Thursday, April 22, 2010

Heroes of the Diamond

Not to start any kind of theme, or anything, but I can't deny the influences in my life. They two big ones were baseball, and the military. A fan of one, and member of the other, those two things have defined my life more than anything else. Sports is big in the military, and every company or ship has teams in most of the sports. Sadly, due to the fact that sports are hard on the body, and  the aggressive nature of many people who play, the sports are mostly limited to flag football, softball, and basketball. There are a lot of soldiers who still play tackle football or baseball on a semi-pro level, in various places around the world.

One place where soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines can still play baseball for the service is the with the DoD-sponsored team, Heroes of the Diamond, active duty military on temporary duty playing ball. Don't, however, get the idea that these guys are shirking their duties. Not when they have been serving in Afghanistan, Iraq, and other far off places. This is a full time job, as they travel the world, playing baseball and acting as goodwill ambassadors. In fact, in April, they have 30 different games and clinics in 5 countries. There is more than one team, but it is a year-round schedule.

What their mission is:
The modern Heroes of the Diamond was founded originally as the U.S. Navy Baseball Club by retired U.S. Navy Commander Terry Allvord in Pensacola, Florida in 1990 before moving to San Diego for the 1993 season. This program is the leader in armed forces baseball in the modern era. Allvord went on to establish over 40 single-service armed forces teams in every branch of the military around the globe. Tryouts are held every year to form the most talented military and first responders team to compete as the U.S. Military All-Stars during the annual "Red, White and Blue Tour" The team features active duty, reserve, Veterans, Delayed Entry Program and First Responders. The continuation of two wars has limited the availability of armed forces players. As a result, beginning in 2010 the team will be known as "Heroes of the Diamond" allowing a limited number of former MLB, current professional, summer collegiate and first responders the opportunity to join the tour. Players interested in the military and willing to support the mission will continue to pay their own expenses while off-duty to compete against the finest professional, independent and summer collegiate programs in the world.
Baseball and the military have a long history together:
Soldiers of the Continental Army played ball at Valley Forge during the American Revolution. U.S. citizens played more modern versions of the British games of cricket and rounders through the early 19th century, often called "town ball". In the 1840s, New Yorker Alexander Joy Cartwright and his acquaintances played a game they called “base ball” that was very similar to the game we know today.

During the American Civil War, soldiers on both sides played baseball to pass the time between battles.
And just a little more about them:
WHO WE ARE: Since 1990, more than 25,000 armed forces personnel have represented their service while paying their own expenses with a philosophy of HUSTLE, THINK, WIN! We are the "Globetrotters" of baseball. As the largest, fastest growing and most successful barnstorming team ever created, delivering competitive, exciting "must see" patriotic entertainment enjoyed by millions visiting over 45 states and 8 countries while competing against the some of the finest organizations in the world including the Boston Red Sox.

WHAT WE DO: Established to compete in 100 games annually at all levels while providing direct support to the State Department, Department of Defense and Recruiting while conducting over 350 appearances including international Friendship Tours on behalf of Major Commands, Military Installations and Command Visits to benefit Veterans and Youth charities.

WHY WE DO IT: The historic “Red, White and Blue Tour" delivers unique patriotic events designed to honor America. We conduct a choreographed pre-game that includes "Passing the Flag" and "Walk of Honor" ceremonies to celebrate American history in a moving tribute to those lost in the 9:11 tragedy. Our MISSION: “To Promote the Awareness of all Americans in Support of the Honorable Sacrifices our Armed Forces make at the Tip of the Spear” is based on the prominent yellow ribbon in the shape of an “S” located "front and center" in our distinctive “USA” logo symbolizes "Support" for our Troops and Veterans.
It's a entertaining web site, but more importantly, it's a great program. Many of these players will be going back to the front lines. I'm glad they're getting a chance bewteen the base lines.


Anonymous said...

We went to a game at Fairbanks last night. A great game, 15 innings, local team won 3-2. How about giving the info presented here to the crowd? Would have made a better experience as we did not know if you were a local base club or not. Wonderful opportunity to see quality sports. Thank you.

charles said...

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