A Message from Bruce Adams

Wishing all of our Big Train fans a joyous holiday season and a wonderful new year, we close with a message from Big Train founder and president Bruce Adams about what we accomplished in 2020 and what we can look forward to in 2021.
Looking forward to seeing all of you at Povich Field next year!
A Message from Bruce Adams
To Our Big Train Community: 
If the ability to adapt to changing and difficult situations is the mark of a successful organization, then Big Train baseball had a successful 2020. Ensuring long term sustainability is the existential challenge facing most community based organizations. The question of how we could sustain the community jewel that is Bethesda Big Train baseball at Shirley Povich Field has been with us since John Ourisman and I founded the Bethesda Community Base Ball Club in 1998. I am grateful to BCC Baseball for continuing the Big Train’s traditions of championship baseball and service to community for eight seasons from 2012-2019. 
And now, in this pandemic year, we recreated the Bethesda Community Base Ball Club and reestablished stewardship of Big Train baseball with a brand new board of extraordinary energy and expertise. We are committed to building a strong and sustainable organization so our children and their children will be able to enjoy the “Small town charm and Big League talent” of Big Train baseball at Povich Field long into the future.
We don’t yet know what 2021 will bring, but sports will be a leading indicator that our nation is returning to normalcy. Being able to watch Big Train baseball at Povich Field next summer will be such a glorious experience after all we have been through this last year. We all need more than ever a place to come together and enjoy our sense of community. One of my proudest moments over these last two decades was when co-founder John Ourisman reported that a friend told him: “John, when I come to Povich Field, I feel like I live in a small town.”
With the support of our fans, and despite the loss of our 2020 Ripken League season, we had a very productive first seven months back at the helm of Big Train baseball:
  • Created a strong board of directors and reincorporated the Bethesda Community Base Ball Club;
  • Secured our valuable 501(c)(3) status from the IRS to ensure the tax deductibility of your donations; 
  • Hired Chris Rogers as our full-time general manager and put his skills and passion for Big Train baseball to work for you;
  • To help fill the baseball void for our fans this Summer, the Tim Kurkjian Sports Journalism Fellows, working with Chris, produced thirty hours of bigtrain.tv video content along with five online issues of the Big Train Beacon;
  • Honored five Big Train Community Heroes and donated $2,500 to Manna Food Center and $1,400 to Nourishing Bethesda to help our neighbors most in need in this time of widespread food insecurity;
  • Raised $115,000 to cover our startup and transition expenses, including partial payments to our loyal coaches and trainer for the lost season, while ensuring we have resources in the bank to allow us to prepare for the 2021 season; and
  • Organized four Big Train Base Ball & Holiday Auction specials this Fall with support from graduate school interns from the Sport Management program at George Washington University.
Looking ahead, I am very pleased to report that Hall of Fame manager Sal Colangelo has already recruited a championship caliber Big Train team for 2021.
Our board members, staff, and volunteers are devoting their full creative excellence to the task of bringing the fun back to Povich Field for our fans in 2021. While we will continue to focus on helping to build baseball’s fan base of tomorrow by being a great place for families with young children, we remain dedicated to being welcoming to the full diversity that makes Montgomery County so special. 
Our first priority is, of course, the safety of our fans, players, coaches, staff, host families, and volunteers. In January, our Covid-19 workgroup led by Board vice president Eric Cole will begin the development of a safety plan for 2021 based on best practices from around the nation and guided by our County health and Parks officials. We will be fully transparent with our fans, host families, players, coaches, and the broader community throughout this process. 
Our Secretary-Treasurer John Daniel is leading a workgroup to do a top-to-bottom rethink of our food and drink operation to make Povich Field not just the most welcoming ballpark in America but the tastiest. Board members Rachel Northridge and Marjorie Lane are chairing our Marketing and Entertainment Committee. Board member and Big Train historian Bill Hickman is leading our game night staffing workgroup while Nominating Committee chair and Super Host Mom Becky Crowley is recruiting volunteers for our new Bullpen Club.
With approval from health and Parks officials, here are just a few of our plans for the 2021 season:
  • We will honor with our deep gratitude the health workers, first responders, and other community heroes who led us through this battle with the virus. Wouldn’t it be fun to have a Dr. Fauci bobblehead night?
  • A First Annual Roberto Clemente Community Service Day followed by a Latin American Baseball Heritage Night with a mariachi band and lots of tasty pupusas on Saturday June 12; 
  • An Israel-Bethesda Friendship Game on Sunday July 18 between the Big Train and Israel’s Olympic baseball team preparing for the 2021 Olympics in Japan;
  • And, of course, another “I ate a cicada at Povich Field” t-shirt giveaway night as we did in 2004.
We will be looking to you to join us in brainstorming possibilities for other ways to bring the fun back to Povich Field next summer. To ensure that our committees and workgroups have quality input from our fans, we will be arranging a series of fan focus groups throughout the early Spring. If you would like to participate by Zoom in these fan focus groups, please email me at bruce@greaterwash.org.
I have left the most exciting and most recent news to last. I am thrilled to announce that last week with generous support from the Povich family we hired the renowned sculptor Toby Mendez to cast in bronze legendary sports writer Shirley Povich sitting on a bench interviewing Walter Johnson. Toby’s extraordinary work including the Heroes of Birdland in the picnic grove at Camden Yards and Thurgood Marshall at the Statehouse in Annapolis can be found here. This sculpture of two icons of the national and Washington sports world will be placed near the flagpole at Povich Field and will be a magnet for sports fans from across the region. Dedication is scheduled for early June of 2021.
I know we are all looking forward to being together at Big Train games next Summer at Shirley Povich Field.
Stay safe. Enjoy the holidays and take care of each other. 
Roll Train!
Bruce Adams
Founder & President
P.S. If you want to be part of our exciting team as a member of our new Bullpen Club or Youth Advisory Committee or in any other way, please email me at bruce@greaterwash.org.
P.P.S. We know how hard it is for community based organizations to raise money especially in a year like this. So please consider donating to your favorite charities this holiday season. During this troubling time, Big Train has focused on reducing food insecurity for our neighbors in need. Please consider donating to Manna Food Center and Nourishing Bethesda. And if you are able to donate now to support Big Train baseball for 2021, we will continue to put your donations to good use.
Hall of Famer Rogers Hornsby once said: “People ask me what I do in Winter when there’s no baseball. I’ll tell you what I do. I stare out the window and wait for Spring.” Well, you don’t have to do that now that there is bigtrain.tv. Just go to the bigtrain.tv Archives where you will find interviews about Walter Johnson, Shirley Povich, Hank Greenberg, Roberto Clemente, the Negro Leagues, and more. The ten greatest games in Big Train history are chronicled there. Or check out the five excellent Big Train Beacons with stories about the 2019 Big Train championship season, ESPN’s Tim Kurkjian, college players in the age of Covid, Kelli Jenkins’s barrier breaking performance as the first female to play in the Ripken League, and the history of summer college baseball in the Washington-Baltimore region.

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