SEATTLE, Wash., " To throw from atop the pitcher’s mound or in front, that is the question. When I Corps Command Sgt. Major John Troxell was asked where he wanted to throw the ceremonial first pitch, his decision was already made.
After being announced to more than 34,000 cheering fans at Safeco Field, Troxell waved and confidently jogged across the diamond to the top of the Seattle Mariners pitcher’s mound, baseball in hand.
The audience rose to their feet with thunderous applause as a telling sign of the community’s support of the military and the mission of Joint Base Lewis-McChord.
Troxell wound up and rifled the pitch across home plate kicking off the Seattle Mariner’s celebration of the Army’s 236th birthday June 17, which was followed by the National Anthem performed by the 56th Army Band.
“Events like this allow us to showcase the Army,” said Troxell. “To showcase the Soldiers of Joint Base Lewis-McChord and for the people to see the defenders of freedom.”
Troxell stressed the importance of strengthening community relations and creating bonds within the community.
“We have to have a close, working relationship with our communities, because our Soldiers and their families live in the communities,” said Troxell. The more we partner with the community leaders, the more we’ll be able to ensure that our Soldiers and their families are taken care of in the community.
Ten great Americans who recently swore the oath to defend the liberties and freedoms of the United States joined Troxell behind the mound. From the position of attention they proudly watched the command sergeant major throw one home for the Army team.
The new Soldiers standing tall and proud will hopefully motivate and inspire young Americans in the audience to do something positive with their lives, said Troxell.
He welcomed them into the Army by presenting each with the America Corps coin awarded for excellence as a sign of his gratitude to those who volunteer to serve the people of the United States.
“It’s our job to send the Army message out there,” said Troxell. “It’s our obligation to be in the community and to be at events like this.”
Troxell enjoyed the game from the third base line and had a chance at a foul ball, but a fan in front stuck his glove up just in time. The command sergeant major might have caught the souvenir if only baseball gloves were authorized for wear with the Army Service Uniform.
Troxell grew up playing baseball until he made the switch to football and wrestling at age 13. While he’s no stranger to the diamond, he’s only thrown a baseball about twice in the last 30 years.
The first 20,000 fans were given a free Ichiro Zuzuki replica jersey and Ichiro didn’t disappoint with three hits during the ball game. The Mariners went on to win the series opener against the Phillies 4-2 and ended their seven-game winning streak.