For the fifth time since baseball returned to the nation's capital, Nationals players and coaches put on their tuxedos to raise money for the Washington Nationals Dream Foundation at the organization's annual gala. Held at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center, the gala is the biggest fundraising event of the year for the foundation.
"It really helps when they win because people are so much more enthusiastic about the team, so it's been nice," said Marla Lerner Tanenbaum, Chair of the Dream Foundation.
"People are very positive about where the team is going and that has its benefits for the foundation."
This year's theme was "It's time to play," and the scene was set for baseball. Guests walked under a Home Plate Gate replica and a giant scoreboard showed a typical Nationals lineup. Three young baseball players threw the ceremonial first pitch to Ivan Rodriguez and Teddy lost another President's Race. MASN's Rob Dibble and Johnny Holliday served as the emcees for the event.
Those that attended could bid on a whole host of silent and live auction items including Nationals party suites, a game worn Strasburg jersey, a Barack Obama signed first pitch photo, a Dave Matthews Band concert suite and a Washington Nationals flag of autographed baseballs. A big auction hit was shadowing GM Mike Rizzo for the 2010 First-Year Player Draft. It alone raised $7,000. Participants could also bid on player baskets -- a basket designed by each player and filled with his favorite things - Snickers, an X-Box, Cheez-Its and travel guides to Puerto Rico and Venezuela, among many other creative items.
All of the fundraising on Saturday evening benefitted the Washington Nationals Dream Foundation which supports the creation of a Nationals Youth Baseball Academy, a Pediatric Diabetes Care Complex at Children's National Medical Center and the Neighborhood Initiative. Most of their efforts are geared to improving the lives of children in the neighborhoods around Nationals Park.
More pictures are available on MASN's Facebook page.