In late 1997, a group of community leaders began discussions of how to improve the conditions of youth baseball and softball fields in Montgomery County, Maryland and the District of Columbia. This group was motivated by the value youth sports has to the development of character and citizenship in young people. Excellent non-profit organizations had been established in the region to support youth sports. However, the playing conditions on the fields were not always adequate.
In April 1998, the Bethesda Community Base Ball Club (BCBBC) was incorporated under the laws of the State of Maryland as a 501(c)(3) charitable organization. As part of the Montgomery County commitment to the National Promise to Our Children & Youth, BCBBC made the following promise: "The Bethesda Community Base Ball Club, Inc. promises to raise money to improve the quality of youth baseball fields in Montgomery County and the District of Columbia. We begin by making improvements to the baseball field at Cabin John Regional Park in order to field a team of college players in the Clark C. Griffith Collegiate Baseball League starting in the summer of 1999. Proceeds from the team will go to improving little league baseball and softball fields at schools and in parks."
The BCBBC raised one million dollars and, through in-kind contributions from the Maryland-National Capital Park & Planning Commission's related Montgomery County Parks Foundation, built Shirley Povich Field. Povich Field was built in order to host games for the Bethesda Big Train, a summer collegiate baseball team. Virtually all the people involved in the project were volunteers.
BCBBC created an atmosphere where athletes attending college became role models for children each summer. BCBBC worked closely with existing youth based organizations, including Bethesda-Chevy Chase (BCC) Baseball, and the Rockville Baseball Association. BCBBC also ran a summer camp where our players and coaches taught local young stars. The value of sports to the development of full and contributing citizens is well documented. BCBBC was dedicated to providing a community-based and family friendly approach to improving the lives of our young people.
In early 2012, BCBBC announced its merger with one of its longtime partners, BCC Baseball. Both organizations now operate as a single non-profit entity under the banner of the Bethesda Big Train. To this day, all proceeds from the Bethesda Big Train continue to enrich the ballfields of Montgomery County, MD and the District of Columbia. Starting in the summer of 2012, the summer camp programs of the BCBBC and BBC Baseball will also become one. The Bethesda Big Train summer baseball camp will allow for an even wider range of young people to take advantage of what the Big Train players and coaches have to offer.
A Sense of Community at Povich Field by Hannah Yasharoff