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MLB, Nats fund upgrade at DC youth center

New computers, video games added to All-Star Teen Room at Boys & Girls Club of Greater Washington
MLB.com

WASHINGTON -- After the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the All-Star Teen Room at the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Washington on Tuesday morning, which included MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred and Nationals officials, seven club members entered the room for the first time.

The children looked stunned as they scanned the area, which included four computers, three TVs and a PlayStation 4. They repeated "thank you," as some placed their hands over their mouths in awe.

WASHINGTON -- After the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the All-Star Teen Room at the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Washington on Tuesday morning, which included MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred and Nationals officials, seven club members entered the room for the first time.

The children looked stunned as they scanned the area, which included four computers, three TVs and a PlayStation 4. They repeated "thank you," as some placed their hands over their mouths in awe.

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Then, two of the boys ran over to the PlayStation 4 and faced off in a game of "R.B.I. Baseball 18." Three of the girls tested the new computers.

Major League Baseball and the Nationals helped fund this room to provide children resources and opportunities for underserved youths. It was the last of six All-Star Legacy project dedications.

"The All-Star Game provides great, immediate economic benefit to the whole city," Manfred said, "but we feel like it's important to leave something behind for cities who turn out and do a great job for us during this four- or five-day celebration."

Manfred said he hopes to renovate a room at a Boys & Girls Club in every MLB market. Since 1997, MLB has spent $85 million for projects in All-Star Game host cities.

"Even today, I still feel the same love I felt when I walked through these doors nine years ago," club member Danielle Flowers said in front of a small crowd. "The club has something for everyone. This project not only makes the club look and feel great, but it reminds us people really care about us."

More than 1,200 people attend the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Washington every day, and it is open after school on weekdays. The club offers programs for education and career development, character and leadership development, health and life skills, sports, fitness and recreation and summer camps.

"The Boys & Girls Club -- and I know this from my own experience growing up in the District of Columbia -- it is a safe place; it is a learning place," Ward 7 councilmember Vincent Gray said. "And it's a place where parents can feel comfortable that their kids can go and be part of an experience that will make a difference in their lives."

Joel Hanrahan, who pitched in the Major Leagues from 2007-13, said he started playing baseball at his Boys & Girls Club in Iowa, and that he doesn't know where he'd be without those experiences.

Toward the end of the event, Flowers invited everyone in attendance to visit and take advantage of the club's new assets before her friends entered the room for the first time.

"And bring your friend," Flowers added with a smile.

Kyle Melnick is a reporter for MLB.com.

Washington Nationals