Charlie Brotman, the public address announcer for the old Washington Senators, grabbed Tony Tavares, the president of the new Washington Nationals, and the two of them looked around in astonishment.
Heavy hitters from business and politics were jamming into a big Georgetown house last night to bankroll an effort to tie the return of big-league baseball to better education in the District.
Many baseball backers who celebrated the team name in November, including ex-Senators announcer Charlie Brotman, right, turned out for the PAC party.
(2004 Photo Evan Vucci -- AP)
"Do you believe all these folks?" Brotman asked Tavares. "If we can sell all these people season tickets, we won't have any troubles."
The checkbooks came out last night, not to buy box seats behind third base but to swell the coffers of the new DC Baseball PAC and its campaign for "Better Learning Through Baseball."
The program will use the long-awaited return of baseball to boost scholastic achievement and expand opportunities for the city's youth, according to Neil S. Alpert, head of DC Baseball PAC.
"Our goal is to marry baseball and the community," said Alpert, who was described on the PAC Web site as founder of Capitol City Advisors, a fundraising and political consulting firm. "It's to use baseball to get kids to focus on education."
As detailed by Alpert, students in kindergarten through fifth grade would earn Nationals tickets through perfect attendance records.
Students from sixth grade through high school who make the honor roll also would win seats, Alpert added.
Alpert said the plan was to establish a foundation to receive donations that also would help outfit youth baseball and softball teams or provide bats and balls for city high school teams.
He said PAC officials also expected to announce this week an essay contest for D.C. students about what the return of baseball means to them. The prize is a family trip to spring training.
Judging by last night's turnout, the idea of the foundation appeared to be a solid hit.
Appearing prosperous and substantial in their suits and ties, Washingtonians lined up along the a cobblestone driveway of developer Herbert Miller's house on Q Street to get a chance to contribute.
Former U.S. senator Fred Thompson (R-Tenn.) was spotted as he left. Alpert said former senator Thomas A. Daschle (D-S.D.) and Reps. James P. Moran Jr.(D-Va.) and Thomas M. Davis III (R-Va.) also attended, as guests steadily filed in and out.
Of those in the city's political hierarchy, D.C. Council members Jack Evans (D-Ward 2) and Vincent B. Orange Sr. (D-Ward 5) and former council member Sandy Allen (D-Ward 8) were spotted, as was Mayor Anthony A. Williams (D).