Mon. Jan 18th, 2021

The Blue & Gray Press

The University of Mary Washington Student Newspaper

UMW baseball welcomes minor league team, FredNats

3 min read

The FredNats will have 70 home games on all different nights of the week. (MiLB.com)

Victoria Percherke

Staff Writer

Fredericksburg now has a new minor league baseball team, the Fredericksburg Nationals, nicknamed as the FredNats.

The FredNats recently posted their spring summer schedule, an online store, and are now hosting a celebration for Mary Washington’s 311th birthday party.

The party will take place on Nov. 16, located at the Mary Washington House. The FredNats will also reveal their team logo and jerseys at the celebration.

The public will enjoy speeches from team executive vice president and general manager, Nick Hall; Mary Washington House executive director, Anne Darron; the mayor of Fredericksburg, Mary Katherine Greenlaw; and team owner and chairman, Art Silber. The team store will also have a table selling merchandise.

FredNats meet UMW Eagles
Paige Honaker, the marketing coordinator for the Fredericksburg Nationals, reached out to Coach Kelly Swiney, the head coach for UMW baseball. Honaker asked the UMW team if they could help run the event, due to the minor leaguers still in spring training.

“We don’t know our team roster until about a week or so before our season starts, so we were unable to have any of the “FredNats” come model our jerseys,” said Honaker. “We immediately thought it would be a great idea to invite the UMW baseball team, because they’re the local players that everyone may know.”

One of the few players displaying the new Nats’ jersey is senior Cole Gabriele.

Gabriele hopes to see the FredNats play on opening day if the game doesn’t interfere with his baseball schedule.

Swiney thought it was exciting that they turned to the UMW team.

Honaker explained that she really wanted the FredNats to feel like Fredericksburg’s team in as many ways as possible and having a local college baseball team to work with is a unique opportunity for the minor league. Honaker also mentioned that she is looking forward to working with the Eagles in future events, such as the job fair.
The organization will be hiring for game-day staff positions closer to opening day of April 23. “We really want everyone to feel like the FredNats are something that they can be a part of whether that’s as a fan, an employee or both,” Honaker said.

With a professional team in the area, the town of Fredericksburg will benefit not only socially, but also with business, the team drawing in Minor League Baseball (MiLB) fans.

Swiney commented how this new social atmosphere will bring the community together. “As a baseball coach [I think] that it’s great for the game of baseball.”

Not only is baseball going to help expand the town of Fredericksburg, but the FredNats organization will also be holding giveaways, weekly firework shows, theme nights and in-game promotions that you just don’t see in other sporting events.

The FredNats will have 70 home games on all different nights of the week, will 11 full weekends. Honaker reassures that the organization will kick things off in a big way for opening day in the new ballpark in April.

After talking about the FredNats, Swiney added that the Eagles had an appreciable fall season for his first semester coaching the Eagles. “It’s a great group of guys. I’m excited for where [they] can be. Their work ethic, effort and attitude can only get better from here.”

The baseball team is looking forward to getting more opportunities from the FredNats, not only with baseball purposes, but for future careers.

Gabriele, a senior business major, said that he was interested in working for the MiLB. Recently, he had met the FredNats president, Lani Silber Weiss. Gabriele wishes to continue to network to see if he could fit in anywhere in their organization in the near future.

Mary Washington’s 311th Birthday party will kick off at 11 a.m. in front of the Mary Washington House at 1200 Charles St.

The FredNats team store is located at 601 Caroline Street and is open from 1-4 pm.

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