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Tigers Going Extra Mile with Memorial Day Cap Inscriptions

All MLB teams playing today are wearing poppy patches on their jerseys for Memorial Day. But the Tigers, in partnership with the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS), have taken the additional step of honoring four fallen military service members from Michigan by inscribing their names on players’ caps.

The four players and the four service members they’re honoring are as follows:

  • Outfielder Riley Greene is wearing the name of U.S. Army Staff Sergeant Bryan Pitney, who was from Deerfield:
  • Outfielder Akil Baddoo is wearing the name of U.S. Marine Corps Staff Sergeant Vincent J. Bell, who was from Detroit:
  • First baseman Spencer Torkelson is wearing the name of U.S. Army Specialist Randy Stevens, who was from Flint:
  • And starting pitcher Matthew Boyd is wearing the name of U.S. Army Private First Class Christopher Sroka, who was from Warren:

I’m not currently aware of any other MLB team doing anything quite like this today.

(My thanks to longtime reader Jo Zwiep for bringing this promotion to my attention.)

Comments (11)

    I wish MLB handled every holiday like they now do Memorial Day. Simple poppy patch, sincere hand-written tributes. This means so much more than all the merch dump weekends.

    After years and years (literally, a decade) of getting it wrong, MLB has finally done right by Memorial Day. Of course, the fact that several teams aren’t even scheduled is a travesty (and it’s not like teams don’t have *wraparound* series either…why they can’t schedule one over Mem Day is beyond comprehension).

    Still, how they’ve handled it the past few years is refreshing. Now, just ditch the three day camopander for Armed Forces DAY, and add a recognition of Labor Day, and we’re good (I don’t hate the Mom/Dad’s day thing when it’s restricted to the caps and it’s celebrated ON Mother’s/Father’s Day).

    Well said, any recognition of our Fallen is welcome…….
    America’s best were the ones who never made it home….

    As a Veteran AND a Uni-Watcher AND Tiger fan I could not agree more. This is what right looks like. No pandering, no MLB, New Era, or swoosh cash grab. Just simple sincerity that shows an actual effort was made to pay tribute to those who made the ultimate sacrifice.

    Kudos to the Tigers for this gesture. I’m only surprised to learn there are only four Michiganders who have fallen in battle. I would have gone into a gesture like that thinking there were, at least, 32.
    Maybe there was something specifically identifying about those four? I hope the issue wasn’t that 28 refused to do it like refusing to wear a Pride shirt.

    How about just enjoying that four families got to be honored, rather than putting forward the ridiculous assumptions that either a) only *four* people from the 10th largest state in the country ‘have been killed in battle’ or b) 28 out of 32 players who were asked refused to participate.

    Interesting to see a comment pointing out only four soldiers were honored out of 32 hats and wondering what the distinction was for those four doesn’t get approved.
    This one probably won’t either, I guess.

    Actually, Tom, your 28/32 comment was not only posted but responded to.

    Maybe look a bit closer before insinuating that something fishy is going on.

    That’s just awesome. I wonder if other teams in the future will adopt that if they have a local/personal connection? Great job Tigers.

    The Tigers abbreviated Staff Sergeant correctly for both the USMC and Army, it’s nice to see that a small detail like that was given attention, it leads me to believe that some real thought went into this tribute.

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