Memorial Day is the unofficial kickoff to summer, and if you aren't able to go to a beach or a pool a great way to celebrate is by going to a baseball game. That's what I did yesterday. Along with a lot of other kids, I went to Citi Field to watch the Mets and Pirates play under bright and sunny New York skies. Pittsburgh pulled out a come-from-behind 5-3 victory, but Memorial Day baseball is about more than the games. It's a chance for America's Pastime to honor America's heroes: the men and women of the armed forces.
Every year, Major League Baseball and its players, teams, and umpires honor active duty military and veterans with on-the-field activities and between-innings tributes. Yesterday at Citi Field, the Mets and Pirates were camo hats and the lettering on their jerseys was filled in with camo. And the many members of the military at the game were saluted before, during, and after game.
But there was one part of the day that really stuck out for me, and it happened even before the first pitch was thrown. You probably won't read about it in a newspaper or see it on SportsCenter, but it had a lasting impact.
Minutes before the game began, Mets outfielder Curtis Granderson signed autographs for several young fans. A few moments earlier, he spoke with the servicemen and women who were attending the game in uniform. As fans scrambled to get in position to receive his autograph, Granderson told them that the real heroes were members of the military, just like the ones standing inches away from him. It was worth getting an autograph from these “real heroes,” he said, and so several fans did just that and requested autographs from the soldiers, sailors, and Marines on the field.
This experience really stuck with me. It was a great reminder that of what Memorial Day is all about. Sure it's about having fun and getting excited for summer. But it's also a day to honor, remember, and appreciate those who sacrifice their lives in service to their country, not just athletes and celebrities.
Max Mannis is an 11-year-old special correspondent for sikids.com and a member of SABR. Catch his posts on advanced baseball statistics. To learn more about SABR and to join, visit www.sabr.org.
Photo: Julie Jacobson/AP Photo