Take Me Out to the Ball Game!

Photo Courtesy of the Washington Nationals Baseball Club.

Since the Washington Nationals started playing baseball in DC in 2005, the team has celebrated and saluted our nation’s service members. From F-8 flyovers on opening day – to Navy SEALS demonstrations – to players reading and giving books to military kids before a game, the Nats have developed a variety of creative ways to show their support for America’s Armed Forces.

Tomorrow, Wednesday, May 1 is Navy Day at Nationals Park. A portion of ticket proceeds purchased at www.Nationals.com/Navy using code NAVY will benefit the Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society and fans will receive a special discount, coupons for food at the ballpark, and a special rally towel to commemorate Navy Day with the Nats. Navy Day is part of the Nationals’ Military Branch Day Series.

Don’t forget to mark your calendar for Marine Corps Day on July 30, which will also benefit the Society. Purchase tickets at www.Nationals.com/Marines and use code MARINES to receive a special discount, coupons for food at the ballpark, and a rally towel to commemorate Marine Corps Day with the Nats.

“The Nationals definitely have a special bond with the Navy and Marine Corps,” said Nationals Vice President of Community Engagement, Gregory McCarthy. “A lot of players and staff have parents who served. My father was in the Marine Corps.”

Photo Courtesy of the Washington Nationals Baseball Club.

In addition to special events at the ballpark, the Nats frequently give away tickets to military personnel and honor service members for outstanding achievements. For example, explained McCarthy, the employees of the month, quarter, and the year from Quantico were invited to watch a game from a special suite and received recognition during the game for their excellence. The club has welcomed command leaders from the Washington Navy Yard to use the ballpark for professional development activities, and a special Physical Fitness event is planned where Sailors and Marines can do drills in the ballpark.

Photo Courtesy of the Washington Nationals Baseball Club.

The club has also cultivated relationships with the commanders of local bases to plan activities on their installations, in an initiative called Nats on Base. For example, recently at the Navy Yard the team held a STEM education camp as part of Take Your Child to Work Day.

The relationship between the Washington Nationals and the U.S. Navy was strengthened through tragedy in 2013. When a gunman killed a dozen people at the Navy Yard and injured three others, the Nationals canceled that day’s scheduled game and turned the ballpark into a reunification center for families. “As employees from that building were rescued and debriefed, they were brought over to the ballpark so their family members could be with them,” McCarthy said. “Later, the Vice Chief of the Joint Chiefs of Staff came over to say thank you to the Nationals. Ever since we’ve participated in the memorial activities for those who lost their lives.”

“We understand that the families of all service members need love and support,” McCarthy said. “We recognize that people come from all over the country to serve in the nation’s capital, and they may have a favorite team from back home, but we hope when they’re here they’ll feel welcome at Nationals Park and like they have a home here.”

See you at the Ballpark!

By Betsy Rosenblatt Rosso

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