During the long and bumpy road that was the debate over the Nationals' publicly financed baseball stadium, critics of the project often asked, "What's in it for the city?"
Well, D.C. Wire just learned about at least one little piece of that puzzle. We got an invite in the mail announcing a new four-game high school baseball series that will be held at Nationals Park in Southeast on May 31.
The "Congressional Bank Baseball Classic" is intended to raise money for youth baseball programs in the D.C. Public Schools and other nonprofit organizations, according to the invitation for a fundraiser related to the event. The day-long series of games will feature contests between two top public school teams, two private school teams and a championship between the winner of each game. There also will be an all-star game featuring two players from every high school -- public, private and charter -- in the city.
The fundraiser is on the agenda for May 3, featuring a host committee that includes Mayor Adrian M. Fenty (D) and D.C. Council Chairman Vincent C. Gray (D). Gerard Hall, coach of the Woodridge Warriors, will receive the 2008 "Founders' Award" and Emmanuel Burris, a Wilson High graduate and member of the San Francisco Giants organization, will be featured.
The invitation to the fundraiser asks for corporate contributions up to $15,000 and individual contributions up to $3,000. It is not clear whether the event will turn a profit this year, because expenses to stage the games are high, but the idea is apparently to host the tournament every year.
D.C. Wire hears that Fenty intends to hold a news conference next week to announce the event.
(Note: In the interest of full disclosure, we also hear The Washington Post is a major sponsor. However, D.C. Wire has not spoken to anyone in the Post's public relations department. We found out because of the invite that arrived in our mailbox yesterday.)