Astronaut Buzz Aldrin To Be Among Honorees At Dodgers Memorial Day Game
LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — The Dodgers wrap up a five-game homestand with a two-game series against the Angels, beginning on Memorial Day, and there are no shortages of festivities, appearances, and honors.
Monday is Military Appreciation Night at Dodger Stadium, and the first 15,000 ticketed children in attendance will be given a Kids’ Clayton Kershaw Fathead, courtesy of Northrop Grumman.
The Dodgers have also partnered with Metrolink on the Rail Series, which will provide special round-trip services between Oceanside and Los Angeles’ Union Station on both Monday, May 27, and Tuesday, May 28.
Other special events for the series include an appearance in Fullerton by Dodger Hall of Famer Tommy Lasorda on Monday, who is scheduled to ride the train from Fullerton to Union Station at 2 p.m.
Festivities begin at 2 p.m. elsewhere as well, with an appearance by Dodger greats Kenny Landreaux and Jay Johnstone at the Fullerton and Irvine Metrolink stations, respectively.
In honor of Memorial Day, the Dodgers, along with all 30 ball clubs, will wear specially designed caps and jerseys that feature an authentic military digital camouflage, licensed from the United States Marine Corps. The caps will be on sale in merchandise stores at Dodger Stadium, and both are available at www.mlb.com.
American hero, Dr. Buzz Aldrin, will be throwing out the ceremonial first pitch.
Aldrin earned his place in history as one of the first men, along with Neil Armstrong, to set foot on the moon, during the Apollo 11 mission on July 20, 1969.
A West Point graduate and MIT doctorate holder, Aldrin also served as a fighter pilot in the Korean War, including 66 combat missions.
As a military veteran he is passionate about helping veterans. His newest book, “Mission to Mars” will be on sale at the Top of the Park store, located on the Top Deck tomorrow. He will be signing copies of his book until the end of the third inning on Monday.
The Dodgers will also join the rest of Major League Baseball in a moment of silence before the game on Memorial Day in order to honor members of the military who lost their lives serving out country.
Major League Baseball has committed $23 million to the Welcome Back Veterans program since it’s inception in 2008. MLB will be donating 100% of its net proceeds from sales of the caps and jerseys to Welcome Back Veterans. The program, part of Major League Baseball Charities and the Robert R. McCormick Foundation, provides grants to university hospitals throughout the country that provide post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury treatment to veterans and their families.
Pre-game ceremonies will kick off with a special message from General Martin Dempsey, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, coming from Bagram Airfield in Afghanistan. The Dodgers will welcome 50 members of the Wounded Warriors, who will enter through center field.
Founded in 2003, the Wounded Warrior project’s goal is to raise awareness and enlist the public’s aid for the needs of injured service members, as well as to honor and empower wounded soldiers.
As part of MLB’s Tribute for Heroes initiative, in which veterans will have been nominated to represent all 30 clubs at this year’s All-Star Game at Citifield on July 16, a Dodger player will participate in an on-field presentation of a flag that will be framed and presented to the Dodgers’ Tribute for Heroes representative in New York.
Starting June 9, fans cate vote for the Dodgers’ hero representative by visiting www.tributeforheroes.com.
Uniformed members of all five branches of the armed forces will unfurl a giant flag, along with USO Captains in center field.
Pros vs GI Joe is a charitable organization, started by retired military members Greg and Addie Zinone, that provides scholarships to wounded warriors. Their mission is to connect troops, serving all over with world, with professional athletes and celebrities in online and in-person game competitions.
One of Pros vs GI Joe’s initiatives is called “Salute the Troops”, where fans will be asked to join the Dodgers and Pros vs GI Joe in an all-stadium salute to troops that will be coordinated with a live feed with Kandahar, Afghanistan.
The National Anthem will be sung by U.S. Air Force Staff Sergeant De’Jon Fruga of the 452nd mobility wing at March Air Force Base, California.
Alejandra, Lanny, and Alejandro Thompson, family of fallen Army Lieutenant Alejo R. Thompson, will officiall start the game with “It’s Time for Dodger Baseball.” Lieutenant Thompson was killed in the lin of duty on May 11, 2012.
In recognition of the sacrifice they make, several active troops will join Dodger starters as they take the field.
Tommy Lasorda will then lead Dodger fans in “Take Me Out to the Ballgame!”
Lasorda served two years in the U.S. Army (1946-47) as he was drafted in the final draft of World War II.
Monday’s Veteran of the Game will be U.S. Army Master Sergeant Bobby Farmer of Bluefield, West Virginia. Farmer enlisted in 1992, and took Special Forces training. He was assigned to the 3rd Special Forces Group. Farmer served as an engineer with Operation Detachment Alpha 391. He has served in Kosovo, Africa, Iraq, and Afghanistan on several deployments. He is currently undergoing treatment for injuries he sustained from an improvised explosive device. He has won the Bronze Star for Valor, the Army Commendation for Valor, and the Purple Heart.
Tuesday, May 29, is Magic Johnson T-shirt night, presented by State Farm. The first 40,000 fans in attendance will receive a Magic Johnson T-Shirt.
Tuesday’s Veteran of the Game will be U.S. Air Force Staff Sergeant Nathan Ortiz from Tulare, California. Staff Sgt. Ortiz enlisted in 2003, and has served as a Law Enforcement Agent, Squad Leader, and Close Protection Officer with deployments in Iceland, The United Arab Emirates, and numerous locations in Iraq and Afghanistan. His honors include being selected as Airman of the Year for the 85th Security Forces, Global War on Terrorism, as well as being selected to train Emirati military forces. A Dodger fan, Staff Sgt. Ortiz proposed to his wife on the field at Dodger Stadium.
Tickets for the games can be purchased by visiting www.dodgers.com/tickets or by calling 866-DODGERS.