HISTORY OF THE TEAM
In January, 2000 Richard O’Connor purchased the charter rights to a collegiate summer baseball team in the Clark Griffith Collegiate Baseball League. The prior team was named the Southern Maryland Battlecats and played their home games in Charles County, Maryland. Maryland Community Baseball, Inc., the parent corporation of the Thunderbolts was formed as a non-profit, tax exempt 501(c)(3) organization to promote youth baseball in the Silver Spring-Takoma area.
The new team began play in June, 2000 at three locations in Silver Spring. From 2000 -2004 the Thunderbolts played in the Clark Griffith Collegiate League. In 2005, the Thunderbolts moved to the Cal Ripken Sr. Collegiate League. The Thunderbolts were League Champions in 2006 and Co-Champions in 2005. They have also won the Montgomery Cup (sponsored by the Gazette Newspapers) twice since 2005. Maryland Community Baseball Inc. signed a 20 year license agreement with the Maryland National Capital Park and Planning Commission in 2002 to play all home games at Blair Stadium.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
1. How do you recruit players?
Thunderbolts Baseball is an eleven month operation. Our coaches begin recruiting players in early September for the following season. Players are recommended by their college coaches. We sign contracts with about 80% of the players by mid November. In early December, Thunderbolts staff contact parents and players to inform them of the schedule and request player information and insurance information. From January to April, Thunderbolts volunteers begin preparing the team’s brochures, advertising, fund raising program and game day programs. The Board of Directors (all volunteers) meet monthly January-December to direct the operation of the team. In May, host families are recruited, players are contacted and the final preparations for the season begin.
2. What does it Costs to Run the Thunderbolts each year?
The budget for the 2017 season is approximately $86,000. The costs include the following, 1) coaches salaries and expenses, 2) equipment, balls, wooden bats, uniforms and medical supplies (in 2011 the Thunderbolts used 77 wooden bats at a cost of $30 per bat, and 44 dozen baseballs at $4 per ball), 3) field rentals, insurance and gas expenses, 4) Advertising, league fees, printing costs, registration fees, office expenses, concession stand operations, and 5) camp expenses and loan payments
3. How do we receive income?
The Thunderbolts receive income from three areas: 1) ticket sales, raffle tickets and donations during the season , 2) corporate and individual donors, booster club memberships, season passes, and program revenue , and 3) concession stand sales, sale of souvenirs, baseball camp fees and party revenue.
4. What Capital Improvements have the Thunderbolts made to Blair Stadium?
The Thunderbolts have raised funds for the following capital improvements:
2003 – Construction of dugouts, kneewall, backstop and concrete pad Thunderbolt contribution – $27,000 from donations
2004 – Construction of stadium seating Thunderbolts contribution – $39,000, State of Maryland grant – $102,000
2005 – Construction of announcer’s booth, perimeter fencing, entranceway improvements, relocation of utilities. Thunderbolt contribution – $77,000, State of Maryland grant – $98,000
2006 Installation of outfield yellow fence cap, new sound system, field improvements, Thunderbolts contribution match- $15,000, Big Train Donation – $10,000, MD Bond Bill – $50,000
2007 Installation of new sound system, drainage improvements, electrical repairs inside stadium and concession stand upgrades. Maryland Bond Bill
We are grateful to Comptroller Peter Franchot (former Delegate), Senator Ida Rubin, Congressman Jamie Raskin (former Senator) and Delegate Sheila Hixson for their continued support in improving the Blair Stadium. Peter Franchot spearheaded the campaign to obtain the $200,000 grant from the State of Maryland in 2003 and obtained the 2006 bond bill award.
5. What activities do the Thunderbolts sponsor?
The Thunderbolts conduct the following activities each year: a) provide free youth baseball clinics featuring our Thunderbolt players, b) provide free admission to all games for children wearing a team uniform, c) sponsor player visits to local hospitals, d) make donations to local fund- raising auctions at schools, child care centers, and other groups, e) Thunderbolt players meet and greet fans at outdoor festivals throughout the summer to sign autographs and discuss baseball, f) operate an intern-management program for high school and college age students, g) provide scholarships to our Junior Thunderbolts Baseball Camps, h) provide youngsters with an opportunity to meet players through races around the bases, and our bat boy/bat girl program, i) operate a host family program for our players from outside the Washington DC area who interact with the community, j) provide monetary contributions to the area youth baseball leagues.
A copy of the Thunderbolts 990 filings can be found here.