July 6, 2015 –
CHICAGO – Soldiers, Marines, sailors, airmen, and Coast Guardsmen were honored during special pre-game observances at both of Chicago’s major league baseball parks, U.S Cellular Field and Wrigley Field, to mark Independence Day, July 4.
“We wanted to make it special not only for our fans but for our players,” explained White Sox Public Relations Director Sheena Quinn. “Many [of our players] have friends and family who are in the military. Supporting the military is actually a really big cause for us. Today we
honored many service men and women as part of our ‘Military Take the Field’ opportunity just before the first pitch.”
One of them was U.S. Air Force Capt. Zachary Eaton. He’s the brother of White Sox centerfielder Adam Eaton.
“We were really excited to have him out here and his colleagues,” explained Quinn.
There were several special moments at U.S. Cellular Field that only added to the excitement of the afternoon.
Seventy-five motorcycle riders from the Warrior Watch Riders, veteran support group, lined up on the warning track. They revved their motorcycles adorned with American flags to energize an estimated 22,000 fans. Chicago White Sox and Baltimore Orioles players wore special uniforms for the game.
“They have red and blue incorporated into their usual uniforms and then stars in their numbers as well,” explained Quinn. “Sales from the special uniforms will be used to support Welcome Back Veterans which is a great organization supported by the White Sox and Major League Baseball.”
Before the game started, service members from each branch of service ran out onto the field and stood in player positions while their individual military biographies were read. They were then each greeted by a player who signed a baseball for them.
Army Reserve Sgt. 1st Class Anthony L. Taylor, assigned to the 85th Support Command as a public affairs sergeant, took the shortstop position and met Alexei Ramirez, White Sox shortstop.
“It’s really important to recognize our men and women who [have] served throughout our country’s history in defense of our nation,” he said. “I have to say [that] as a guy who’s been doing this for the past four years on the opposite end of the camera it’s kind of nice to receive
this recognition on behalf of our service men and women. It’s really an amazing spirit. Go Sox.”
That evening the excitement continued on Chicago’s north side at Wrigley Field with more than 37,000 spectators there. Near 100 service members walked out onto the field there holding a massive American flag which they unfurled at center field.
Among them was Army Spc. Tycjan Sieradzki, originally from Krakow, Poland. He came to Chicago at the age of 12 with his mother. He credited Army advertisements with prompting his decision to join the Army.
“I initially wanted to join the Special Forces. I think everybody wants to at the beginning but my plans changed. Now I just want to serve my time with the 244th Digital Liaison Detachment.”
The American Flag was displayed at center field during the singing of “God Bless America”. At the end of the song the sports fans spontaneously began chanting “USA … USA.” The day was probably summed up best by White Sox public relations director, Sheena Quinn.
“It was so nice to have everyone supporting the military today.”