First off, I would like to extend a very happy Father's Day to all dads out there, particularly those currently away from their families serving in the military.
For me, the word "dad" conjures up memories of grilling outside, weekend bike rides and, of course, trips to the ballpark. In fact, if not for my dad introducing me to the sport, I'm not sure I would be as passionate about baseball as I am today.
This weekend will be no different for a lot of families, as the Battle of the Beltway series between the Orioles and Nationals resumes in Washington. Around Nationals Park this weekend will be plenty of fathers, I'm sure.
On that note, Major League Baseball is proud to announce the winners of the 2011 "My Dad, My MVP," an annual contest recognizing the best fathers and their contributions every day. There are 30 winners declared, one for each team, and this year the Nationals' winner is Wayne Schlauch, from College Park, Md.
As the Nationals' "MVP" dad, Schlauch will be honored with the opportunity to deliver the team lineup card before the Orioles-Nationals game on Father's Day, Sunday, June 19.
While every father out there has an amazing story, Schlauch is a father of four and grandfather to six, who has always strived to instill a strong sense of integrity in his kids. Not even a heart attack could keep Schlauch from putting his family's needs first, while using baseball and the Nationals as a way to connect with those he loves.
"We are pleased to honor Wayne Schlauch as our 'MVP Dad,' " said Israel Negron, Director of Community Relations for the Washington Nationals. "We invite all Nationals fans to join us in celebrating Wayne's dedication to his family and his love of baseball."
If you're heading to Nats Park for Sunday's series finale with the Orioles, please be sure to give Schlauch and all fathers in attendance a warm reception.