By Sgt. Matthew MoellerJune 25, 2010
SEATTLE - Spectators cheered as I Corps Command Sgt. Maj. Frank A. Grippe of Joint Base Lewis-McChord stepped up to the Safeco Field pitcher's mound, June 18, and threw out the ceremonial first pitch prior to the Seattle Mariners' home game against the Cincinnati Reds on "Army Night," a celebration of the Army's 235th birthday.
"It's obviously an honor to bring ... my family, to (watch me) throw the first pitch in honor of the Army birthday," Grippe said. "The local community, in this time of persistent conflict, is really going out of its way to support the service members."
Following Grippe's toss, the I Corps Color Guard and the 56th Army Band took the field for the National Anthem.
The night was not all about ceremony, however. The Mariners offered discounted tickets to 400 JBLM service members and their families.
"I think its great," said Maj. Patrick Canchola, a veterinarian at Madigan Army Medical Center, who came with his wife and four children. "They drop the ticket prices a little bit, and that makes it affordable for a family to come up here and watch a game."
"It's awesome the Mariners let the Army families come out and watch the game. It means that they're really supporting the military and what they do," said 11-year-old Collin Keith, son of JBLM-based Maj. Scot Keith, while wearing a commemorative Army/Mariners T-shirt, handed out to JBLM families in attendance.
Service members left the game pleased with more than just affordable tickets. Mariners pitcher Cliff Lee earned the fifth shutout of his career, leading Seattle to a 1-0 victory over the Reds that knocked Cincinnati out of first place in the National League Central.
Sgt. Matthew Moeller is assigned to 5th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment. This article appeared in Joint Base Lewis-McChord's weekly newspaper, the Northwest Guardian.