In addition to National Moment of Remembrance, clubs will hold events at each park
By Mark Newman
Happy Memorial Day Weekend.
Ballparks and beaches will be crowded with happy people. Swimming pools await their first official cannonballs. The barbecue grills will be fired up in backyards and at community parks. Families will gather and memories will be made. And most of all, we'll remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice to make so much of this enjoyment possible.
Major League Baseball will again participate in the National Moment of Remembrance during Memorial Day Weekend -- a program it has participated in since 1997 -- to honor soldiers who lost their lives during active military duty. MLB will conduct a moment of silence before all games throughout the weekend and all games on Monday will pause at 3 p.m. (local time) for a moment of silence.
For those games on Memorial Day, clubs will wear special caps and jerseys, featuring the trademarked U.S. Marine Corps digital camo pattern embedded into the bill of the cap and the twill of the jerseys (logo, name and number).
All of MLB's net proceeds from the sale of those caps and jerseys will be donated to the Welcome Back Veterans program, which provides grants to university hospitals throughout the country to treat veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury.
Since 2008, MLB has committed $30 million to Welcome Back Veterans, the MLB Charities initiative in partnership with the McCormick Foundation, supported by MLB Advanced Media and MLB Network. With the backing of MLB and clubs, Welcome Back Veterans has awarded grants to 30 non-profit agencies across the country targeting veterans' greatest needs, including mental health and job training/placement. It has served more than 10,000 military veterans.
More than 6,800 U.S. military members have died and more than 50,000 have been wounded during combat since 2001. And, of course, that is just the beginning of large numbers of fallen heroes when you work your way back through American history. Here are some of the plans to honor them Monday around big league ballparks, in addition to the MLB-wide program:
• Before their 1:35 p.m. ET home game against Houston on Monday, the Orioles will hold special ceremonies in recognition of Memorial Day, typifying the mood around the Majors.
"The club is fortunate to be surrounded by dedicated military personnel throughout the region, and grateful for all of those who risk their lives each day for our country," the Orioles said in a statement on Friday.
Included in their pregame ceremonies will be a presentation of the colors by Defense Information School Joint Color Guard; a ceremonial first pitch delivered by Col. Brian Foley, Garrison Commander of U.S. Army Fort Meade 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment; and the national anthem performed by Sgt. Ian Bowling from the U.S. Army Field Band. Nine active duty soldiers will take the field with Orioles players just prior to the national anthem. Additionally, the first 20,000 fans 15 and over will receive a Stars and Stripes BBQ Apron.
The Orioles' jerseys and caps will be autographed, authenticated, and auctioned on orioles.com/auction beginning at 1 p.m. ET on May 25 and ending at 10 p.m. ET on June 1. Proceeds from that auction will support the Fort Meade Alliance, which is committed to establishing an Education and Resiliency Center on Fort Meade and is raising the necessary funding to benefit Kuhn Hall for the service members, their families, and Department of Defense civilians who support the critical missions on post.
• In Oakland, the A's will play Detroit at 4:05 ET. Singing the national anthem will be Michelle Doolittle from the USAF Band of the Golden West, Travis Air Force Base. Sport Clips Charity Cuts will be provided in exchange for donations to Freedom Alliance and the Wounded Warrior Project. The A's Community Fund Silent Auction will take place behind Section 120, for Freedom Alliance and the Wounded Warrior Project.
• In St. Louis, the Cardinals will host the D-backs at 4:15 ET. Throughout that day (and the entire season), fans are encouraged to salute troops on the Busch Stadium scoreboard. Military salutes begin running in the top of the fifth inning on the narrow ribbon scoreboards located along the first- and third-base foul lines. Supermodel Karlie Kloss, who grew up in St. Louis, will throw the cermonial first pitch, and the first 25,000 ticketed fans 16 or older will receive a replica 1985 National League championship ring.
The Cardinals also announced that all veterans and active military personnel would receive free admission on Monday to the Cardinals Hall of Fame and Museum with valid military ID, a good chance to catch the exhibit "Stan Musial: 'The Man' Off the Field." It includes the Hall of Famer's 1945 Navy baseball jersey, hat and government-issued peacoat. Musial is testament to the many Major Leaguers who served their country as well.
• It's also a great time to pay homage to late Hall of Famer and Navy veteran Bob Feller, if you're around Progressive Field for the Rangers-Indians game at 4:10 ET. The Indians just opened their new Feller Exhibit located on the Terrace Club third floor. The exhibit, which houses items from a former museum in Feller's Iowa hometown, includes the glove from his historic Opening Day no-hitter, a Navy jacket and the catcher's mitt his father owned.
• The first 10,000 fans at Target Field on Monday will receive a Twins BBQ Branding Iron presented by Kingsford. For that day's 2:10 ET game against the Red Sox, the club will hold Military Monday presented by FOX Sports North. Active military members or veterans with a valid ID plus four guests receive half-price tickets in Home Plate View seating locations (available day of game only.)
• In Pittsburgh, the Pirates will welcome 99-year-old World War II veteran James Nese as the Pirates Fan of the Game on the field before their 7:05 ET start against Miami. Retired USMC Sgt. Donald Gales will throw out the ceremonial first pitch, and Mike Luft will sing "God Bless America."
• The Dodgers will host the Braves at 7:10 ET, and the Dodger Stadium tradition of Military Hero of the Game will continue by honoring USMC Sgt. E5 Ladarrius Robinson of Minden, La. Robinson enlisted in the Marines after graduating from Grambling State. He served a deployment to Fallujah, Iraq, in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom III and served as part of the largest combat deployed battalion in Marine Corps history, 3rd Batallion 4th Marines.
Mark Newman is enterprise editor of MLB.com. Read and join other baseball fans on his MLB.com community blog. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.