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America's Fans: Our Military and Major League Baseball

Calling all baseball fans! Many Major League Baseball teams are stepping out to support our military this season. From special games to featured opening pitches throughout the summer, a number of teams across the nation (and spanning both leagues!) are doing their best to let our Service members and their families know that their sacrifices are important and have not been forgotten – even in the midst of America’s favorite pastime.

Here’s what some teams already have planned… What’s your team doing to support our troops?

San Diego Padres

The Padres are hosting a Military Appreciation series this summer, in conjunction with USAA!

Featured events include dedicated games to each of the Armed Forces, as well as USO night.

The San Diego Padres are the first national sports team to have an annual military appreciation event. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Jetta H. Disco

May 22, 2011 U.S. Navy Appreciation presented by USAA
June 2, 2011 USS Midway Legacy Week Game
June 9, 2011 USO Night
June 12, 2011 U.S. Army Appreciation Day presented by USAA
June 26, 2011 U.S. Marine Corps Appreciation Day presented by USAA
June 28, 2011 Ombudsman/Family Readiness Officer Recognition Night
July 17, 2011 Military Appreciation Day presented by Northrop Grumman
July 31, 2011 California National Guard Appreciation Day presented by USAA
August 15, 2011 Spirit of ’45 Night
August 18, 2011 Disabled American Veterans (DAV) Night
September 18, 2011 U.S. Air Force Appreciation Day presented by USAA
September 23, 2011 National POW/MIA Recognition Night
September 25, 2011 Salute to Veterans and U.S. Coast Guard Night
September 27, 2011 Fleet Week Game

To learn more about upcoming home games honoring our military and veterans, please visit the Military Events schedule on the Padres’ website, or check out their new website for more information on how the Padres are supporting our military community. This site is an extension of the team’s main website, offering content geared specifically toward military personnel, their dependents, and those who support the U.S. Armed Forces; you can read a press release about the site’s launch here.

Boston Red Sox

The Red Sox Foundation’s Home Base Program supports and serves veterans of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq from the New England region who are currently experiencing Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI). The Home Base Program provides outreach for these affected Service members and their families, as well as such important facets as new clinics and ongoing research and educational programs in PTSD and TBI at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston.

On Sunday May 22, over 2,000 runners – including hundreds of Active duty Service members – participated in the 9K Run to Home Base at the Sox’s Fenway Park (presented by New Balance), an event which raised over $2.6 million for the Home Base Program!

That same day, the Red Sox also hosted a game against the Chicago Cubs honoring our troops and veterans with a pre-game ceremony. The Ceremonial First Pitch was delivered by U.S. Army Corporal Eric Small of Holbrook, who was seriously wounded sustaining an IED blast while on patrol in Balad, Iraq in 2008. More than 200 Active-duty members of all five Services attended.

New York Yankees

At the 11th annual Yankee Stadium Military Appreciation Ceremony on Saturday May 21 (Armed Forces Day), the Black Team of the U.S. Army Golden Knights parachuted into Yankee Stadium in the Bronx, NY prior to a Subway Series game against the New York Mets. The ceremony honored our military, as well as the Special Operations Warrior Foundation. Three recent graduates who have benefited from the Warrior Foundation’s youth scholarship program were spotlighted during the game as well.

For more details on the Yankees and future games, please visit their website.

Washington Nationals

May 2, 2011 Military Appreciation Day
May 31, 2011 Memorial Day
July 4, 2011 Independence Day
September 5, 2011 Labor Day
September 11, 2011 Heroes Day

This season the Nationals have a multitude of exciting programs to recognize our military!

Their Patriotic Series honors our Service members during specific home games:

During these extra special games, fans can expect Ceremonial First Pitches, an honored Starting Nine, a U.S. Military Color Guard in attendance, and pre-game performances and presentations.

Nationals Opening Day March 2011. DoD photo by Army Sgt. 1st Class Michael J. Carden

One of the current programs provided by the Nationals is an in-park physical therapy program which allows wounded Service members the chance to practice their physical therapy in a non-traditional setting – the Nationals Park! Wounded Warriors are able to engage in such activities as hitting balls in the Nats’ batting cages and playing catch.

Complimentary tickets are also provided to the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS), as well as memorable activities over Memorial Day Weekend for those families participating in the TAPS National Military Survivor Seminar and Good Grief Camps for Young Survivors.

For more information on the Nationals and their upcoming events, please visit their website.

Seattle Mariners

The Mariners held their 9th Annual Salute to the Armed Forces this spring on April 23, 2011 at Safeco Field. Before a game versus the Oakland Athletics, the Seattle team held a special pre-game program honoring our military, including veterans & community support organizations.

For more information regarding future Mariners games and programs, please visit their website.

San Francisco Giants

The World Champion San Francisco Giants have donated thousands of tickets to Operation: Care and Comfort this season, so service members, Veterans and their families may attend a game free.

Also, on July 4th this year the San Francisco Giants will be hosting their 8th Annual “Salute to the Military Game” with Operation: Care and Comfort and Strikeouts for Troops! For more information, please visit the Giants’ website.

Oakland Athletics

The Oakland Athletics have also donated hundreds of tickets to Operation: Care and Comfort this season! Service members, veterans, and their families may attend a game free as a result.

The A’s also will be hosting their “Salute to Armed Forces” game with Operation: Care and Comfort on July 4th. Pitcher Brad Ziegler has donated hundreds of tickets to Operation: Care and Comfort through his Pastime for Patriots Foundation.

For more details, please visit the Athletics’ website.

*If your team is hosting a Military Appreciation game this season, feel free to email and let us know!