How Volunteering Improves Your Life – a Personal Perspective

Yahoo Contributor Network asked me to reflect on lessons that I have learned from volunteering.  I was able to explore some of the top things that I have gained from giving of my time so check it out if you have a moment:



Dance the Dance

Dance the Dance

Why do the people cry out

So loudly, but in vain

The people needing help

For they know not but the pain

The lack of education

Keeping so many good people down

The money needed for books and chalk

Goes naught to teach, but to the town

The tests and scores show where money is

As those that fall and don’t get up

Have never seen need to rise, as sad as this is,

We need the balance in this world

Or we shall not advance

So raise the standards of our schools

So all can dance the dance

For when we keep good people down

We harm ourselves, for all should get their chance

I wish to see all people be anything they can

For what would you think of your life

If you had not had the chance

The chance that is given to you and I

The chance to dance the dance



I look into your eyes

I touch your soul

I find the doors to the walls

Those fortified walls to your heart

I ask nothing of you

I accept what I am given

I am a man

I can see your pain

I want to wash it all away

This brings out your smile

That radiant reflection

Of who you are

This is a confusing world

How to tell you how I feel

I do not know, I am in the dark

Your light is right at the end of my tunnel

Yet it seems so out of reach

I know not what love is

Yet if it is this feeling of helplessness

Of hope for the future

The burning in my chest

The tingling of my fingers

At your touch

You do not know

And maybe that is best

For to let you know

Is to let you in

And that scares me

Scares me beyond belief

No one gets close

No one gets hurt

No hurt, No pain

Just sorrow

These words pound out strong

Like the beating of my heart

And these words are erractic

Also like my heart

My words, My soul

I pour out upon

The pages of time

The tears that flow

Wash my pain

From my face

Buy my insides

Have no tears

To wash them

They burn on

Bright as the sun

This really is not painful

There is so much joy

I am happy

Your smile is my guide

To understand you

That is to be happy

You may never know

I may never tell

But you my lady

Are Special


Chris “Crush” Davis on pace to pass Maris, Orioles win 7-4

WP – S. Feldman (1-1) LP – J. Johnson (1-5)

S – J. Johnson (33)

The Baltimore Orioles continue to win behind the big bat of Chris Davis, who hit his 37th homerun going into the All Star break, putting him on pace to hit 62 homeruns on the season.  Davis went 2-for-4 on the day, with a double and the homerun, driving in four RBIs.  Adam Jones also added a homerun and drove in two to help the Orioles to the win.

Scott Feldman went seven and a third for the win in only his second start for the Orioles since coming over in a trade from the Cubs.  He gave up three runs on five hits and a walk while striking out seven.

Josh Johnson went six innings, giving up all seven runs to take the loss for the Toronto Blue Jays. Johnson continues to struggle this season since coming over in the trade from the Miami Marlins last year falling to 1-5 over twelve starts.

Tommy Hunter pitched two thirds of inning, giving up three hits, allowing an inherited runner to score in the eighth and another run in the top of the ninth before being relieved by Jim Johnson, who picked up his 33rd save by pitching a scoreless ninth inning.

The Orioles improved to 53-43 on the season going into the All Star break.

Denard Span drops in the order and delivers a win for the Washington Nationals

WP – C. Stammen (5-4) LP – S. Cishek (3-5)

S – R. Soriano (25)

Davey Johnson decided to shake up the order to try to spark the Washington Nationals, and it worked, just not necessarily the way he might have anticipated.  Denard Span was dropped from the leadoff spot for the first time this season due to his OBP of .315 coming into the game.  He proceeded to get the Nationals in the win column hitting from the seven spot.  Span went 3-for-5, and drove in the game winning run in the top of the tenth inning as he doubled to bring home Ian Desmond.

Craig Stammen coming off a tough luck loss from the night before, picked up the win as the Nationals finished this road trip 2-5 going into the All Star break. They enter the break trailing the Atlanta Braves by six games in the National League East.  They will exit the All Star break with an eleven game home stand that will go a long way towards determining if the Nationals can catch the Braves.

Bryce Harper went 1-for-5 with a walk and a run scored from the leadoff spot.  The Nationals continued to struggle to score runners, stranding seventeen runners on base today. Ryan Zimmerman, Adam Laroche, and Jayson Werth stranded eight runners from the 3-4-5 spots in the order.  Davey Johnson might need to shake these three up if they continue to fail to score runners.

Taylor Jordan did a good job in just his fourth start, going six innings, giving up just two runs, but the offense wasn’t able to get him his first win of his major league career.  Span broke open the scoring with a double to drive in Adam Laroche in the second inning.  Derek Dietrich hit his ninth homerun of the season off Jordan in the bottom of the fourth to score two.  That lead would stand until the top of the seventh.

Anthony Rendon doubled to deep right center to score Bryce Harper from first.  This tied the game at 2-2, where it would remain until the top of the tenth.  Span doubled in Desmond, followed by an RBI single from Wilson Ramos. After a pitching change, Chad Tracy doubled to score Ramos, giving Rafael Soriano a three run lead to save the game in the bottom of the tenth. 

The Nationals go into the break 48-47, and improve to 43-10 when they score three or more runs.

Robert Peterson lives in the Washington DC Metro area and has been covering the Nationals since the team moved to the area in 2005


                  THE NIGHT

      As it glides on silver wings
      Listen as the eagle sings
      The wolf cries out with a mournful sound
      The pines above, below the ground
      The dipper hangs in the cold dark sky
      The air is crisp, We dare to cry
      The journey saps our youthful strength
      There is respite if we sleep at length
      Nature calls us to her
      And shows us how to serve her
      We may listen, We may not
      Sometimes its all in what were taught
      I seek a peaceful life at best
      Somewhere to go so I may rest
      This world flies round oh so fast
      With people worried they’ll come in last
      I wish it were more like the night
      Slow and lovely, cold and bright
      What makes people worry so
      Run about, to go so low
      The world would be a better place
      If we all looked face to face
      The right to go from place to place
      And only leave a good trace
      The night closes in around me now
      Safe and sound on this great earth
      To teach and learn life’s many lessons
      Of the future, present, past
      We use them well from day to day
    To live and love in a grateful way

Baltimore Orioles Minor League Stars

I had an opportunity to look at the Baltimore Orioles minor league stars in an article that Yahoo Contributor Network chose to publish. Give it a look and leave me feedback:




Baltimore Orioles score early, no late innings drama to beat the Texas Rangers 6-1

WP – W. Chen (4-3) LP – J. Lindblom (1-3)

The Baltimore Orioles got to Josh Lindblom early on in this game. Manny Machado drove in Nate McLouth with a triple to deep centerfield and then scored on a wild pitch in the bottom of the third to give the Orioles the early lead. Brian Roberts had an RBI single in the bottom of the fourth, bringing Matt Wieters in to score. Nolan Reimold followed Roberts single with a three run blast to deep left field, scoring Roberts and J.J. Hardy.

The six runs were enough to stake Wei-Jin Chen to a lead as he pitched seven quality innings in his return from the disabled list. Chen held the Rangers in check, with only three hits and three walks. Adrien Beltre did manage to score Ian Kinsler from third on a fielder’s choice in the sixth inning. This would be the only run the Rangers managed all night.

Manny Machado went 3-for-5 on the night, giving him his 14th three hit game of the season, that leads the Majors this year. Adam Jones and Reimold both had two hits apiece to round out the hitting. Chris Davis continued to be quiet at the plate, extending his hitless streak to seventeen at-bats.

The Orioles did not need to rely on their bullpen much in this game, something that has been difficult this last week, as the bullpen has cost the Orioles several leads late in games. Tommy Hunter closed the game out, pitching both the eighth and ninth innings.

Josh Lindblom managed to go five and a third innings, giving up all six Orioles runs on nine hits, four walks with one strikeout. Lindblom only got the start due to the injury to Nick Tepesch, getting his second spot start as a long reliever.

The Orioles move to 50-42 on the year and the Rangers drop to 53-38. The Orioles have a chance to split the series tomorrow evening, and then face the Toronto BlueJays for the last series before the All-Star game.

Robert Peterson lives in the Washington DC Metro area and has been covering the Nationals since the team moved to the area in 2005

Nationals homer their way past the Phillies, Gio Gonzalez goes seven strong

WP – G. Gonzalez (7-3) LP – C. Lee (10-3)

The Washington Nationals were able to pound out four solo homeruns off Cliff Lee to beat the Phillies in hopes of splitting this series. Anthony Rendon and Wilson Ramos hit back to back homeruns in the top of the fifth inning. Ryan Zimmerman and Jayson Werth duplicated their teammates effort in the top of the sixth, crossing the crucial three run mark that seems to dictate when the Nationals will win or lose.

The Nationals fared well against the left-handed Lee after back to back nights of poor hitting against two other Phillies left-handers. They were able to get nine hits off Lee, giving him only his third loss of the season.

Gio Gonzalez went seven strong innings, only allowing a solo homerun to Darin Ruf in the bottom of the seventh. He gave up one run on six hits, two walks while striking out five. Gio lowered his season ERA to 3.03 with his last start before the All-Star game.

The Phillies seemed to have difficulty with Gonzalez off-speed and breaking ball all night. The biggest change from the first two games of the series was that Ben Revere only managed to get on base one time which was a source of most of their momentum in the earlier games.

Carlos Ruiz was the only Phillies hitter to manage more than one hit on the game and only he and Ruf managed to be on base more than once either.

The Nationals managed an extra run in the top of the ninth on an swinging bunt by Denard Span that brought Rendon in to score from third. Tyler Clippard pitched the eighth and Rafael Soriano closed the game out in a non-save situation in the ninth.

The Nationals are now 47-44 on the year, and 42-10 when they manage to score at least three runs in the game. The Nationals now trail the Atlanta Braves by five games in the National League East.

Robert Peterson lives in the Washington DC Metro area and has been covering the Nationals since the team moved to the area in 2005

Return of Wilson Ramos more significant than Harper

I had an opportunity to write an article that Yahoo Contributor Network chose to publish where I discuss why I think it was more significant for the Nationals to get Wilson Ramos back in the lineup than it was to get Bryce Harper back.  Give it a look:

Errors costly for the Nationals again, lose 4-2 to the Phillies

WP – C. Hamels (4-11) LP – T. Jordan (0-2)

S – A. Bastardo (2)

Cole Hammels came into the game a loser of eleven games and the Washington Nationals hitter made him look like a Cy Young candidate.  He pitched eight solid innings, giving up one run on six hits, a walk while striking out four.  He gave up a solo homerun to Jayson Werth in the second inning and the Nationals didn’t threaten to score again until the eighth, where Ryan Zimmerman and Werth both failed to capitalize on a bases loaded opportunity. 

The Nationals scored off the closer in the ninth inning for the second night in a row but it was too little too late.  Wilson Ramos drove in Anthony Rendon with a pinch hit double giving him nine RBIs in the four games since his return.

Taylor Jordan pitched an excellent game again, only to see a second consecutive good start go to waste due to errors.  In the fourth inning, Kurt Suzuki was charged with an error when he dropped a perfect throw from Werth at the plate allowing Chase Utley to score.   Replay showed that Utley failed to touch the plate but Suzuki never applied a tag as he attempted to throw Domonic Brown out at second base.

In the sixth inning, Jordan got Utley to ground into what should have been an easy double play to Adam Laroche, but Laroche threw the ball off of Jimmy Rollins back, allowing the ball to go into centerfield.  Ben Revere scored on the errant throw, while Rollins advanced to third base.  Michael Young then doubled to centerfield, scoring Rollins and Utley.  This was all the Phillies would need to beat the Nationals for the second evening in a row.

The Nationals continued to struggle against left-handed pitching.  They came in batting a woeful .215, tonight they continued this trend, batting .218 against Hamels and Bastardo.  The coaching staff has got to figure something out, getting batters to adjust their stance against lefties as they are consistently unable to reach the outside strikes that these pitchers are feeding them. If they do not find an answer for this issue in the second half of the season then it will be difficult to reach the postseason.

The Nationals fall to 46-44, and 5-33 in games they fail to score at least three runs.

Additional: Scott Hairston had a fairly successful debut with the Nationals going 2-for-5 leading off, playing leftfield.

Robert Peterson lives in the Washington DC Metro area and has been covering the Nationals since the team moved to the area in 2005

Former National John Lannan keeps the Nationals grounded, Phillies win 3-2

WP – J. Lannan (2-3) LP – D. Haren (4-10)

S – J. Papelbon (19)

John Lannan, like most other left-handers this season, baffled the Washington Nationals for eight innings.  He struck out four while scattering four hits and two walks to keep the Nationals scoreless.

Jonathan Papelbon came on for the ninth and ran into the only challenge Nationals hitters posed on the night.  He allowed Bryce Harper to single up the middle and a double to Ryan Zimmerman before Jayson Werth came up just a couple feet short of tying the game with a blast to centerfield.  Both runners tagged, scoring Harper.  Zimmerman scored on a sacrifice fly by Adam Laroche to center and with two outs pinch hitter Chad Tracy hit a little fly ball to center to end the game.

The Philadelphia Phillies scored early on Dan Haren, getting two runs in the bottom of the first inning.  Haren again struggled with control, allowing one of the runs to score on a bases loaded walk.  He allowed two or more base runners in three of the five innings he pitched.

The Phillies would add one more run in the bottom of the sixth against Fernando Abad on a single by Jimmy Rollins to center field.  Ben Revere pestered Nationals pitching all night, going 3-for-5, with a stolen base and two runs scored.

The Nationals this season have had consistent problems with left-handed pitchers that throw a variety of off speed stuff.  The biggest problem is that the Nationals hitters seem to fail to adjust in the batter’s box to be able to consistently hit the off speed pitch on the outside half of the plate with any power.  Lannan induced fifteen ground balls from the Nationals tonight keeping them off balance on what pitch was coming all night.

Additional:  The Nationals completed a trade with the Chicago Cubs today for Scott Hairston and a player to be named later for a minor league pitcher and a player to be named later. 

The Nationals fall to 46-43 on the year, and 5-32 in games that they score less than three runs.

Robert Peterson lives in the Washington DC Metro area and has been covering the Nationals since the team moved to the area in 2005

Zimmerman slam leads Nationals over Padres 11-7, Strasburg picks up the win

WP – S. Strasburg (4-6) LP – R. Erlin (1-2)

On a sizzling afternoon, Ryan Zimmerman crushed a bases clearing grand slam to deep right center, scoring Bryce Harper, Ian Desmond and Stephen Strasburg to lead the Washington Nationals to a sweep of the San Diego Padres. Bryce Harper had three hits, three RBIs and two stolen bases on the day.  He had an opportunity to really do some damage in the bottom of the seventh, at bat with the bases loaded and two outs but hit a line drive to the centerfield to end the inning.

Stephen Strasburg picked up the win on a day when he struggled with control in the heat.  He pitched six innings, giving up four runs on seven hits and two walks, striking out nine.  Strasburg also hit three batters on the day on a day that he would need 110 pitches to get through six innings. Alexi Amarista hit a two run homerun for the most significant hit off of Strasburg.  Strasburg limited most of the Padres other scoring came on little dinks and dunks, moving runners around.

The scoring started early for the Nationals with Bryce Harper singling home Denard Span in the bottom of the first inning.  The big inning though was the bottom of the third, where the Nationals scored six runs on Zimmerman’s grand slam and Anthony Rendon hitting a two run homerun, scoring Jayson Werth.  The Nationals would tack on four more in the bottom of the fifth on RBI singles from Rendon and Strasburg, along with a wild pitch that scored Harper and a groundout that brought Werth in to score.

The Padres would make a push to make the game close by scoring three more runs in the seventh and eighth off Craig Stammen.  This is the third outing in a row that Stammen has had difficulty getting outs.  He allowed two runs in the seventh on twelve pitches, all strikes.  He failed to record an out in the eighth before being lifted for Drew Storen, who quickly put the Padres down in order.  Tyler Clippard pitched the ninth to close out the win.

This is the Nationals first sweep of a series since a two game series against the Detroit Tigers back in the second week of May.  The Nationals now take on the Philadelphia Phillies for a four game series.

The Nationals improve to 46-42, moving four games back of the Atlanta Braves, who lost to the Phillies.   The Nationals are now 41-10 in games where they score at least three runs. Additional, it was announced that Ross Detwiler would be placed on the 15-Day DL.

Robert Peterson lives in the Washington DC Metro area and has been covering the Nationals since the team moved to the area in 2005.

Adam Laroche and Bryce Harper lead the Nationals over the Padres 5-4

WP – R. Ohlendorf (2-0) LP – N. Vincent (2-1)

S – R. Soriano (24)

Adam Laroche got the scoring started with a solo homerun in the bottom of the third inning for the Washington Nationals.  Laroche went 2-for-4 for the day but arguably made a much more important contribution with his glove, robbing All-Star Everth Cabrera of a game-tying hit to get the last out with a great diving stop in the top of the ninth.  Bryce Harper, announced as a starter for the All Star game today, also came up big at the plate going 1-for-2, with an RBI in three different at-bats on a walk with the bases loaded in the fourth, a single in the bottom of the fifth and a sacrifice fly in the bottom of the seventh. Harper also had a great diving catch in the outfield that saved a run from scoring.

Denard Span continues to improve his OBP as he went 2-for-3 with a walk. He also stole a base and scored two runs beginning to show what the Nationals expected when they obtained him from the Minnesota Twins before the season.

Jordan Zimmermann was attempting to be the first 13 game winner in the National League and went five and a third innings before being lifted for Ross Ohlendorf. Zimmermann (12-3) gave up three earned runs on five hits and a walk with four strikeouts on the day.  The rumor is that Zimmermann is dealing with tightness in his neck, first noticed in his last start, both of which have been his shortest of the year thus far.  Hopefully it’s nothing serious and Zimmermann can make his next scheduled start before the All Star game.

Ohlendorf had what is probably his worst outing as a National to date, allowing a three run homerun to Jesus Guzman in his first batter.  He clamped down after that and closed out the inning with no more damage and would also pitch the seventh allowing no one else to score.  The Nationals would score two runs in the bottom of the seventh to give Ohlendorf the win.  This is the second time in three games where a reliever gave up a three run homerun to cost a starter a win, only to end up the winning pitcher.

The Padres starter was Jason Marquis, a former National, who pitched six innings giving up three runs on eight hits, three walks and three strikeouts.  He escaped several jams early on, especially in the bottom of the third when the Nationals had the bases loaded with two outs but only managed one run.

Drew Storen had a great outing, retiring the Padres in order on five pitches which had to feel good after two consecutive challenging outings.  Rafael Soriano had to overcome some interesting drama to get his 24th save. Soriano allowed two base runners to advance to second and third with two outs before getting Cabrera to ground out to Laroche.

The Nationals improve to three games over .500 at 45-42, and are now 40-10 in games that they score more than three runs.

Robert Peterson lives in the Washington DC Metro area and has been covering the Nationals since the team moved to the area in 2005.