November 2013

#NatsWeekOfThanks: Fans

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You’ve given blood. You’ve donated food. You’ve stood up and honored our military at 81 home games.

We are so incredibly thankful to have fans that have supported not only the team on the field, but the community as well. With your help, we’ve been able to use this great game that we all love to give back. To give more.

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That wraps up our #NatsWeekOfThanks. We hope you enjoyed it as much as we did. For more on #NatsWeekOfThanks, and to get your final entries in for a chance to have your family’s holiday photo taken on the field at Nationals Park, click here.

Enjoy your holiday season. Spring training will be here before you know it. 

#NatsWeekOfThanks: Kyle’s Kamp

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Bryce Harper, center, visiting with Gavin Rupp, right, and his family in the Nationals dugout.

Bryce Harper, center, visiting with Gavin Rupp, right, and his family in the Nationals dugout.

In 2010, the Hahne Family received news that changed their lives forever. Only six years old, Kyle Hahne was diagnosed with leukemia. What started as a website to update friends and family about Kyle’s hospital trips, Kyle’s Kamp soon became a way to raise money to support Children’s National Medical Center for pediatric cancer research.

As Kyle was an avid baseball fan, one fundraising effort is a series of baseball tournaments. Through a partnership with the Washington Nationals, some of these games are played on the field at Nationals Park.

Gavin Rupp threw out the first pitch at Nationals Park.

Gavin Rupp threw out the first pitch at Nationals Park.

It was at those games that we were first introduced to a remarkable young man named Gavin Rupp and his family.

Having gone through countless radiation treatments and two surgeries to remove a tumor from his brain, Gavin wanted to continue to play baseball. One month later, another tumor was detected, this time in the center of Gavin’s brain. Surgery was too risky, and the 13 year old became a hospice patient. He and his family tried to make the most of the time he had left.

While we wish it were under different circumstances, the Washington Nationals are thankful to Kyle’s father Rob for introducing us to Gavin. We invited Gavin to throw out the ceremonial first pitch before a game last July and to meet his favorite player, Bryce Harper.

Upon their meeting, Gavin and Bryce quickly became friends, forming a lasting bond that provided a special moment for the Rupp family. Our thoughts continue to go out to the Rupp family, as we were all saddened by Gavin’s passing.

We are thanking Kyle’s Kamp as part of our Week of Thanks. For more on #NatsWeekOfThanks, click here.

For more information, please visit www.kyleskamp.org and follow on Twitter at @KylesKamp.

To learn more about Gavin, and the Rupp family’s efforts to help eradicate pediatric cancer, visit www.ipromise15.org and follow on Twitter at @iPromise15

#NatsWeekOfThanks: TAPS

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TAPS-Team

Military outreach is one of the top priorities for the Washington Nationals, and as such we have had a longstanding relationship with the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS). The Washington Nationals are thankful for the wonderful people who make TAPS such an indispensable resource for the military community.

TAPS is the 24/7 tragedy assistance resource for anyone who has suffered the loss of a military loved one. The organization provides comfort and care through comprehensive services and programs, including peer-based emotional support, casework assistance, connections to community-based care, and grief and trauma resources.

As our community dealt with the aftermath of the shooting at the Navy Yard in September, many looked for ways to help. As they did for the contract workers at the Pentagon who were affected by 9/11, TAPS looked to help affected families by raising money for the Navy Yard Tragedy Family Support Fund.

Working in coordination with TAPS, we set up a weeklong online auction for the patriotic jerseys worn by the team during the first game of the Sept. 17 doubleheader against Atlanta. The auction raised more than $60,000 to assist those who lost a loved one at the Navy Yard through support programs and casework assistance.

We are thanking the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors as part of our Week of Thanks. For more on #NatsWeekOfThanks, click here.

For more information on the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors, please visit www.taps.org and stay connected on Twitter at @TAPS4America.

#NatsWeekOfThanks: Food and Friends

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A group of Washington Nationals employees spent Monday morning volunteering at Food and Friends.

A group of Washington Nationals employees spent Monday morning volunteering at Food and Friends.

In what has become an annual tradition, earlier today a group of Washington Nationals employees volunteered at Food and Friends to prepare Thanksgiving meals for families in need this holiday season.

The Washington Nationals are thankful for the work that Food and Friends does — not just during the holidays, but throughout the year. The organization serves more than 1 million meals to clients throughout Washington, D.C., Maryland and Virginia living with HIV/AIDS, cancer and other life-challenging illnesses.

During Thanksgiving week, Food and Friends adds another 3,500 meals onto their usual workload.

Each prepared meal will serve four people and includes a 10-12 lb turkey, sides and pie for dessert. Throughout the morning, front office staff performed tasks like thawing, preparing and cooking turkeys, assembling side portions, and packaging full meals to be delivered.

We are thanking Food and Friends as part of our Week of Thanks. For more on #NatsWeekOfThanks, click here.

For more information on Food and Friends, please visit www.foodandfriends.org and get updates on Twitter at @foodandfriends.

District 9: Charlie Slowes

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At Curly W Live, we put our own spin on the traditional “10 Questions” format by asking nine questions to players, coaches, broadcasters, front office members, prospects and other Nationals personalities. This is a special “Week of Thanks” edition of District 9, featuring Nationals radio voice Charlie Slowes.

Nationals radio broadcaster Charlie Slowes

Nationals radio broadcaster Charlie Slowes

1. When you look back at 2013, what is your biggest takeaway?

The 2013 Nationals season proves that old baseball adage, “You never know!” I think everyone had those words “expect” and “anticipate” in their heads, with the thinking the Nationals would duplicate or surpass their 2012 regular season accomplishments.  Some of the experts had the Nats winning 105 games or more. But no two seasons are the same. You can’t predict injuries, fall-off in performance or different types of adversity. Things happen that you can’t predict. The Nationals late season run was how we all expected them to play all year, certainly leaving a lot of positives for next year. I think this team has overcome a lot and that the struggles of this year will benefit them going forward.

2. Describe your favorite on-the-field moment from the 2013 season.

I never have just one favorite moment. I always love Opening Day. I loved the opening ceremonies, the unveiling of the NL East Champion banner and the crowd was unbelievable. Then Bryce hit two home runs, Stephen Strasburg threw seven shutout innings and the Nats shut out the Marlins. Ryan Zimmerman’s three-homer game in Baltimore and ninth-career walk off homer against the Mets are on my list, and so is Denard Span’s diving, game-saving, game-ending catch against the Giants.

Slowes participated in the 2013 Wounded Warrior Celebrity Softball Classic at Nationals Park.

Slowes participated in the 2013 Wounded Warrior Celebrity Softball Classic at Nationals Park.

3. What was your favorite off-the-field moment?

My best off-the-field moments are often times interactions with other Nationals fans. The best day for that actually was on the field, getting to play in the Wounded Warrior Celebrity Softball Classic. Playing on the Nationals Park field with so many people staying for the game and cheering for us was a blast. It’s always an honor to be with and support those who serve and protect our country.

4. What did you learn about Jayson Werth during the 2013 season?

I learned that Jayson has the ability to lead a club, to put the team on his back and carry it when they needed it most. He said all the right things and never let this club stop fighting or give up. He has been a great teammate in the clubhouse.

5. Did you learn anything about Bryce Harper this year?

We’ve learned that at 20 years old (now 21), even though he is so impressive, I think we haven’t even scratched the surface where Bryce is concerned. He has a strong desire to play, succeed and win.

6. How do you view Davey Johnson’s legacy in D.C.?

His legacy will be attached to winning on the field, to getting the team to the postseason and helping to instill the confidence to play winning baseball, every day. He’s a Hall of Famer in my book.

7. What are your impressions of the Matt Williams hire?

I was very impressed with how Matt handled himself the day of his introductory press conference and his plans going forward. He is spending time getting to know his coaches and players, making for a smooth transition come Spring Training. There’s no doubt in my mind he’s ready for this. It will be interesting to see what might be different come spring and how he puts his stamp on this club.

Slowes opened Matt Williams' introductory press conference.

Slowes opened Matt Williams’ introductory press conference.

8. We’re about to enter our 10th season of Washington Nationals baseball here in our nation’s capital. What does that milestone mean to you?

I think 10 years means the Nationals now have a history to draw from and to refer back to. The Nationals are now a household name in Washington, providing a winning club on the field to root for with an established fan base. You see Nationals gear around the city now, no matter the time of year. The Nationals have also become an organization that has and will continue to give back to the community through the Dream Foundation and its initiatives. I am very excited to see the Youth Baseball Academy running at full speed very soon.

9. What are you most thankful for this holiday season?

First, I am thankful for the health of my family and good friends. It all starts there. Everything else is gravy on the turkey. I am also very fortunate in my role with the Nationals; being able to do something that I love with a great partner and for the great support received from the organization and of course, our listeners.

#NatsWeekOfThanks: WWAST

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Wounded Warrior Amputee Softball Team

image (3)Since we started working with them in 2011, the Washington Nationals have been awed by the intense dedication and strength of character demonstrated by the members of the Wounded Warrior Amputee Softball Team. We are so thankful and proud to be able to help share their stories through events like the Wounded Warrior Celebrity Softball Classic.

The Wounded Warrior Amputee Softball Team is a group of veterans and active duty military members from across the United States, each of whom has lost a limb while serving our country. Using the latest in prosthetic technology, the WWAST travels the country playing only able-bodied teams as they strive to prove that “life without a limb is limitless,” and that the road to recovery – no matter how long – can lead to a full and satisfying life for veterans and their families.

We are thanking the Wounded Warrior Amputee Softball Team as part of our Week of Thanks. For more on #NatsWeekOfThanks, click here.

For more information on the Wounded Warrior Amputee Softball Team, please visit www.thewwast.org and follow them on Twitter at @WWAmpSoftball.

#NatsWeekOfThanks: DCPS

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DCPS

'42' ScreeningThe Washington Nationals are grateful to work with partners that are seeking new ways to make a positive impact on youth in our communities. Our  friends at DC Public Schools (DCPS) are dedicated to furthering the education of area students – both in and out of the classroom.

Last May, Major League Baseball and the Washington Nationals hosted two private screenings of the movie “42” for 400 D.C. Public School students. Recognizing the social value of educating future generations about Jackie Robinson’s impact beyond the baseball diamond, DCPS jumped at the unique opportunity.

The high school students were able to view the movie free of charge and share their experiences online via Iam42.com. In addition, a panel discussion with Nationals President of Baseball Operations and General Manager, Mike Rizzo, centerfielder Denard Span and First Base Coach Tony Tarasco followed each screening, where students asked questions about the challenges of being a professional athlete, the impact of Jackie Robinson, and battling racial prejudice, both on and off the field.

We are thanking DCPS as part of our Week of Thanks. For more on #NatsWeekOfThanks, click here.

For more information on DC Public Schools, please visit http://dcps.dc.gov and follow them on Twitter at @dcpublicschools.

#NatsWeekOfThanks: Children’s National Medical Center

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Washington Nationals Diabetes Care Complex at Children’s National Medical Center

060513-141 childrens hospThis past June, we saw a dream seven years in the making come true when the Washington Nationals Diabetes Care Complex at Children’s National Medical Center opened its doors. The Washington Nationals and the Washington Nationals Dream Foundation are thankful for all who made this dream possible, especially those at Children’s National. More than just a hospital wing, the Diabetes Care Complex serves as an educational hub where children and their families can receive nutritional and physical education to help in their fight with this disease. We are privileged that, through this partnership, we can help children with diabetes live long, happy lives.

We are thanking Children’s National Medical Center as part of our Week of Thanks. For more on #NatsWeekOfThanks, click here.

For more information on Children’s National Medical Center, visit www.childrensnational.org or get updates on Twitter by following @childrenshealth.

Nationals Add Solis, Taylor, Barrett to 40-Man Roster

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by Amanda Comak

Three Washington Nationals Minor Leaguers took big steps in their path toward the Major Leagues on Wednesday, when left-hander Sammy Solis, outfielder Michael Taylor and right-hander Aaron Barrett were added to the team’s 40-man roster.

In order to clear space for the three players on the roster, the Nationals designated left-handers Fernando Abad and Tyler Robertson for assignment.

Solis, Taylor and Barrett, all well-regarded prospects within the organization, will now be included in Major League Spring Training this upcoming February, the first such opportunity for all three players.

Sammy Solis turned in a dominant campaign in the Arizona Fall League before being added to the Nationals' 40-man roster. (Jason Wise/MLB.com)

Sammy Solis turned in a dominant campaign in the Arizona Fall League before being added to the Nationals’ 40-man roster. (Jason Wise/MLB.com)

The Nationals’ second-round selection in the 2010 First-Year Player Draft out of the University of San Diego, Solis recently led the hitter-friendly Arizona Fall League in wins (5) and strikeouts (29) en route to a 2.17 ERA in seven starts in 29.0 innings. Solis, 25, is 10-4 with a 3.20 ERA in 33 games (32 starts) spanning three professional seasons. Solis was recently rated by industry-insider Baseball America as the Nationals’ No. 6 prospect.

The 22-year-old Taylor hit .263 with a career-high 57 extra-base hits (41 doubles, six triples, 10 home runs), 87 RBI and 51 stolen bases in 133 games this season with Potomac of the Single-A Carolina League. Taylor’s RBI and stolen base totals ranked second among Nationals farmhands and earned him a spot on the Carolina League’s postseason All-Star team. Regarded as the Nationals’ top defensive outfield prospect, Baseball America recently rated Taylor as Washington’s No. 7 prospect and the system’s “top athlete.” He was the Nationals’ sixth-round pick in the 2009 Draft from Westminster Academy in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

Taylor is currently second in the Puerto Rican Winter League with a 1.029 OPS (.378 AVG/.451 OBP/.578 SLG).

Barrett, a power right-hander out of the bullpen, fanned 12.3 batters per 9.0 innings this season for Double-A Harrisburg. Barrett’s 26 saves ranked second in both the Eastern League and Washington’s system and he earned a spot on the Eastern League’s midseason All-Star team. Baseball America credited the 25-year-old Barrett with the system’s “best slider.” Barrett was the Nationals’ ninth-round selection in the 2010 First-Year Player Draft out of the University of Mississippi.

Abad, 27, posted a 3.35 ERA in 39 relief appearances for the Nationals in 2013. He signed with the Nationals as a minor league free agent on January 15, 2013.

The 25-year-old Robertson picked up four wins and two saves and worked to a 3.04 ERA in 47 Triple-A games (one start) for Syracuse and Rochester in 2013. He was claimed off waivers from the Minnesota Twins on June 7, 2013.

By adding Solis, Taylor and Barrett to the 40-man roster, the Nationals are protecting them from being selected in the Dec. 12 Rule 5 Draft. Unprotected players may be plucked by another organization and given a chance to make that team’s Major League roster out of Spring Training in 2014.

#NatsWeekOfThanks: USO Metro

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USO Metropolitan Washington

Me and a Friend2The Washington Nationals are thankful for all that USO Metropolitan Washington does to help the more than 500,000 military families in the area. While we work together in a number of areas, we’re particularly proud of the Me and a Friend program, developed in 2010 in coordination with the Department of Defense.

Military children face unique social challenges as their parents are frequently reassigned. Many times, these moves occur during the summer months, making it harder for kids to make connections with peers. For every Sunday home game the Nationals provide 100 tickets to military children through the USO’s Ticketline program, giving them the opportunity to invite a new friend. This special group receives a visit from Screech, scoreboard recognition and first-in-line privileges for Kids Run the Bases.

We are thanking the USO Metropolitan Washington as part of our Week of Thanks. For more on #NatsWeekOfThanks, click here.

For more information on USO Metropolitan Washington, visit www.usometrodc.org or follow the organization on Twitter at @USOMetroDC.

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