Skip to comments.America Supports You: San Diego Padres Salute Military
Posted on 07/06/2007 5:48:14 PM PDT by SandRat
| SAN DIEGO, July 6, 2007 In a tribute to the military and Independence Day, Major League Baseballs San Diego Padres went with a different-looking uniform for their game at Petco Park here, July 4, 2007.
While including servicemembers in the pre-game festivities is a nice gesture, the Padres have taken it a step further.
Before the game began, they announced a partnership with America Supports You, a Defense Department program that helps American individuals, organizations and companies show their support for U.S. men and women serving in the military.
Fans who attended the game, which was broadcast around the globe on the Armed Forces Radio Network, were also given the opportunity to send a group "text message" to U.S. Forces stationed around the world.
Role players bearing the American flag and dressed in Revolutionary War uniforms stood in a line behind the pitchers mound as Navy Petty Officer 1st Class J.J. Gentry, an explosive ordnance disposal technician, sang the national anthem.
"I tried not to talk beforehand so my voice would be perfect," Gentry said. "It was a good feeling being in front of all these people."
Gentry, an Operation Iraqi Freedom veteran who was dressed in uniform, said the day had more significance than just singing in front of a large group. "I love this great nation, I love being able to serve in my military," he said. "It means a lot to me."
After Gentry completed the Star-Spangled Banner, two pitches were thrown before the game officially began.
Marine Lance Cpl. Josh McAlvey, a 22-year-old military policeman, tossed out the first ceremonial pitch. McAlvey's wife entered him in a contest on a radio station, and he was ultimately selected to do the honors. "It's a buzz to be here on the field," said McAlvey, a Lake Chelan, Wash., native. "I really can't believe it."
McAlvey, also an Operation Iraqi Freedom veteran, smiled when he was asked what the Fourth of July meant to him. He described the significance of the day as the "reason behind why we fight."
A third war veteran also took part in the opening ceremony. Throwing out a pitch before the game was Navy Petty Officer 3rd Class Nathaniel Leoncia, a 25-year-old hospital corpsman from Temecula, Calif.
Navy corpsmen serve side-by-side with Marines, usually one per platoon, and act as emergency medics to give on-the-scene treatment when a servicemember is wounded. While serving in Iraq with 3rd Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, Leoncia was struck by the blast of an improvised explosive device.
Walking off the field to a stadium full of cheering fans, Leoncia was all smiles as he rejoined his family.
Later on in the game, between innings, Gentry took the field for an encore performance. As "God Bless America" resonated through the stadium, fans were on their feet, singing along and holding small American flags.
It was clear that there is still a patriotic feel about baseball, "America's pastime."
"This is the day to celebrate," said Dan Outcalt, a salesman from San Diego. "I mean, there is nothing better than a baseball game on the Fourth of July."
The desert-cammie jerseys must have been lucky for the Padres; they beat the Marlins 1-0.
America Supports You
San Diego Padres PING
And the Padres are actually good too.
The Padres wear Cammies more than a few times during the season.
Also every Sunday home game, the Padres have 200 or more Marines and their DIs from MCRD San Diego.
The seats for every game are paid for out of the pocket of reliever pitcher Treavor Hoffman who got his 500th save of his career this yr.
and we shouldn't forhet Tiger Woods either. Another class guy.
2 of the best at what they do...
Yes, Tiger Woods is a great & classy guy
I wonder who use to pay at the old Q, when they had the guys from NTC and MCRD on a sunday
Don’t know off hand.
The Pads have always given the Military support.
yes they have!!, many a sunday I went to the old Q, one side had the navy, Marines way across..
Once upon a time, they'd have the Marines in left field and the Navy in right field (when the Navy did boot in SD) and get some great cheering contests going.
In 1969, Regimental Landing Team 26 (the 26th Marines) returned home aboard troop ships to San Diego Ca. My Battalion commander had the personnel people in my Bn. check records. All of us who had served with the 26th Marines were ordered to fall out that Fri. at 0600 for inspection. We were then ordered aboard trucks with our weapons and trucked to San Diego to march with our old outfit in a “ticker” tape parade through San Diego. Some of us Viet Vets (very damned few of us) DID get a parade. Semper Fi and THANK YOU SAN DIEGO CALIFORNIA.
They still have the Marines there EVERY sunday home game.
At least 200+ from MCRD
RElief Pitcher Trevor Hoffman pays for the seats.
They have special times for different crews from ships, etc.
I was at the Sun. Padres - Red Sox game some weeks back and the Marines were there.
The Marines are Gold in San Diego.
Very much respected along with the Navy here.