Marlins visit veterans at golf tournament

Marlins visit veterans at golf tournament

JUPITER, Fla. -- A group of eight Marlins players spent their spare time Thursday at the Honda Classic mingling with some special guests. They were on hand to show their appreciation for those who have served their country.

As an organization, the Marlins were well represented at the Military Hospitality Pavilion on the 17th hole at the prestigious tournament in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.

"It means a lot to show our appreciation to those guys," reliever Mike Dunn said. "Just to let them know that people do care about what they did."

For years, the Marlins have sent players to the Honda Classic to interact with veterans, who are admitted into the pavilion.

Dunn, Dee Gordon, Tom Koehler, J.T. Realmuto, Christian Yelich, Brad Hand, Justin Nicolino and Jeff Mathis attended the first round of the tournament.

"When opportunities like this pop up, you really enjoy it," Nicolino said. "Take advantage of it."

Since joining the Marlins in 2011, Dunn has been active supporting the military.

The left-handed reliever has his "All for One and Dunn for All" initiative at each Monday home game. As part of the program, families of Special Operations Forces are invited to Marlins Park, and they watch batting practice on the field and interact with Dunn and other players.

The Military Hospitality Pavilion has been a popular area at the Honda Classic.

"I've met guys who are 60-plus years old," Dunn said. "I've met guys [born in] 1920. They've experienced different situations, different places. It's not even really talking to them about what they did. It's shooting the breeze with them and showing them we actually care about them fighting for us.

"You always take pictures. If they have cards, they may want you to sign. It's more about sitting back and just talking with them. It's just spending time with them and letting them dictate the conversation."

Joe Frisaro is a reporter for MLB.com. He writes a blog, called The Fish Pond. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.