Results tagged ‘ America ’

MLB Fort Bragg Event – Much more than just a game

fort bragg cover

The dust is starting to settle after the #MLBFortBragg game last week where a regulation game between the Braves and Marlins was held.  What a way to celebrate the 4th of July weekend.  To say it was a whirlwind event would be putting it mildly.   Building a field and a 12,500 seat ballpark in 4 months was a daunting task but with MLB putting the right people together we were ultimately successful.   This event was special in so many ways.  Not only did the families on the base receive a free MLB game to see, the field will also be donated to Ft Bragg.  In comparison, the Cuba Game was historical due to the POTUS factor,  But this one was doing something for the men and women who put there life on the line for us every day.  MLB built a “Field of Thanks” an named it Fort Bragg Field.

Acknowledgment of those involved that made this event possible is important.

ft bragg tarp crew

A BIG thank  you to MLB and MLBPA for funding the project.  Even though tickets to the event were free to our military service members and families there were still costs for building everything.   Annmarie and her team with BAAM provided outstanding project management services for the bleachers, locker rooms and staffing as well as all the logistics for ESPN and VIP’s.  Todd and Bobby from Populous provided some cool concepts for us all to work with and also provided onsite design services.  The field site, fencing, bullpens, batting tunnels, dugouts were managed by Peter and Ernesto from our Brightview Development and Construction teams.  The field actually took just under 3 months to build.  I would be remiss if I didn’t thank and clearly acknowledge Chad Olsen, Eric Ogden and Cindy Unger from our sportsturf team who performed the real magic in making the field MLB quality during the final couple months.

fort bragg field shot

This event had a lot of moving parts and temporary build outs. BAAM is currently dismantling the ballpark bleachers and tents but the field stays.  It will be tweaked a bit to have softball games but other than that it stays as is.  We worked with the local sportsturf guys ( and gal) at the base on maintenance operations during the event.   We also enlisted several vendors to help us out with materials and services for the field and ballpark. Carolina Green, Duraedge, Turface,  Rainbird, Promats, and John Deere all had a big hand in the success.  Our friends at Musco brought in the temporary lights which were beautiful and really created a great ambiance at the ballpark.

Our tarp crew was composed of service members from the 82nd Airborne Division and over a period of a few days we had worked the clock down to 1 minute and 30 seconds to deploy the big 170 x 170 cover.  They were awesome.  We had cameo appearances by a few PRO baseball turf managers from around the areas MiLB parks that chipped in to help us with final details.  Chris Ball Gwinnett Braves, Jake Halloway Greensboro GrassHoppers, Chad Kropff Roanoke County, Scott Strickland Durham Bulls and Zach Severns August Greenjackets. the overall team effort on this project by everyone was truly remarkable!

It was an amazing and historical event that allowed us to give back to the service members and their families on the base.  A way of saying Thanks for all they do for our country.  Looking forward to seeing where the next one will be because this one will be tough to top.

Remembering: Team USA Visits Sicily-Rome American Cemetery and Memorial

usa team at memorial.JPGIn 2007  I had the honor of meeting  Retired Colonel Joe Bevilacqua Superintendent of the American cemetery in Nettuno Italy.  In addition to his position at the cemetery  he  and has also helped us with the field preperations over the past few weeks with equipment and resources .  During our conversations he wondered if the USA baseball team may have some time to come over to the cemetery to see the site. One thing lead to another and it worked out that Team USA could be there a few minutes before BP of the Netherlands game.

sciliy mem headstones.JPGThe Cemetary  is as humbling  as Arlington Cemetary with over 8000 Americans laying rest from the Anzio beach invasion of the allied forces during WWII.  The 77 acre site is American property. The players were obviously moved by Colonel Joe’s presentation of the invasion and the cemetary facts. Joe has a crew of over 16 guys that maintain the grounds which were breath taking.

memorial.JPGNot only was there a memorial but also a chapel where over 3000 soldiers  considered missing in action have their names etched into the Roman traventine marble.  Inscribed in  bold letters in the chapel. ” IN PROUD REMEMBERANCE OF THE ACHIEVEMENTS OF HER SONS AND IN HUMBLE TRIBUTE TO THEIR SACRIFICES THIS MEMORIAL HAS BEEN ERECTED BY THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA”   On several unknown cemetary markers the inscription reads..HERE RESTS IN HONORED GLORY A COMRADE IN ARMS KNOWN BUT TO GOD”

A couple of the players were talking and I over heard one say, ” had the guys laying here not given the ultimate sacrfice  we may not have been here today playing this game”.

Im glad it worked out they could see the cemetery as it really puts things in perspective as to why we are playing these games.  Many Many thanks to our armed forces for keeping us safe.  God Bless All of our military and those that have fallen for our freedom.  Gone but not forgotten.

Anyway   …. CUBA – USA tommorow for the GOLD MEDAL   Check out the poster .