Back to News Front

A tip of the cap

It’s root for the home team at Salute to Armed Forces Day

Eric Thames lets one fly for Salute to Armed Forces Day 2013. Courtesy photo

Email Article Print Article Share on Facebook Share on Reddit Share on StumbleUpon

Usually, military service is no day at the ballpark, but sometimes that isn't the literal truth. Since 2010, the Tacoma Rainiers have rolled out the red carpet for their annual Salute to Armed Forces Day, which treats American troops like major-leaguers.

The Rainiers take this event very seriously. "It's huge," agrees Ben Spradling, Director of Marketing and Media Development for the Rainiers organization. "When you consider our proximity to Joint Base Lewis-McCord, we have a relationship with those guys throughout the season, but this is our banner game to shine as big a spotlight as we can on those individuals. (They're) very important to the community, and the community's important to us."

What form will the event will take this year?

"We're gonna do some in-game tie-ins," he says, "so we'll spotlight some active-duty and veteran soldiers throughout the game, whether it's what they did during their service or what they did afterward."

The ceremonial first pitch will involve representatives of each of the five service branches.

"We also have special ticket packages available to those folks to encourage them to come out as well, and the big thing is we're going to host a softball game the following Wednesday at the ballpark. It's the second year we've done that, and it's gonna be a round-robin style tournament we're gonna treat as if it were a Rainiers game. We're going to have all five branches represented, plus an additional Special Forces team from the Army who's gonna come out. The winner of that is going to play in the championship game the following Thursday."

This year, the Rainiers' unlucky opponents are the Las Vegas 51s. During that game, players and coaches will wear custom jerseys that will then be sold at silent auction, with proceeds to benefit USO Northwest. An $11.50 Group Express Ticket includes a reserved seat at the game plus a "ballpark meal" of hot dog, chips and water. A $30.50 All-American Ticket adds a commemorative T-shirt and first drink. Be sure to enter promo code SAFD15 to take advantage of these deals, which are available to all active-duty, Guard, Reserve, retired, or Department of Defense servicemembers and their families. This year's event is presented by Navy Federal Credit Union.

Play ball!

SALUTE TO ARMED FORCES DAY, 5 p.m. Saturday, May 16, Cheney Stadium, 2502 S. Tyler St., Tacoma, $11.50-$30.50, 800.745.3000

comments powered by Disqus