Historic Fort Greble Field First In City- wide Renovation Plans

By Carla K. Peay
Updated: June 4, 2005

Washington Nationals manager Frank Robinson. Photo by John E. DeFreitas.

DC Mayor Anthony Williams (far right) in a photo taken at RFK Stadium on Nationals opening day. Photo by John E. DeFreitas.

A once unkempt baseball field is now refurbished and ready for play at Fort Greble Park, the recipient of a four-hundred thousand dollar gift from The Baseball Tomorrow Fund. The field was dedicated during a special ribbon cutting ceremony during which DC Mayor Anthony Williams, DC Sports and Entertainment Commissioner Mark Tuohey, Washington Nationals President Tony Tavares, and Executive Director of the Baseball Tomorrow Fund Cathy Bradley were on hand.

“The Baseball Tomorrow Fund is a joint iniative of Major League Baseball and the players association. We support projects like this one throughout the United States and internationally to improve the lives of children through the sport of baseball and softball. Our main goal is to provide quality fields, equipment and uniforms and to establish organizations so that they may provide additional opportunities for kids to play the game”, said Cathy Bradley, Executive Director of the Baseball Tomorrow Fund.

The group began five years ago with a commitment of two million dollars. To date, they have awarded more than eight million dollars to over one-hundred sixteen baseball and softball programs.

“This is the beginning of a long affair that we will have with baseball and with the Washington Nationals. This is part of a wonderful contribution that they have made to the city’s youth”, said Mark Tuohey, Chairman of the DC Sports and Entertainment Commission.

“We are delighted to be participating in this historic event today. This is the beginning, not the end of our contributions to Washington D.C. Today is a wonderful day, this is going to be a wonderful field, and I hope to see some of these young men here at tryouts in a few years and making it to the major leagues”, said Tony Tavares, President of the Washington Nationals, referring to the Ballou high school baseball team standing nearby.

“The renovation of this ball field at here Fort Greble is a giant step toward the growth of the game and creates positive opportunities for the kids of this community. The Baseball Tomorrow Fund wants to encourage everyone in this community to continue to support these baseball and softball programs”, added Bradley.

The baseball field at fort Greble will be home to Ballou high school, a team which has played far more road games than home ones.

“By building a field in this location, and creating an opportunity for these kids to come out here and play and be proud of where they’re playing is an abundance of help in the progression of following the dream of playing baseball at a professional level”, said Jeffrey Hammonds, outfielder for the Nationals, also on hand to offer encouragement to the Ballou high school baseball team.

Mayor Williams had high praise for everyone involved in making the restoration of this field a reality, including the Washington Nationals, not only for winning games, but for their commitment to the community.

“The return of our national pastime to America’s hometown is more than just baseball, it’s also about jobs and economic investment. It’s about community building and people talking to each other on the metro and in coffee shops or the supermarkets about our new team. It’s about bringing a major corporation that was not in the district into the district and spreading its benefits across our city”, added Mayor Williams.

Responding to criticism that many of the jobs created at RFK are entry level positions, Williams countered that many of our citizens need those entry level jobs to get on the escalator of opportunity, and ultimately own the businesses that are serving the ball team at RFK.

Other projects slated for renovation include Fort Reno, the Palisades, Shepherd playground, Kenilworth park side, and Benning Terrace.

“These planned renovations are going to take place in neighborhoods that have been waiting for baseball park renovations, and really need the support of athletics and the teamwork and the character building and the nurturing that out youth deserve and they so much demand”, Mayor Williams added.