Today, the Washington Nationals announced that first baseman Josh Bell has been named the Player Ambassador to the Nationals Youth Baseball Academy, the signature program of Nationals Philanthropies, the official charitable arm of the Nationals.
In this position, previously held by Ian Desmond and Anthony Rendon, Josh will play an important role in representing the Youth Baseball Academy in the Nationals clubhouse and the D.C. community. He will support the work of the Academy by making regular visits to the facility throughout the year and serve as a role model for the Academy’s Scholar Athletes.
“Baseball is a wonderful game that has given so much to me and taught me many valuable life lessons,” said Josh Bell. “I am humbled to serve as the Player Ambassador to the Nationals Youth Baseball Academy and to have the opportunity to share my love of baseball with the kids and all it has taught me. I cannot wait to be part of the Academy family and to begin forging meaningful relationships with the Scholar Athletes soon.”
Throughout his career, Josh has been an active participant in community programs and charitable events. Before he was traded to the Nationals in December 2020, Josh was named the Pittsburgh Pirates 2020 nominee for the Roberto Clemente Award, baseball’s most prestigious individual honor for Major Leaguers that recognizes a player who best represents the game of baseball through extraordinary character, community involvement, philanthropy and positive contributions, both on and off the field.
Last year with the Pirates, Josh’s community involvement focused on creating and growing new, impactful programs that helped address the need for social justice. He started a series on his social media pages with the hashtag #SocialReformSunday, speaking from his heart and educating others on social justice issues, while reaching out to other Major League players to do the same. During this past offseason, Josh participated in the Players Alliance’s Pull Up Neighbor tour, a program set up to help Black communities across the country by supplying food, COVID-19 resources, and baseball equipment to help families that have been impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. In late April, the Nationals and Josh announced the start of Josh Bell’s Book Club, a monthly book club for adults focused on self-improvement.
“Since opening the doors of the Nationals Youth Baseball Academy, we have benefited from meaningful engagement from Nationals players with our Scholar Athletes,” said Tal Alter, CEO of Nationals Philanthropies. “The official Player Ambassador has forged deep and lasting relationships with our kids and cemented the bonds between the Academy and the clubhouse. Josh Bell will carry forward this legacy. We could not be more excited to have a player – and a person – of Josh’s caliber encouraging our Scholars and representing the Academy in the community.”
Conceived as part of a public-private partnership between the District government and Major League Baseball in the deal that brought the Nationals to Washington, D.C., the Academy operates out of a state-of-the-art, nine-acre education and recreation campus constructed in the Fort Dupont Park neighborhood in Ward 7. The facility features an 18,000-square-foot education center complete with seven classrooms, a full teaching kitchen, and multi-purpose training/education space. Through a holistic youth development program – including academic enrichment, physical activity, and health education – the Academy imparts a lasting impact on the lives of school-age children living east of the Anacostia River.