staff will lead the Western Division squad.


Chiefs 2.JPGTriple-A Syracuse Chiefs

International League North Division

45-35, 2nd Place, 0.5 Game Behind


THE JOSHUA TREE:  RHP Josh Wilkie, who played collegiately at nearby George Washington University, has allowed just one earned run in 12.0 innings (0.75 ERA) in 10 June appearances. He’s fanned 13 and walked only two in that span. Wilkie owns a 1.67 ERA in 28 appearances overall. The 25-year-old has limited opponents to a team-best .194 (25-for-129) batting average against. Wilkie signed with the club as a non-drafted free agent on June 14, 2006.


ATA(HUALPA) BOY:  In 10 appearances beginning May 31, LHP Atahualpa Severino has tossed 13.1 consecutive scoreless innings. Overall, Severino is 3-0 with a 2.68 ERA in 29 appearances. Severino, 25, signed as a non-drafted free agent on February 13, 2004.


TAKING IT TO THE MAX:  OF Justin Maxwell is batting .300 (30-for-100) with four doubles, three homers, 10 RBI, five stolen bases and 12 walks in 29 games during June. Maxwell hit .121 with one homer and three RBI in 21 games at the Big League level this season with Washington before being optioned to Syracuse on April 28.


senators-new-logo 1.JPGDouble-A Harrisburg Senators

Eastern League Western Division

38-40, 3rd Place, 11.5 Games Behind


JOHNNY ON THE SPOT:  LHP John Lannan allowed just four hits in 7.0 innings of one-run ball in his first start with the Senators. Lannan, Washington’s Opening Day starter this season, was optioned to Harrisburg on June 21 after going 2-5 with a 5.76 ERA in 14 starts with the Nationals. Lannan is scheduled to make his second Double-A start, tonight at Portland (Red Sox).


UH-OH, HERE COMES MARRERO:  1B Chris Marrero has hit safely in 34 of his last 42 games, batting at a .341 (56-for-164) clip with eight doubles, eight homers and 26 RBI. The right-handed hitting slugger has reached base safely via hit (56), walk (12) or HBP (1) 69 times (1.61 times per contest) during that stretch. He is 37-for-101 (.366) in 27 games during the month of June. In 78 games this season, Marrero is hitting .290 with 14 doubles, 11 home runs and 43 RBI. The 21-year-old was the Nationals’ top selection (15th overall) in the 2006 First-Year Player Draft.


CLEAN COLE:  RHP Cole Kimball is a combined 5-1 with a 1.61 ERA in 31 appearances with Harrisburg and Potomac of the Single-A Carolina League. He’s offered scoreless relief in 25 of his 31 games. Since being promoted to Harrisburg on May 27, Kimball is 2-1 with a 1.35 ERA (3 ER/20.0 IP) and a .143 BAA (10-for-70) in 12 appearances. The 24-year-old began the season with Potomac, where he went 3-0 with a 1.82 ERA (5 ER/24.2 IP) in 19 appearances. Kimball was Washington’s 12th-round pick in the 2006 First-Year Player Draft out of Centenary College (NJ).


potomac nationals 1.JPGSingle-A Potomac Nationals

Carolina League Northern Division

First Half – 31-39, 3rd Place, 10.0 Games Behind

Second Half – 2-3, 4th Place, 1.5 Games Behind


SHOWING HIS FEATHERS:  RHP Brad Peacock‘s 101 strikeouts lead the Carolina League and rank fifth in Minor League baseball. With 101 strikeouts and just 20 walks in 81.0 innings pitched, Peacock has posted a 5.0/1 strikeout-to-walk ratio and 11.22 strikeouts per 9.0 innings. Peacock is scheduled to toe the rubber tonight at Winston-Salem (White Sox). The 22-year-old was drafted by Washington in the 41st round of the 2006 First-Year Player Draft.


EVEN STEPHEN:  2B Stephen Lombardozzi ranks second in the CL in runs scored (54), triples (7) and walks (40). He also ranks among the league leaders in hits (7th, 84), stolen bases (7th, 15) and OBP (7th, .385). The 2009 mid-season Single-A South Atlantic League All-Star finished second in the SAL in both runs scored (90) and hits (147) last season. Lombardozzi was a 19th-round pick in the 2008 Draft out of St. Petersburg JC (FL).


hagerstown suns 1.JPGSingle-A Hagerstown Suns

South Atlantic League Northern Division

First Half – 36-34, 3rd Place, 6.0 Games Behind

Second Half – 2-4, 5th Place, 3.0 Games Behind


STOP AND SMELL THE ROSES:  In his last nine starts, LHP Dan Rosenbaum owns a 1.94 ERA (11 ER/51.0 IP). Despite his 2.14 ERA in 15 starts overall, Rosenbaum hasn’t earned a win since his season debut on April 8. Among South Atlantic League pitchers, he is sixth in ERA. Earlier this month, the southpaw was named a South Atlantic League mid-season All-Star. In addition to the All-Star selection, he was the MiLB.com SAL Pitcher of the Week for the period of May 10-16. Rosenbaum was selected in the 22nd round of the 2009 Draft out of Xavier University (OH).


JUSTIFIED:  1B Justin Bloxom continues to be one of the SAL’s best offensive players, as he ranks among the top five SAL batters in hits (2nd, 95), total bases (2nd, 146), batting average (3rd, .322), doubles (3rd, 25), runs scored (4th, 50) and RBI (5th, 51). Bloxom, a 2010 SAL mid-season All-Star selection, has posted an organization-best 26 multi-hit games. The 22-year-old Kansas State University product was Washington’s 11th-choice in the 2009 First-Year Player Draft.


CLEGGO MY EGGO:  LHP Mitchell Clegg, who began the season pitching in relief, is 8-1 with a 2.55 ERA in 15 games (8 starts). Since moving to the starting rotation on May 12, he is 5-1 with a 1.37 ERA (7 ER/46.0 IP) in eight starts. The 23-year-old has allowed one earned run or less in seven of those eight (87%) starting assignments. In four June outings, he is 2-1 with a miniscule 0.38 ERA (1 ER/24.0 IP). Clegg, a 2009 New York-Penn League All-Star, was selected in the 21st round of the 2009 First-Year Player Draft.



vermont_lake_monsters.jpgShort-Season Single-A Vermont Lake Monsters

New York-Penn League Stedler Division

9-3, 1st Place, 2.0 Games Ahead


SWYN MOVE:  RHP Matt Swynenberg has allowed just one earned run in 10.0 innings (0.90 ERA) in his first two starts of the 2010 campaign. In his season debut, he fired 5.0 shutout innings on one-hit ball to earn the win against Lowell (Red Sox). Swynenberg was selected by the Nationals in the 28th round of the 2009 First-Year Player Draft.


BLAKE IS LIVELY:  SS Blake Kelso, selected in the 10th round of the 2010 First-Year Player Draft, is hitting .357 with two doubles and three RBI in eight contests. The University of Houston product has hit safely in five of the last six games.


JORDAN BRAND:  RHP Taylor Jordan, 21, is 1-0 with a 1.23 ERA in three starts this season. He’s fanned 14 and walked three (4.6/1 SO/BB ratio). The Merritt Island, FL native was drafted by Washington in the 9th round of the ’09 Draft.


BOBBY’S WORLD:  In 10.1 innings (3 games, 2 starts), LHP Bobby Hansen has 17 strikeouts against 0 walks. His strikeout total is second-best in the league, and he’s averaging 15.1 strikeouts per 9.0 innings. Hansen was selected by the Nationals out of Lewis-Palmer High School (CO) in the 18th round of the 2008 Draft.


Gulf Coast League Nationals

Gulf Coast League East Division

2-6, 5th Place, 3.5 Games Behind


MANNO MAN:  In three appearances to start the season, LHP Christopher Manno has allowed just one unearned run on two hits while striking out 10 batters in 4.2 innings. Manno, 21, paces all GCL hurlers with an average of 19.29 strikeouts per 9.0 innings. The Duke University product was a 26th-round pick in the 2010 First-Year Player Draft.


CRAZY EIGHT:  SS Adrian Sanchez has opened the 2010 GCL season with an eight-game hitting streak. His 14 hits pace the GCL, while his .424 batting average ranks fourth. Sanchez has collected three doubles, one home run, three RBI and eight runs. Born in Maracaibo, Venezuela, the switch-hitting shortstop was signed by the Nationals as a non-drafted free agent prior to the 2007 season.


OLIVER’S TWIST:  1B Tyler Oliver has hit safely in 5 of 7 GCL games, with 3 multi-hit efforts in those contests. Overall, he is 8-for-22 (.364) with two doubles, five RBI, and three runs scored to begin his pro career. Selected in the 35th round in 2010 out of Wabash Valley Community College (IL), Oliver led all Warriors in hitting in 2010 with a .456 average (88-for-193), 19 doubles, 30 home runs and 103 RBI.

Craig Stammen is back

Craig Stammen c.jpgCraig Stammen is back in the Majors and he will be asked to stop the Nats five game losing streak.


The Nationals recalled Stammen from Triple-A Syracuse and placed right-handed pitcher Tyler Walker on the 15-day disabled list, retroactive to June 20, with a right shoulder AC joint sprain.


Stammen, who will get the starting nod tonight at Atlanta, went 2-0 with a 2.25 ERA during a three-start International League stint with the Chiefs.


The 26 year-old Stammen began the season with the Nationals and went 1-2 with a 5.43 ERA in 12 starts before being optioned to Syracuse following his June 6 start vs. Cincinnati. Five of Stammen’s 12 assignments rendered quality starts, but the Nationals went just 1-4 in those contests.


Stammen is 5-9 with a 5.23 ERA in 31 career starts with Washington spanning two seasons (2009-present).


The 34-year-old Walker is 1-0 with one hold and a 3.57 ERA in 24 games for the Nationals.

Party in the USA

Landon Donovan’s magical, heart-stopping, high-five-starting goal in the 91st minute sent the nation into a state of euphoria as Team USA beat Algeria 1-0 to advance to the round of 16. And now for the transition to baseball… the Nats turn to their budding young star Stephen Strasburg to help bring out the brooms and sweep the Royals out of town. The game isn’t lose or go home like it was for the US soccer team but a win today will propel the Nats into the weekend series with the O’s–baseball worst team. The Nats need to get back to .500 and this could be the start of a nice streak. The Nats won the series with last night’s 4-3 victory and now they look to sweep their second series of the year–the first one came against the Pirates. Stephen Strasburg takes the mound for the fourth time this season.

Kansas City (29-43):

1.    Scott Podsednik – LF

2.    Jason Kendall – C

3.    David DeJesus – CF

4.    Billy Butler – 1B

5.    Jose Guillen – RF

6.    Alberto Callaspo – 3B

7.    Yuniesky Betancourt – SS

8.    Chris Getz – 2B

9.    Brian Bannister – SP (6-5, 5.70 ERA)

Nationals (33-39):

1.      Nyjer Morgan – CF

2.      Roger Bernadina – RF

3.      Ryan Zimmerman – 3B

4.      Adam Dunn – 1B

5.      Josh Willingham – LF

6.      Ivan Rodriguez – C

7.      Adam Kennedy – 2B

8.      Ian Desmond – SS

9.      Stephen Strasburg – SP (2-0, 1.86 ERA)


*The Nationals rank in MLB’s top half in home runs (tied for 14th with 65), but unfortunately lead baseball in highest percentage of home runs that have come with the bases empty–67.7 percent (44 of 65) of the long balls hit by Washington this season have been solo shots. The Rockies (67.6%) and Rays (65.6%) rank second and third, respectively, in the Majors.


*Another note of the long ball, Adam Dunn leads MLB with 13 solo home runs this season and Josh Willingham is tied for fourth in the same category, as 10 of his 13 home runs have been solo blasts.

Nationals select contract of Joel Peralta from Syracuse and option John Lannan to Harrisburg

The Washington Nationals today selected the contract of right-handed pitcher Joel Peralta from Triple-A Syracuse and optioned left-handed pitcher John Lannan to Double-A Harrisburg. Additionally, right-handed pitcher Garrett Mock was transferred to the 60-Day Disabled List and left-handed pitcher Ross Detwiler was returned from rehab, reinstated from the 60-Day Disabled List and optioned to Harrisburg.

Peralta went 2-0 with 20 saves (no blown saves) and a 1.08 ERA in 28 appearances with the Chiefs. The 34-year-old posted a 5.4/1 strikeout-to-walk ratio (38 K/7 BB) and 10.3 strikeouts per 9.0 innings in 33.1 innings pitched. Peralta’s 20 saves rank second in the International League, and his 1.08 ERA is third-lowest among pitchers who have logged at least 30.0 innings.

Peralta is 4-11 with two saves, 31 holds and a 4.61 ERA in 221 appearances during five big-league seasons with Los Angeles-AL, Kansas City and Colorado.

Lannan, 25, went 2-5 with a 5.76 ERA in 14 starts with Washington.

Mock, 27, has missed the last 65 games after going on the 15-Day DL (right cervical disk) on April 15, retroactive to April 11. He made his lone start on April 9 at New York-NL.

Detwiler, 24, began the season on the 60-Day DL (right hip) and posted a 0.84 ERA (1 ER/10.2 IP) in three rehab starts with Potomac of the Single-A Carolina League and Harrisburg.

Nats welcome K.C. to DC

Kansas City (29-41):

1.    Scott Podsednik – LF

2.    Jason Kendall – C

3.    David DeJesus – CF

4.    Billy Butler – 1B

5.    Jose Guillen – RF

6.    Alberto Callaspo – 3B

7.    Mike Aviles – 2B

8.    Yuniesky Bentancourt – SS

9.    Bruce Chen – SP (3-1, 4.15 ERA)

Nationals (31-39):

1.      Nyjer Morgan – CF

2.      Cristian Guzman – 2B

3.      Ryan Zimmerman – 3B

4.      Adam Dunn – 1B

5.      Josh Willingham – LF

6.      Ivan Rodriguez – C

7.      Michael Morse – RF

8.      Ian Desmond – SS

9.      Livan Hernandez – SP (5-4, 2.94 ERA)

Strasburg and Nats look to stop the skid

All eyes will be on Stephen Strasburg tonight as he makes his third Major League start. You couldn’t ask for better weather either. The temperature is in the mid-80’s and the sun is shining on one of the longest days of the year.

The Nationals are just happy to be back home.

Home Field Advantage


Back in March, it looked like the toughest portion of the Nationals schedule would be the first six weeks of the season. Using 2009 records, the Nationals squared off with winning ballclub’s in 31 of the season’s first 40 games and 13 of Washington’s initial 19 contests in 2010 came against either the Phillies (six games), Rockies (four) or Dodgers (three), all of which earned postseason berths last year.


In retrospect, the most overwhelming portion of their schedule thus far wasn’t games 1 through 40 but games 32 to 66. It’s not the opponents they played just where they have played–on the road. Since May 10, the Nats have played 25 road games (7-18) and only 11 homes games (7-4).


On May 13, the Nats beat the Rockies 14-6 on a dreary night at Coors Field and moved to 20-15 and a game out of first place in the NL East. They were in the midst of a nine game road trip and started it off winning three of four but then they lost the final five games of the road trip and they have yet to reverse their road fortunes–posting a 4-17 record on the road since May 15.


“I don’t care whether [wins] come at home, on the road or Japan… we need them,” Michael Morse said.

On the bright side, 16 of their next 22 games are at home before the All-Star break.

White Sox (31-34):

1.    Juan Pierre – LF

2.    Omar Vizquel – 3B

3.    Alex Rios – CF

4.    Paul Konerko – 1B

5.    Carlos Quentin – RF

6.    A.J. Pierzynski – C

7.    Alexei Ramirez – SS

8.    Gordon Beckham – 2B

9.    Gavin Floyd – SP (2-7, 5.64 ERA)

*Tonight, Washington begins a homestand against the White Sox and Royals–the only two clubs that the Nationals have yet to play since MLB returned to the Nation’s Capital in 2005.

Nationals (31-36):

1.      Nyjer Morgan – CF

2.      Cristian Guzman – 2B

3.      Ryan Zimmerman – 3B

4.      Adam Dunn – 1B

5.      Josh Willingham – LF

6.      Ivan Rodriguez – C

7.      Roger Bernadina – RF

8.      Ian Desmond – SS

9.      Stephen Strasburg – SP (2-0, 2.19 ERA)

*Ryan Zimmerman, Adam Dunn, and Josh Willingham have combined for 41 homers on the season. With those 41 long balls, Washington’s trio is tied for the lead in the NL with the Brewer’s Corey Hart, Prince Fielder, and Casey McGehee.

*Ivan Rodriguez’s .340 batting average leads all MLB catchers who have played in at least 40 games this season.

PEOPLE All-Stars Among Us: Kat Lanigan

Earlier this month Major League Baseball, PEOPLE and the Washington Nationals announced the three local finalists for the 2010 “PEOPLE All-Stars Among Us” national campaign, which debuted in 2009 and recognizes individuals who are serving their community in extraordinary ways.


The Nationals finalists are Mark Bergel of Bethesda, Md., Kat Lanigan of Herndon, Va., and Joe Mornini of Rockville, Md. Notes From NatsTown will feature thoughts from each local All-Star on why they should represent the Nationals at the 2010 All-Star game in Anaheim.


The choice is yours. Vote HERE through Sunday, June 20.


Kat A Thousand Thanks.JPGMy dad was deployed for the first time in 2001. I was 10, my sister was nine, and my mom was left to take care of us by herself while he was in Bosnia. Over the nine months our dad was gone, my sister and I became keenly aware of the sacrifices children make when their parents are deployed. Our extracurricular activities became more difficult to negotiate as we dealt with the limited availability of one parent and a reduced income, and championships and awards lost some of their luster without our whole family together to share it with.


Added to these hardships were the even more difficult everyday problems of having a deployed parent. Every day, we missed seeing our dad at breakfast in the morning. We missed him when we went to the park, to a baseball game, or on a vacation. And, every day, we worried that our dad might not come back home.


Since then, my dad has been deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan. We went through it all again and again bu we decided to try to help other kids across the country who were going through the same things we were. In 2006, my sister and I started A Thousand Thanks to Military Children. Through this program, we send thank-you letters to kids with deployed family members. Requests include information we can use to customize the letter for each child and can be submitted through our website at http://www.saluteourservices.org. They also include a choice of character from whom the letter will be sent; we are lucky enough to be able to send letters from the Looney Tunes and the Scooby-Doo as well as sports stars like Shaquille O’Neal and Tony Schumacher.


There is no way to relieve kids of all the stresses they face during a parent’s deployment. I just hope that the letters we send give kids something to be excited about and let them know that people recognize the hardships they must deal with and the sacrifices they make while their parent is deployed to serve our country. To date, we have sent over 30,000 letters to kids nationwide, and I hope to be able to send many more.


Being the Nationals’ representative at the All-Star Game would give me an amazing opportunity to tell more people about the program and be able to send more thank-you letters to kids around the country, as well as allow me to see some of my favorite baseball players. I am so excited and grateful to the Nats for giving me this chance to share A Thousand Thanks with more people, and I hope you will go vote for me.

PEOPLE All-Stars Among Us: Joe Mornini

Earlier this month Major League Baseball, PEOPLE and the Washington Nationals announced the three local finalists for the 2010 “PEOPLE All-Stars Among Us” national campaign, which debuted in 2009 and recognizes individuals who are serving their community in extraordinary ways.


The Nationals finalists are Mark Bergel of Bethesda, Md., Kat Lanigan of Herndon, Va., and Joe Mornini of Rockville, Md. Notes From NatsTown will feature thoughts from each local All-Star on why they should represent the Nationals at the 2010 All-Star game in Anaheim.


The choice is yours. Vote HERE through Sunday, June 20.


Joe TRR '10 c.jpgTeam River Runner began in the summer of 2004, when kayaking legend Mike McCormick and I discussed how to create a whitewater-kayaking program for the wounded warriors at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. Inspired by the heroes of September 11, we brainstormed this idea and how to make it happen. After years of connecting with paddling communities, veterans and wounded warriors, VA and DoD clinicians and supportive citizens across America, we made it happen and TRR has grown to proudly host 25 chapters nationally. We have had over 1,500 participants plus family members participate in one of our programs and/or trips.


Our goal is simple: travel to the nearest pool, river, lake or ocean and go out onto the healing waters and paddle. TRR paddling can be nature cruising on wilderness flat-water sections, driving through the surf line and out into oceans, or running pounding whitewater rivers all over this beautiful country. Each TRR chapter strives to have participating veterans take on strong leadership roles and assist in coordinating their local program. TRR wants our wounded warriors and disabled veteran athletes to be able to paddle at their highest potential, compete when interested, and teach others how to paddle as ACA Certified instructors.


Please VOTE FOR (me) JOE MORNINI because by doing so you are voting for hundreds of veterans and volunteers around the USA that are serving our wounded warriors.


Quotes from Wounded Warriors that participated with TRR while receiving treatment at Walter Reed Army Medical Center:


TRR group shot c.JPG“Joe has improved the quality of my live as well as the lives of HUNDREDS of other vets (and counting!).”


“Joe Mornini is the founder of Team River Runner, and one of my heroes. The kayaking program he runs is the best therapy for PTSD sufferers I’ve ever experienced!”


“Joe Mornini is on the Washington Nationals page! He’s a local boy, a special ed teacher, a kayaker, and has done a lot to save a few vets from their mental anguish and sheer boredom. Vote for Joe!”


TRR group shot 1 c.jpg“Please vote for Joe Mornini on this site. He started a Non-Profit called Team River Runner that teaches wounded servicemen and women how to have fun again. If it wasn’t for this program who knows where some of us would be today… Go to the Washington National and vote for Joe, then refresh the page and vote again and again. There are only a few days left to vote. Please help him win this honor so he can get TRR some advertising and get butts in boats!”


From a TRR volunteer:


“Basically, Joe’s about the most unselfish guy I’ve ever met. As nearly as I can tell he does what he does for no other reason than that it will help these young men and women (and some not so young). No profit motive, no quest for glory, just basic humanity at its best. How many people like that have any of us ever met?”

Strasburg to start Friday

The Washington Nationals today announced the following information about their upcoming series at Nationals Park against the Chicago White Sox.

*Reigning NL Player of the Week Stephen Strasburg and All-Star left-hander Mark Buehrle are slated to start the series opener on Friday. Below are the probable pitchers for the entire series (subject to change).

Fri., June 18 vs. CWS (7:05 pm) — LHP Mark Buehrle vs. RHP Stephen Strasburg

Sat., June 19 vs. CWS (4:10 pm) — RHP Gavin Floyd vs. RHP J.D. Martin

Sun., June 20 vs. CWS (1:35 pm) — RHP Freddy Garcia vs. LHP John Lannan

*Saturday’s game vs. Chicago-AL has been changed to a 4:10 pm start and will be broadcast on Fox.

Additional Strasburg notes to tell your friends about:

·         In MLB debut, Strasburg became only the 2nd pitcher since ’87 (the year STATS, Inc. began charting pitches) to fan 14-plus and throw less than 100 pitches in a game. On April 9, 2003 at Wrigley Field, MON’s Javier Vazquez struck out 14 in 7.0 innings and needed just 96 pitches to do so.

·         With 22, Strasburg tied for 2nd all-time on list of most strikeouts recorded in first 2 big league starts. In MLB annals, only BRK’s Karl Spooner (27 in 2 starts in Sept. 1954) recorded more in first 2 big league assignments.

·         Strasburg fanned 19 before issuing first walk. Only one pitcher since 1900 has posted more strikeouts before walking his first career batter: CIN’s Johnny Cueto (22 in 2008).

·         Strasburg led MLB with 22 strikeouts last week. KCR’s Zack Greinke ranked 2nd with 18.

PEOPLE All-Stars Among Us: Mark Bergel

Earlier this month Major League Baseball, PEOPLE and the Washington Nationals announced the three local finalists for the 2010 “PEOPLE All-Stars Among Us” national campaign, which debuted in 2009 and recognizes individuals who are serving their community in extraordinary ways.


The Nationals finalists are Mark Bergel of Bethesda, Md., Kat Lanigan of Herndon, Va., and Joe Mornini of Rockville, Md. Notes From NatsTown will feature thoughts from each local All-Star on why they should represent the Nationals at the 2010 All-Star game in Anaheim.


The choice is yours. Vote HERE through Sunday, June 20.


Mark and others with dresser c.jpgMy name is Mark Bergel and I am the founder and Executive Director of A Wider Circle. A good way to share with you what we do–and why your vote can help so many in need–is to have you to take a journey with me.


Imagine driving home tonight. You pull into the parking lot or driveway in front of your home. It is littered with glass and garbage. You hear screaming and yelling from the homes all around you. The security door doesn’t work; in fact, the doorknob isn’t even there. You just reach in the hole and pull open the door. You walk into your living room and see nothing but an old TV in the corner, on the floor. You have one chair–it is also old and it is dirty. That is all the furniture you have–your dining room is a dining room in name only, you have no table, no chairs, and nothing else in the space. Your kitchen has bare cupboards and there is half a piece of meat and some ketchup in the fridge.


As you walk into the bedroom, your children are lying on the floor, trying to sleep. You have no beds for them. This is your home. Nothing on which to relax, nowhere for your family to gather. This is poverty.




Bedroom before N2N work c.jpgAfter:

Bedroom after N2N c.JPGThe moment I started A Wider Circle was in one of these apartments. I was a volunteer bringing emergency food to people around the region. In this apartment lived a grandmother, mother, and two children. The grandmother had oxygen in her nose, used a walker and reminded me of my 80-year-old grandmother. She was 35. Her daughter was 20, and in extremely poor health. The two children were four and five, and they showed all the signs of a life in poverty, from their teeth to their skin to the clothes they wore.


I sat there with them, knowing I was witness to the cycles of poverty, and knowing that the energy and the resources existed in our region, in each of us, to break these cycles. I knew we could help these families get and stay out of poverty. So far, we have served 50,000 of these individuals. With your help, we can serve all those in our region – and we can show what is possible when those of us who can help make it a priority to do so.


At A Wider Circle our mission is to help children and families lift themselves out of poverty. We not only turn empty apartments into comfortable, stable homes, we provide life skills education and professional development so children and adults have a greater sense of the potential and the abilities they have inside. We work in schools and shelters–we go wherever the needs are the greatest. Please vote for me to help bring more solutions to the children in our nation’s capital, and to the mothers who are raising them with the hope of their achieving far more than what seems possible today. Believe in this dream, and help make it a reality for our neighbors in need.