Arlington, VA

The new baseball diamond in Gunston Park will open this weekend with a game and food-filled celebration.

Officials from the Department of Parks and Recreation will open the sports field at 1401 28th Street S. this Saturday, September 14 at 11 a.m. and are inviting families to attend the free event.

“Youth baseball games will be held before and after the ribbon cutting,” officials wrote in a press release about the event. “Food trucks will be on site selling delicious tacos and ice cream!”

The old natural turf field were replaced by a controversial, artificial turf that officials hope will allows players to use the field later in the winter season and be more accessible for all players.

The overhaul cost $370,000, split between a $180,000 grant from the private nonprofit Arlington Sports Foundation and $190,000 from the county’s sports commission’s Diamond Field Fund after years of discussions.

The costs were in addition to the $1.4 million approved by the Arlington County Board in 2014 to make several other changes, including: replacing the dugout and batting cage, and adding stormwater drainage as well as ADA-compliant paths to the diamond.

Images 1, 2 via Arlington County

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Morning Notes

Arlington Is Top Destination for Young Adults — Arlington County is one of “the 40 places where young people are moving… based on the number of 18 to 34 year-olds who moved there in 2017 as a share of the total county population.” [USA Today]

Local Team Notches ‘World Series’ Win — “With their bats coming alive, the Arlington Senior Babe Ruth All-Stars improved to 1-2 in pool play Aug. 10 to win for the first time in the 15-under Babe Ruth World Series in Bismarck, N.D.” [InsideNova]

Arlington Firm Fined — “A military contractor has agreed to pay $4 million to settle an overbilling case. The U.S. attorney’s office in New Jersey announced the settlement with Mission1st Group on Friday. The Arlington, Virginia-based company specializes in systems engineering, information technology and telecommunications.” [Associated Press]

Why the Crashed ART Bus is Still ThereUpdated at 9:25 a.m. — “The vehicle at Columbia Pike and George Mason Drive can’t be moved until the building structure is stabilized. Once repairs are made to the structure, the bus & the other vehicle pushed into the building will be moved and County Police will finalize their investigation.” [Twitter]

Photo courtesy @netforceone/Instagram

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Morning Notes

HQ2 and Affordable Housing Funding — “Amazon.com Inc.’s planned Metropolitan Park towers, totaling 2.08 million square feet of office and 67,000 square feet of retail, would exceed the density currently allowed on the Pentagon City site by about 582,000 square feet. And that could mean a huge windfall for affordable housing.” [Washington Business Journal]

Local Baseball Team Going to National Tourney — “A group of baseball players who have won so many championships over a four-year stretch now have the opportunity to win the ultimate prize. By capturing the Southeast Region Babe Ruth Tournament on July 27 in Lewisburg, Tenn., the Arlington Senior Babe Ruth 15-under All-Stars have qualified for the Babe Ruth World Series, starting Aug. 7 in [Bismarck], N.D.” [InsideNova]

Astronaut Coming to Arlington — On August 7 and 8 in Crystal City, local students in grades 8-12 will get to “meet astronauts and design an experiment that could be launched to the International Space Station next year through a partnership with the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) and Higher Orbits to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the first lunar landing.” [AIAA]

Flickr pool photo by Kevin Wolf

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Morning Notes

HQ2’s Towering Height — “Amazon.com Inc.’s planned pair of office towers at Metropolitan Park will have the same number of floors as the residential building next door. But the HQ2 buildings will lord over The Bartlett by nearly 60 feet. The 22-story HQ2 towers are expected to hit 322.5 feet at their highest point, according to plans submitted to Arlington County. JBG Smith Properties’ The Bartlett, with its Amazon-owned Whole Foods Market on the ground floor, is 22 stories but only 264-feet-tall.” [Washington Business Journal]

Retail Sales Up in Arlington — “Year-over-year retail sales in Arlington showed a boost in the first quarter of 2019, according to new data. Total retail sales of $767.2 million countywide were up 1.6 percent from $755.3 million during the first three months of 2018, according to figures from the Virginia Department of Taxation.” [InsideNova]

Univ. of Phoenix’s New Arlington Campus — The for-profit University of Phoenix this week will be celebrating the grand opening of its new Northern Virginia-D.C. Metro campus at 4401 Fairfax Drive in Ballston. [Eventbrite]

Heat Doesn’t Stop Youth Baseball Tourney — “Even as some events cancelled due to the extreme heat warning on Saturday, many people are still got outside. That included hundreds of young players from across the area who turned out for the Arlington Babe Ruth – Doc Bonaccorso Summer Classic Baseball Tournament in Arlington.” [WJLA]

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Arlington Travel Baseball (ATB) is a 501(c)3 non-profit youth baseball organization that provides an opportunity for players ages 9-12U to acquire superior skills through higher levels of competition.

ATB is seeking head and assistant coaches who have a passion for the game and want to join a “winning” team. Ideally, we are in search of former college baseball players who want to teach the game they grew up playing.

Coaches will be compensated a competitive wage and required to pass a background check. Coaching experience is a plus but not required and training is available as needed. Coaches will report to the Director of Player Development, who will set team goals and assist with practice plans and specific skills development.

Typical responsibilities include:

  • Manage the day to day field activities of the team. Teaching relevant skills, tactics and techniques
  • Arrive on time and have a practice plan for each practice
  • Lead the team at all regular season, playoff and tournament games
  • Coach in a positive manner (Coaches will have coach of conduct form)
  • Communicate with Team General Manager with administrative needs of team
  • Prepare the players for the physical and mental challenges of competitive baseball
  • Identify player strengths and weaknesses and provide progress reports at end of summer season
  • Attend annual tryouts in July

If you’re interested or know someone who might be please contact us at [email protected] or call 703-801-6297.

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Morning Notes

Red Flag Warning TodayUpdated at 8:45 a.m. — The D.C. region is under a Red Flag Warning this afternoon for strong winds and low humidity, which can lead to wildfires. In Arlington, fire weather like this typically results in small brush and mulch fires that are quickly extinguished. [Weather.gov]

Report on Old Dominion Site Coming Soon — “With a task force prepping its final report on uses for the government parcel at 26th Street North and Old Dominion Drive, what will happen next to the recommendations? For both procedural and financial reasons, don’t expect the county government to jump into development of the 7.6-acre site immediately.” [InsideNova]

Arlington Eateries Among Harper’s Favorite D.C. Memories — Former Rosslyn resident Bryce Harper shouted out Silver Diner and The Italian Store in his farewell to D.C. [Twitter]

Presidential Race May Post Logistical Challenge — “As Arlington’s elections office begins mulling how to handle the 2020 presidential vote, it could be space, rather than money, that proves the biggest challenge.” [InsideNova]

W-L Hockey Player Raising Money for Diabetes Research — “Ethan Rostker, a freshman defenseman for the Washington-Lee hockey team, doesn’t shy away from the tough stuff. He was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes at just 20 months old. He wears an insulin pump while playing and completes a 100-mile bike trip yearly to raise money for diabetes research.” [WJLA]

Nearby: Bailey’s Crossroads Fire Update — “1,000 people are still displaced after two transformers burst into flames Monday morning– cutting off power to their Fairfax County apartments.” [WJLA]

Photo courtesy Jessica Hahn

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Morning Notes

A Look at Bryce Harper’s Rosslyn Apartment — “For much of the time that Harper was in a Nationals’ uniform, he rented a two-bedroom, 2,000 square-foot loft condo at the Wooster and Mercer Lofts, a luxury residential development from Abdo Development in Arlington.” [UrbanTurf]

Crash Takes Out Traffic Signal Near Fairlington — Per Alexandria Police yesterday: “Use caution in the 3600 block of King St, the Bradlee shopping center. A vehicle crash caused a traffic light outage. Treat uncontrolled intersections as 4-way stops. Be patient & take turns.” [Twitter]

Car Careens Over Wall in Arlington Mill — A car somehow rolled over a low wall and onto a sidewalk across from the Arlington Mill Community Center yesterday. The circumstances surrounding the crash are unclear. [Twitter]

Big Hole in Road Near Shirlington — A main road between the Shirlington and Fairlington neighborhoods was blocked for a period of time yesterday due to large hole in the road. The closure happened on 31st Street S., where a new sound wall is being constructed, during yesterday’s nightmarish evening commute. [Facebook]

Ballston Startup Gets Funding — MotoRefi, an auto refinance startup we profiled earlier this week, has “announced a $4.7 million seed raise led by Accomplice with participation from QED Investor sand Motley Fool Ventures. Ryan Moore, co-founder of Accomplice, will join MotoRefi’s board of directors.” [MotoRefi]

Service Cut to Metrobus Line — Metro is reducing service to Metrobus Route 2A (Dunn Loring-Ballston), after a ridership drop. Metro increased service to the line a few years ago and that net increase is now being eliminated. [Twitter]

Nearby: Companies Worried About HQ2 — “‘Recently a company was looking to put 600 jobs in this area, and they decided not to come here because they were concerned about getting the workers they need,’ [Fairfax County Economic Development Authority Chair Cathy] Lange said, not identifying the company. ‘Many of the companies are worried that their workers in Fairfax County are going to be hired by Amazon. And they are not going to be able to have their growth plans.'” [Washington Business Journal]

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Morning Notes

Major Crystal City Development Approved — “The Arlington County Board today approved a two-phase plan to redevelop a portion of Crystal Square, in the heart of Crystal City. The project will add 100,000 square feet of street-oriented retail businesses, including a new Alamo Drafthouse movie theater and a grocery store, to Crystal Drive, and upgrade an existing office building to ‘Class A’ office space.” [Arlington County]

Sunflower Restaurant Closed in Falls Church — Vegetarian restaurant Sunflower recently closed its location in Seven Corners. In its place, Bawadi Mediterranean restaurant has opened. Meanwhile, Sunflower has a location in Vienna that remains open. [Twitter]

HUD Grant to House Low-Income Arlingtonians — “The nearly $464,000 HUD Housing Choice Mainstream Voucher Grant is a specialized voucher program that will help non-elderly persons with disabilities who are transitioning out of institutional settings, at risk of institutionalization, homeless, or at risk of being homeless, rent housing in Arlington. The County’s Department of Human Services expects 40 Arlington residents to will be housed through the grant.” [Arlington County]

Another Arlington Money Diary — Another Arlington resident is the subject of a Refinery29 “money diary.” The latest profile subject is “an administrative assistant working in law who makes $57,000 per year and spends some of her money this week on candles for her daughter’s birthday cupcakes.” [Refinery29]

GW Unveils New Clubhouse at Barcroft Park — “[GW] Baseball’s first on-site clubhouse was unveiled at Tucker Field Saturday after more than a year of renovations. The Fassnacht Clubhouse and Training Facility is a 6,200-square-foot space that includes a locker room, coaches’ offices, a players lounge and an indoor turf training space. Each player received a customized locker, and the existing batting cages at the field were also enclosed, according to an athletics department release.” [GW Hatchet]

Fall Foliage Mostly MIA in Va. — “By the final third of October, fiery colors of fall are usually all over the place in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast. Not this year. While we are still at least a week or two from typical peak fall foliage in the immediate D.C. area, this year’s delay in autumn color is unlike anything in recent memory.” [Washington Post]

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When Richie Pacheco started thinking about a namesake for Arlington Travel Baseball‘s new fall tournament a few years back, he says it was a “no-brainer” to turn to longtime coach Sam Fox.

As a youth sports coach in Arlington since 1966, Fox is as close to an institution as it comes in the county. He’s been coaching so long, in fact, that Pacheco, the president of the travel baseball league’s board, says he got the chance to learn from Fox when he was a kid decades ago.

Even still, tournaments are often designed as memorials to legends of the past, so Pacheco wasn’t quite sure how Fox would react to the suggestion. Apparently, it was quite well received.

“I think his words were that he’d rather be around to enjoy it than to have a memorial when he’s not around anymore,” Pacheco told ARLnow.

The rest is history. The travel baseball league held its second “Coach Fox Fall Classic” this past weekend, with seven teams and roughly 100 kids from ages 9 to 13 competing. Though it may be just a small gesture, Pacheco hopes it helps make people aware of Fox’s legacy in Arlington.

“Sam has given so much to the community, this is just something simple we could do to recognize that,” Pacheco said.

Fox himself says the tournament was a “very nice honor,” but wasn’t willing to cast his influence in the county in such grand terms.

He says he grew up in Arlington, and first started playing baseball in Barcroft Park. He even went on to get a job working for the county maintaining its athletic fields, but he says it wasn’t until one fateful day in Bluemont Park that his coaching career got going.

“I had practice with some kids in the neighborhood there, and a coach asked to see if I could help out with the team, so I agreed,” Fox said.

He’s been coaching ever since. Back when he first started, Fox was a coach for the Arlington Little League, which was run by the county until the mid-1980s.

Yet, over the years, Fox watched as the baseball scene in the county changed, with the original league splitting in two groups affiliated with national youth leagues: one with Babe Ruth baseball, one with Little League. Pacheco helped started the travel baseball league a few years back, as a way for all Arlington ballplayers to play together and bridge the gap between the two.

But even as the teams and leagues shifted, Fox’s coaching style didn’t.

“I coach kids to have fun, and if we win doing it, that’s fine,” Fox said. “And, if not, the sun will come up tomorrow.”

Fox says he normally focused on pitchers, and has thrown more than his fair share of batting practices over the years. Pacheco’s enduring memory of his coaching style is simple: “When he talks, people listen.”

“He knows the game and he knows how to teach,” Pacheco said. “It’s about doing your homework, tuck in your shirt, that sort of thing. He’s teaching kids life lessons on and off the field.”

When asked if any particular memory stands out over his 50 years of coaching, Fox was direct: “No,” he answered plainly. But he says the totality of his experience over the years, which also included lengthy stints coaching basketball and football, is what really stands out.

“I love seeing where the kids start on day one and where they finish at the end of the season,” Fox said. “It’s been fun.”

Fox says he’s slowing down a little, particularly after suffering a mild stroke this summer. Yet he fully plans to keep working with the travel league where he can, and make a few more memories in the process.

“As long as it’s still fun, and my health is still good, I’ll keep coaching,” Fox said. “And it’s still fun.”

Main photo via Arlington Travel Baseball. Photo of Sam Fox via Facebook

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With the MLB’s All-Star squads in town, some Arlington Little Leaguers got a chance to hit the field at Nats Park.

The MLB invited 10 members of the county’s “Challenger” squad, reserved for kids with special needs, to square off in a special game Friday (July 13) against other players from across the D.C. region.

Players from other Little League Challenger teams and similar “Miracle League” teams took the field alongside several former Nats players — Sean Burnett, Scott Hairston, Kevin Frandsen and John Lannan — not to mention Nats mascot Screech and “Racing President” Teddy Roosevelt.

Each player participating got their own at-bat and a chance to circle the bases. Parents and volunteers from the various teams, including five from Arlington’s squad, helped staff the event.

MLB will wrap up its All-Star Week festivities with its 89th annual All-Star game tonight (Tuesday) at Nats Park.

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Arlington Babe Ruth Baseball’s eight-and-under travel team journeyed to Haymarket to compete for a state title last week, and they came home victorious.

The 8U team, Storm, clinched the championship in their age group with an undefeated run through the tournament, including a 13-12 victory over a Fluvanna County team in the final game.

The team will represent the state of Virginia in the Babe Ruth Southeast Regional Tournament, set to kick off in Ocala, Florida this coming Wednesday (July 18).

Three other Arlington Babe Ruth travel teams also participated in state tournaments last week in the 9U, 10U and 11U age groups.

Photo courtesy George Thompson

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