The crack of the bat. The roar of the crowd. The smell of fresh popcorn and peanuts in the air. There's nothing quite like the excitement of opening day for baseball fans. So much potential and promise for your favorite team to make it all the way to the Fall Classic. I'm excited to see what my hometown Washington Nationals do this season and even more excited to follow the first season of the Washington Nationals Youth Baseball Academy.
Developing talent isn't easy. A great team has a new crop of players in the Minor Leagues sharpening their skills. Everyone wants to find the next Bryce Harper or Stephen Stasburg.
The Marriott Foundation invested in a farm system of sorts with the Washington Nationals to work with young people to help them develop the skills necessary to be successful. Here's a mission statement worth supporting, I quote: "The Washington Nationals' Youth Baseball Academy is focused on creating an enduring environment for high quality after school and summer programs that integrate baseball, academics and the value of teamwork in a safe environment for youth living in neighborhoods east of the Anacostia River here in Washington." Even before all the fields were finished, classroom doors opened to 50 third and fourth graders. Have you heard the expression student-athlete? It starts here. Sports is a terrific way to focus kids on their reading and writing, as well as their throw from third to first.
I'm proud to have the Marriott name associated with my home team and my home community. And I'm prouder that boys and girls in Washington will have a safe and positive place to grow. I'll be one of the scouts in the stands hoping to find a future general manager. Play ball and study! Go Nationals Youth Baseball Academy!
I'm Bill Marriott and thanks for helping me keep Marriott on the Move.