MIAMI (AP) — Several members of the Florida Marlins are set to visit U.S. military troops in Iraq and Kuwait from Jan. 24 to Feb. 1.
The team said Wednesday the trip is the first of its kind for a major league club since the war in Iraq began.
NL Rookie of the Year Chris Coghlan, catcher John Baker, manager Fredi Gonzalez and president of baseball operations Larry Beinfest are among those scheduled to represent the Marlins, along with four members of the team’s “Mermaids” dance crew.
“We are extremely proud of the men and women who serve our country and we are thankful for this unique opportunity to show our appreciation,” Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria said in a statement. “This trip is important to all of us, and we take our responsibility to support our soldiers very seriously.”
The visit will be made in association with Armed Forces Entertainment, and the Marlins plan to provide blog updates and photos on www.marlins.com.
“We know the troops stationed overseas will enjoy the little piece of home they’ll get with a visit from some of their favorite professional athletes,” said Colonel Edward F. Shock, USAF, chief of Armed Forces Entertainment. “We know how busy this time of year can be with the team preparing to begin spring training, so we are honored the players, manager and dance team members are taking time away from their already-hectic schedules to visit with our men and women in uniform.”