Paying tribute to the nation's heroes would seem to be a perfect fit for the nation's pastime. Not so fast, says Major League Baseball.
The Washington Nationals had planned to honor the Navy SEALs who died in a helicopter crash in Afghanistan by wearing special tribute hats on the field, but that plan didn't pass muster with league officials.
“We reserve hats for national tributes, where every club is wearing them on the same day,” league spokesman Pat Courtney told the Washington Post. “But we’re happy to work with clubs on alternatives.”
The league is more open to teams paying tribute through uniform patches, the Post reported, or by special attire during batting practice rather than games.
Indeed, the Nationals took batting practice Tuesday afternoon wearing ball caps of the different military branches, and Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans and their families were also treated to a pregame dinner, MyFoxDC.com reported.
Nats pitchers Ryan Mattheus and Ross Detwiler spent time with the military families.
"Sometimes being back here, you kind of forget that you're in a war," Detwiler told MyFoxDC.com. "You kind of go back to your day-to-day life and then you see something like (the helicopter shot down). It's a terrible reminder that there are people losing their lives for our freedom."
More than 6,000 U.S. servicemen and women have been killed in Iraq and Afghanistan. The helicopter crash on Aug. 6 was the single-deadliest incident for the U.S. military in the ten-year war in Afghanistan.