Current and former Major League Baseball players joined with Fort Bragg soldiers and airmen for a game of wiffle ball Thursday afternoon.
The event was part of a two-day visit to Fort Bragg called "Spring Training to the Troops." Fox Sports organized the visit, and the Fox Sports Girls also participated.
"I'm just thankful to be here and be part of giving back and showing my respect and my honor to what these guys are doing for us," commented former Atlanta Braves pitcher Chris Hammond.
Prior to the wiffle ball game the MLB players met with service members and families in other settings on Wednesday and Thursday. They visited and spoke at Fort Bragg's Albritton Junior High School, participated in physical training, fired weapons with Army Special Operators and learned more about Fort Bragg-based military operations and training. That learning included working with parachute riggers and jumping from the Advanced Airborne School's 34-foot jump tower. The players also conducted a youth camp at Tolson Youth Activities Center.
"It feels good to know these guys are big timers, and they're looking at us like we're big timers," said Air Force Staff Sgt. Dustin Brown. "This is pretty awesome."
The players who visited included Chris Archer, Tampa Bay Rays; Mike Dunn, Miami Marlins; Mark McLemore, former player with the Texas Rangers; Bob Brenly, Diamondbacks broadcaster, former player and coach; Royce Clayton, former player with St. Louis Cardinals, San Francisco Giants and Texas Rangers; Chris Hammond, former player with the Atlanta Braves, Cincinnati Reds and Miami Marlins; Rex Hudler, Kansas City Royals broadcaster and former player with the Los Angeles Angels, St. Louis Cardinals and New York Yankees; Davey Nelson, Milwaukee Brewers broadcaster and former player with the Cleveland Indians, Texas Rangers/ and Kansas City Royals; and Jose Tolentino, FOX Deportes Broadcaster and former player with the Houston Astros.
Brandon is a North Carolina native and UNC alum who lives in Fayetteville, and covers Cumberland County and the Sandhills. Returning to North Carolina to work as a journalist is a dream come true for Brandon.More>>