MLB group visits Fort Bragg for training fun
Posted February 6
Instead of spring training, a group of Major League Baseball players spent the last two days at Fort Bragg, training military-style.
Wednesday the players met with service members and their families, visited Fort Bragg's middle school, conducted physical training, fired weapons with Army Special Operations and learned about military operations and training.
Thursday the MLB group played a game of wiffle ball with the Fort Bragg service members at Ritz-Epps Physical Fitness Center.
Taking bat against Miami Marlins pitcher Mike Dunn was a dream come true for Sergeant Donald Ennis, an aeromedical evacuation tech.
Ennis played a little baseball in high school and loves being part of a group of soldiers and airmen taking on some major league greats in a game of wiffle ball.
"You see these guys on TV and you know there's the perception of the big athlete and each one of them were just like you and I,” said Sgt. Ennis. “You know they put their pants on leg at a time and they acting like it and it was really cool."
Really cool goes both ways.
Former MLB player Chris Hammond has pitched for a number of major league teams including the Reds, Marlins and Red Soxs. Hammond said he remembers visting troops three years ago in Afghanistan.
"Ever since I been there and seen what the troops are going through and having to deal with and the life style and what they eat,” said Hammond. "They are thanking us for coming here and you can talk to every ball player who's here... it's a blessing for us to come here."
Clayton native Chris Archer, who pitches for the Tampa Bay Rays, former players Mark McLemore, Royce Clayton and Rex Hudler, and broadcasters Bob Brenly, Davey Nelson and Jose Tolentino were also part of the group.
The game also honored the men and women who paid the ultimate sacrifice defending our country, as gold star family members had front row seats. One spectator, Beverley Lammie, lost her husband in a helicopter crash.
"Oh it's lovely... it's lovely,” said Lammie. “It's good for them to come out and see all the soldiers and we wouldn't have experienced it if our spouses were here."
In this game the score doesn't matter. It's just an unforgettable moment when the boys of summer can than thank those who keep the country safe so they can play America's game in peace.
"To encourage these troops and to thank them and hopefully they continue to keep our nation safe," Hammond said.