Here is a feel good story you may have missed:
Last week, MLB announced that the Miami Marlins will play the Atlanta Braves at Fort Bragg in North Carolina on July 3. The game is being moved from Turner Field, home of the Braves, to a 12,500 capacity ballpark on the U.S. military base. This will be the first ever (!!!) regular season game of any professional sport to be played on a military base. The MLB and Players' Association will fund the project, including the construction of the new field.
There are a couple cool things about this. First, and most obviously, honoring our troops is always a win. However, not only will this project provide the brief excitement of a live MLB game, but it will also provide long term benefits. Fort Bragg will convert the field to a softball field and multi-purpose facility after the game. This will provide troops and their families an excellent recreational area. Colonel Brett Funck, who is a garrison commander at Fort Bragg, reiterated the importance of this event to ESPN:
"This historic event and the converted multipurpose facility will have enduring benefits for our entire Fort Bragg community for years to come."
Just plain awesome. Here are some quotes from Marlins players and staff describing the significance of the event courtesy of Joe Frisaro:
Don Mattingly is excited despite his managerial inkling to worry about travel:
"We're the first [teams] ever. I think it will be pretty cool. I'm looking forward to it. There might be a little funky travel, but I'm looking forward to it."
Tom Koehler apparently helped organize the event as the Marlins' Player Association representative. He texted his fellow teammates asking if they would be willing to play at Fort Bragg. Here are some of his comments:
"We're going to put the spotlight on the service men and women. We're going to be playing, but the whole purpose of this is to shed some light on everything they do, and kind of honor them. The fact it does fall before Independence Day is perfect timing. I'm really excited about it."
Christian Yelich, whose brother is in the Marines, is also looking forward to the opportunity:
"I appreciate the troops and everything they do for us, especially having a service member in my family. It will be extra special for me to go out there. I know it's an army base. We owe those guys a lot."
Overall, this is a great gesture and event that the Marlins are fortunate enough to participate in. Kudos to Robert Manfred, the MLB, and the Player's Association for organizing it. Most importantly, it offers us another opportunity to honor the men and women who serve our country.
The game will be nationally broadcast on ESPN's Sunday Night Baseball July 3 at 8:00 EST.