Theodore's World: Three Pitchers Visit The Troops

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October 15, 2007

Three Pitchers Visit The Troops

Turk Wendell, a former major league baseball pitcher, autographs a squishy ball to give out during his visit to Forward Operating Base Kalsu, Oct. 9. The tour allowed Soldiers to interact with professional sports players, get their autographs and share stories. Photo by Sgt. Kevin Stabinsky, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division Public Affairs.


Three diamond heroes, baseball pitchers Mike Remlinger, Turk Wendell and Adam Bernero, recently visited heroes of the battlefield stationed here as part of a morale boosting tour.

The three pitchers were the latest professional athletes to visit Soldiers here this year. Earlier visits have included basketball players and professional golfers.

Pro Sports MVP tours, organized by a Colorado Springs-based sports and marketing firm, provide Soldiers a chance to get autographs, pictures, and swap stories with the pros.

“Lots of baseball stories, fun times we had on the field, off the field,” said Bernero of the stories commonly told. “We talk about home, baseball stories; tell a bunch of lies about what we do back home,” he added with a laugh.

While the Soldiers enjoyed the stories, the players were impressed by the Soldiers’ daily sacrifices.

“In the big scheme of things, I was just a baseball player; what have I done with my life?” Wendell asked. “You guys are putting your life on the line everyday just so we can do what we do back in the States. All I did was throw a baseball.”

Such admiration prompted Wendell, a pitcher best known for his time with the Mets, which included pitching in the 2000 World Series, to make the trip here.

Bernero said a desire to see the sacrifices of the troops prompted him to visit.

“You hear a lot in the news and you read a lot but you don’t really know what is going on until you see it firsthand,” Bernero added. “I wanted to look people in the eye and hear what they had to say. That is more truthful than anything you read (in the newspapers).”

Wendell said he sees a lot of determination in the Soldiers he meets. In the same spirit as professional athletes, Soldiers want to win, he said.

“Keep up the battle. Everyone who I know believes in you,” said Wendell.

Pfc. Brandon Gilley, Battery B, 1st Battalion, 9th Field Artillery Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, said he was glad to see the players.

As a baseball fan, Gilley said he probably has many of the players’ cards in his baseball card collection at home. In addition to getting autographed pictures of the trio, he also added a signed Texas state flag to his baseball memorabilia.

“I brought it along to get it signed by famous people who visited,” he said. “I wanted to represent my state.”
Likewise, the players said they wanted to represent the regard American people have for service members fighting to protect freedom back home.

Bernero also brought along a message to the troops to keep their head up and continue to persevere.

Bernero, who last pitched in 2006 with the Philadelphia Phillies and Kansas City Royals, missed 2007 due to injury; he is currently preparing to get back on the mound in 2008, having been signed by the Boston Red Sox minor league team.

While he admits that his sacrifices are minor compared to the ones Soldiers are making everyday, he hopes that he can leave them with inspiration to continue to work hard and do their country proud.

“Some things are a little bigger in life and this is one of them,” Wendell said. “You really got to believe in yourself. You can’t settle for second. It is not an option.”

Posted by Wild Thing at October 15, 2007 12:40 AM


During the Korean War, Leatherneck Gunny dad used to throw personally signed hand grenades - by Ted Williams - at the North Koreans, Chicoms and Russkies on outpost E25: Strike 1-2-3 you're all dead!

Posted by: darthcrUSAderworldtour07 at October 15, 2007 03:44 AM

Darth, I don't suppose your Gunney left you one of those for Pelosi or Hitlery?

Posted by: SSgt Steve, USMC at October 15, 2007 06:43 AM

Very noble of those pitchers, these men don't seem to be afraid to show a little support. I wish more would get involved.

I echo SSgt Steve, USMC, Darth.

Being camped next to some Marines once, I observed them passing a 'hot potato' back and forth before chucking it, interesting, but it relies on an outsiders sense of timing, the result was nearly instantaneous every time. I never felt the urge to hang on to one that long.:)

Posted by: Jack at October 15, 2007 07:31 AM

Darth that is great.

Posted by: Wild Thing at October 16, 2007 12:33 AM

SSgt Steve, USMC, heh heh now there is a thought.

Posted by: Wild Thing at October 16, 2007 12:35 AM

Jack, yikes that would be scary. Like you said timing is important. hahahaa

Posted by: Wild Thing at October 16, 2007 12:36 AM