The Tacoma Rainiers will be hosting their annual Salute to Armed Forces Day on Sunday, June 11. Finishing up a three-game home stand against the New York Mets affiliate team, the Las Vegas 51s, the Rainiers will be taking the whole day to honor the brave men and women of the United States Armed Forces.
“Being so close to a military base and being such a large part of a wide military community gives us a unique opportunity,” Tacoma Rainiers Media and Communications Manager Brett Gleason said. “This is our chance to really blow the whole thing out. We get to go above and beyond to dedicate a full day for these incredibly brave men and women of the Armed Forces.”
The festivities kick off with a Marine Color Guard presenting the colors for the National Anthem, along with veterans, wounded warriors and active service members.
The National Anthem will be sung by Gig Harbor’s Lighthouse Christian School’s youth choir. The Tacoma Totemaires will be singing an Armed Forces Medley prior to the game, and the Four in a Chord quartet will be singing “God Bless America” during the seventh inning stretch. There will also be a special enlistment ceremony numerous members of the community will be joining a branch of the Armed Forces right there on the field.
The ceremonial first pitch will be thrown by Sergeant Aaron Boyle of the US Army. Boyle earned the Combat Infantryman’s Badge from his exemplary service in Iraq in 2009. Throughout the tenure of his service, Boyle served as a first and second line infantry leader in combat for the First Brigade Combat Team, the 4th Infantry Division in Afghanistan, and as an infantryman in Iraq. In 2010, Boyle lost most of his right arm, most of his right leg, had serious damage to his left leg following a landmine strike in Afghanistan, and was award the Purple Heart. Boyle has since retired from the Army in 2012.
Just like in previous Salute to Armed Forces Days, players and coaches of the Tacoma Rainiers will be wearing specialty jerseys to commemorate the event. These jerseys will then be auctioned off during an online auction leading up to and during the game. All proceeds for this auction will go to the Rainiers longtime partner, USO Northwest.
To help honor active duty members, corporate sponsors of the Rainiers have also donated tickets for veterans and their families to attend Sunday’s game.
“We see ourselves as a vital and active part of the community,” Gleason said. “And to honor those people helps strengthen our ties with that community. It also provides active vets a good time at the ballpark. And no one deserves a good day at the ballpark more than these men and women.”
2010 American League Cy Young Award winner Felix Hernandez is expected to start at pitcher for the Rainiers on Sunday while he continues recovers from injury to his right shoulder. This will be his second, and hopefully last, rehab start before heading back to the Mariners.
As always, tickets are available at the Tacoma Rainiers website, by phone at 1-800-745-3000, or at the Cheney Stadium Box Office located at 2502 S. Tyler Street, Tacoma, WA, 98405. To get a leg up on the jersey auctions, visit rainiersauctions.com.