4/16/2013 -- CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. – The roar of hundreds of cheering fans thundered through the stadium as service members marched across the San Diego Padres’ baseball field during a Military Appreciation Day event, April 14, 2013.
More than a dozen Marines with 1st Marine Logistics Group participated in the ceremony hosted by the San Diego Padres Major League Baseball team, to help represent the Marine Corps’ presence in the southern California area.
The Padres, known to many as the “Team of the Military,” invited all branches of the armed forces to participate in the team’s first Military Appreciation Day of the season.
“We do this to show our appreciation to the military,” said Krista Moffett, a Padres Squad team member and a native of Carlsbad, Calif. “This is something the Padres take pride in. Since we have so many retired and active duty fans in the stands, we wanted to show them that we care about them. We want the military to know how grateful we are for what they do.”
The Padres began holding Military Appreciation Days in 1995. The tradition started shortly after the team hired John C. Ensch, a retired Navy captain, to be a liaison between the club and all branches of the armed forces serving in and around San Diego. Ensch said the Padres have had a great relationship with all the services.
“We’re proud to be called the ‘Team of the Military,’” said Ensch in a San Diego article. “We are very sensitive of the military in this town because of the long history the military has here.”
Retired members in the crowd said the applause and cheers by the nonmilitary baseball fans in the stands was moving.
For many of the Marines participating, it was the first time they had experienced something like this.
“It’s great to have the opportunity to be out here representing the Marine Corps in this manner,” said Sgt. Oswaldo Leal, a supply administrator with 1st Supply Company, Combat Logistics Regiment 17, 1st MLG. “To have people come up and thank these Marines is a great thing.”
As tradition dictates, Padres players donned their traditional Military Appreciation Day camouflage jerseys on this special day.
Despite losing a close game to the Colorado Rockies, the Padres fans and several hundred service members in attendance were happy to have been part of such a significant occasion.