Bethesda, Md. (May 4, 2015) – Comcast SportsNet Mid-Atlantic has partnered with Pro Athletes Organization (PAO) to become the primary sponsor and media partner of a successful annual softball event that benefits charities that assist wounded veterans. The2015 Comcast SportsNet Amputee Warrior Softball Classic,which will be open to the public,will be held at Prince George’s Stadium in Bowie, Md., home of the Bowie Baysox, on June 6 at 7 p.m.

Gates will open at 6 p.m. The Comcast SportsNet Amputee Warrior Softball Classic will feature members of the Wounded Warrior Amputee Softball Team (WWAST), which is comprised of amputee veterans who have overcome severe injuries to again become competitive athletes. They will be joined on the field by numerous high-profile athletes, including several current NFL players, for a seven-inning game filled with entertainment, activities and special guests. 

The teams will be led by managers Kirk Cousins of the Washington Redskins and Dennis Pitta of the Baltimore Ravens, and captains NaVorro Bowman and Darnell Dockett, area natives and members of the San Francisco 49ers. Other expected players include Redskins Niles Paul, Nick Sundberg, Silas Redd and Ricky Jean-Francois, and Raven Mike Campanaro. Comcast SportsNet host and analyst Brian Mitchell, a former Redskins great, will also appear in the game.

The Comcast SportsNet Amputee Warrior Softball Classic will be featured by Comcast SportsNet in a one-hour special. The program will showcase the event, the amputee veterans and their personal stories, the athletes who support the event, and the organizations that serve wounded veterans. It will mark first time the event will be the focus of a long-form television program. The show will debut in mid-June and will be presented as an encore multiple times this summer. A complete list of air dates and times will be announced at a later date.

“This event will make for a very entertaining and inspirational evening for families, sports fans and supporters of the military, and it’s all for a great cause,” said Comcast SportsNet Mid-Atlantic President Rebecca Schulte. “We are excited to showcase these truly amazing amputee players, along with the generous high-profile athletes that will participate, on the field and in our coverage. It’s an honor to support this event and the charities and veterans it will serve.”    

Comcast SportsNet will provide significant promotion across its television and digital media platforms to support the event and its beneficiaries. The game and its participants will also be highlighted in the network’s news and entertainment shows, as well as in vignettes. PenFed, the official partner of military coverage on Comcast SportsNet, will serve as the presenting sponsor of the network’s event-related promotion and content, including the special program.

Organized by PAO, the event is now in its third year and has raised more than $130,000 for local charities and has generated significant awareness for wounded veterans’ causes and issues. TheComcast SportsNet Amputee Warrior Softball Classic will benefit the Yellow Ribbon Fund, Connected Warrior Foundation, Disabled Sports USA, WWAST and Operation Second Chance, a Comcast SportsNet community partner.

Tickets for the Comcast SportsNet Amputee Warrior Softball Classic are $20, but are available for $15 for children and active-duty military and veterans. A limited number of premium seats, which will include a gift bag, are $40. Tickets may be purchased in advance at csnwashington.com/softball or at the stadium on gameday. A $4 processing charge will be applied.

In addition, 200 tickets will be available to active-duty military and veterans from May 15-20 at Sport Fit Bowie and The Bungalow locations in Sterling, Va., Chantilly, Va., and Potomac Mills, Va. Comcast SportsNet will also donate tickets to Operation Second Chance for the wounded veterans they serve, along with its volunteers and partners.

The Comcast SportsNet Amputee Warrior Softball Classic is supported by several partners through financial and in-kind donations, led by presenting sponsor Medical Center Orthotics and Prosthetics (MCOP.) For more information on MCOP, please visit mcopro.com. Other sponsors that specialize in amputee services include Ossur, Ottobock and Cascade Orthopedic Supply. Sponsorship opportunities for the event are still available. For more information, please contact P.A.O.

Comcast SportsNet is committed to making a positive impact in the community, and the Comcast SportsNet Amputee Warrior Softball Classic will further that mission. The network is actively involved with numerous non-profit organizations in the region and supports more than 80 community events and initiatives each year. The network’s beneficiaries include primary community partners Operation Second Chance, Most Valuable Kids, Neediest Kids and Men Against Breast Cancer.

About The Wounded Warrior Amputee Softball Team: The Wounded Warrior Amputee Softball Team™ (WWAST) is a 501(c)(3) public charity whose mission is to inspire and educate others while enhancing the health and welfare of wounded warrior amputees. The WWAST represents some of our nation’s bravest and most determined heroes, soldiers and veterans. These men have sustained severe injuries resulting in amputation, and through extensive rehabilitation, they have become competitive athletes again, playing against able-bodied teams in exhibition games across the country. For more information, visit woundedwarrioramputeesoftballteam.org

About Pro Athletes Organization: Pro Athletes Organization (PAO), a 501(c)(3) organization, was founded to help raise funds for charities and causes using strategic partnerships with professional athletes through sports programming and literature. Promoting the responsible giving of professional and veteran athletes’ time, P.A.O. is currently working with amputee veterans charities, anti-bullying awareness campaigns and recycled sports equipment (Keep the Ball Rolling). For more information, visit proathletesorganization.org, or contact Akili Cooper or Torrey Pocock at (202) 351-1344.

Comcast SportsNet Mid-Atlantic, part of NBC Sports Regional Networks, is the official sports network of the NFL’s Washington Redskins and Baltimore Ravens, NHL’s Washington Capitals, NBA’s Washington Wizards, MLS’s D.C. United, Atlantic Coast Conference and Colonial Athletic Association. Comcast SportsNet Mid-Atlantic – the leading multiplatform sports media organization serving the District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia – delivers more than 500 live events per year, along with Emmy Award-winning news, analysis and entertainment programming, to more than 4.7 million homes. Comcast SportsNet Mid-Atlantic’s digital media portfolio, highlighted by CSNWashington.com and CSNBaltimore.com, is the region’s top online source for written, video and interactive sports content. Follow Comcast SportsNet Mid-Atlantic on Twitter at @CSNMA.

NBC Sports Regional Networks, part of NBC Sports Group, consists of 10 regional networks that deliver more than 2,200 live sporting events annually, along with award-winning breaking news, comprehensive analysis, digital content and original programming to more than 43 million homes. The NBC Sports Regional Networks are: Comcast SportsNet Bay Area, Comcast SportsNet California, Comcast SportsNet Chicago, Comcast SportsNet Mid-Atlantic, which serves Baltimore and Washington D.C., Comcast SportsNet New England, Comcast SportsNet Northwest, The Comcast Network, Comcast SportsNet Philadelphia and SportsNet New York. For additional information, visit ComcastSportsNet.com. For more information on NBC Sports Group properties, including press releases, photos, talent and executive bios and headshots, please visit NBCSportsGroupPressBox.com



Quick Links

Orioles' past and future intersect during jam-packed day at Camden Yards

Orioles' past and future intersect during jam-packed day at Camden Yards

If you were looking for a moment in Tuesday’s game that exemplified the proverbial passing of the torch in Baltimore, it came early.

In the top of the third inning, past Oriole superstar Manny Machado crushed his 100th career Camden Yards home run. It was especially fitting that the ball traveled far enough (455 feet, to be exact) to land in the *visitor* bullpen.

In the middle of the fourth inning, future Oriole superstar (fingers crossed) Adley Rutschman was introduced to a sea of adoring fans wearing orange and black, a sight the former Oregon State Beaver is all too familiar with.

It was hard to tell which player received the louder ovation. The fact that both players, neither of whom was playing for the Orioles Tuesday night, elicited such receptions highlights the crossroads this franchise finds itself at.

Manager Brandon Hyde spoke to this effect pregame.

“Obviously when the game starts I’m going to try to win the game and go with the guys we have,” Hyde told reporters. “I’m also looking at the big picture. I think everybody is really aware of where we are organizationally. It’s the start of the process we laid out months ago. Anytime we get extremely talented guys in our organization, it’s bright, and it feels good, and there’s excitement. And I totally understand it and I feel that too.”

Fans could be forgiven for forgetting there was even a game to be played Tuesday evening, with the excitement surrounding Rutschman’s introduction and the long-building buzz for Machado’s return coinciding on the same day. That can be true of the state of the franchise overall right now.

It’s easy to talk about top draft picks and high-level prospects in the minors, but there are games going on every night for the big league club as well. But with another historic season taking place on the field, it’s much more appealing to look elsewhere.

Adley Rutschman provides a level of hope fans can’t get from the Major League roster, and Hyde recognizes that.

“We’re just looking to get talent, guys that can be impact players,” Hyde explained. “You don’t want to label a guy or put too much pressure on someone, but obviously he’s done a lot of really good things at the amateur level and we’re really excited to have him in our organization. So there’s a lot of excitement.”

The Orioles manager came to Baltimore from a Chicago Cubs franchise known for developing high-end talent.

“I was the farm director when we drafted Bryant, obviously saw Almora and Baez and all those guys,” Hyde answered when asked how Rutschman compares. “He’s along those lines of being a real mature kid, looking forward to go play, you can tell he’s really excited and we’re obviously looking forward to getting him going and watching him play.”

Of course, it’s not just former Cubs prospects who have provided a template for success Rutschman can follow. Somebody a little closer to home just so happened to be sitting in the third base dugout Tuesday night.

“Just soak it all in, enjoy it all," Manny Machado told the media to laughter when asked what advice he would give Rutschman. "You know I wasn’t a number one overall pick, so it’s different. I mean just enjoy yourself. It’s an opportunity that he worked for his entire life to get to that situation, he finally got drafted by a ballclub...the only advice I can give is to continue to have fun, just enjoy yourself every moment of the way and just keep working as hard as you possibly can to reach your goals. Just because you got picked, one of those goals is scratched off, but there’s so many more to be accomplished. Just keep working as hard as you can to be the best person you can be, the best ballplayer you can be, and everything else will just take care of itself.”

It’s a mature response from a matured player, one who not too long ago found himself in the same position as Rutschman: top prospect for a franchise desperate to field a winner.

Trying to build that winner is GM Mike Elias, who emphasized just how critical bringing in a player like Rutschman is.

“This was the biggest decision this organization is going to make this year, and we couldn’t be more thrilled with the outcome,” Elias said Tuesday. “We’re looking for building blocks and found a big piece of that with Adley.”

It’s going to be a few years until Rutschman is able to truly take over the mantle of face of the Orioles. As Hyde reminded the media, “it’s still so far away.”

For now, Rutschman will have to settle for face of the rebuild, a position Machado was all-too-familiar with. 

But even an elongated timeline couldn’t keep Tuesday from feeling like a milestone in the history of the franchise, at the intersection of it’s past, present and future. It was a figurative passing of the torch, if not a literal one.

It is better to have loved and lost, than never to have loved at all. Fans at the park felt that as they welcomed back Manny Machado with open arms.

And if their warm reception for Adley Rutschman is any indication, they are more than ready to love again.


Quick Links

Not everyone thinks the Redskins need to invest more at wide receiver

USA TODAY Sports Images

Not everyone thinks the Redskins need to invest more at wide receiver

While the rumors about the Redskins potentially trading for Marvin Jones from over the weekend were total nonsense, a reason they resonated so much with fans is because many believe Washington needs major help at wide receiver.

But during a segment of Monday's Redskins 100 show, analyst Trevor Matich assessed the position group and actually thinks that, as a whole, the team should be relatively pleased with the talent it has outside.

"I like it better than I have in recent years, especially if Paul Richardson stays healthy," Matich said.

His "especially" qualifier is a common one, and that's because Richardson is the most established wideout currently on the roster — and he still has just 1,564 career receiving yards to his name. However, a healthy Richardson (which the 'Skins never really saw in his first year, considering he got injured early in training camp and was never the same) provides Jay Gruden the field stretcher he loves to have.

Richardson isn't the only player Matich is anxious to see, though.

"Terry McLaurin, their draft choice from Ohio State, is legitimately a 4.3 guy," he said. "He gets deep down the field and catches the ball in space."

One of the biggest issues for the 2018 Redskins was a lack of speed at every single spot. In Richardson and McLaurin, the Burgundy and Gold now have a pair of pass catchers who can fly past corners, do damage 30-plus yards down the sideline and open things up for other targets as well.

Overall, in reacting to the Jones storyline, Matich really doesn't see a huge need for the organization to make any additions to that collection of pieces. 

"I think that when you take a look at all the other guys, Trey Quinn in the slot, things like that, this receiving corps is fine," he said. "It's not desperate. They don't need to invest resources to bring extra people in."

Now, is "fine" and "not desperate" the level the front office and coaches want their receivers to be? Of course not. But Matich's stance is intriguing, because he's content with who'll be lining up there while plenty of others absolutely don't see it that way and feel a trade would be prudent.

If you're in that second group, recent history indicates this is the dead zone for NFL deals. So try not to waste your time refreshing Twitter over and over and over.

Perhaps Washington gets to Richmond and, after a few weeks of practices and a couple of exhibition contests, realizes their depth chart could use another name. Or maybe an injury happens and forces their hand. But according to Matich, as of now, the offense can function with the parts it has in place.