Monday, July 25, 2016
Ball Players Thank Vets in Nursing Homes
UTICA, July 25 – Young ball players in the New York State American Legion Baseball Championships spent a pre-tournament afternoon visiting nursing-home-bound military veterans, asking them to autograph baseballs and thanking them for their service. (Photo Gallery.)
“It’s such a great experience for the kids,” noted Tim Lucey, manager of Brooks Shepard Post of Fairport. It lets them see a “slice of life.”
Some of the veterans spoke of their war experiences while others talked baseball and even offered a few tips.
“Baseball is my big love,” World War II Marine Frank Traglia told the visitors, and then offered some advice: “Stay away from drugs. Play the game clean. Don’t brag… Team harmony is what it’s all about.”
American Legion Department of New York Commander John B. Sampson and his wife, Vicki, accompanied one group of players to Sitrin Health Care. Another group visited St. Luke’s Home.
“The Legion runs many programs,” said Commander Sampson. “Baseball is one of the biggest. These kids aren’t just learning athletics and sportsmanship and baseball. They’re also learning a bit about community service and what it means to serve your country.”
Tournament Director Mike Macchione of host Adrean Post organized the nursing home visits.
The tournament kicks off Tuesday, July 26, at Utica’s Donovan Stadium at Murnane Field, with Sampson throwing out the first pitch.