Tomorrow afternoon (Thursday), The Chillicothe Mudcats will host an exhibition game against the U.S. Military All Stars, and event organizers are asking for community support to help welcome the visitors to town.
The U.S. Military All Stars is a traveling baseball team with players from every branch of the U.S. armed forces. Since 1990, the team has featured the athletic talents of more than 25,000 armed forces personnel. Proceeds from the team's Red, White and Blue Summer Tours help fund the Wounded Warrior Project, a non-profit organization aimed to assist severely injured service men and women.
The All Stars are scheduled for a game against the Mustangs of St. Joseph, Mo. tonight (Wednesday). The team will depart from St. Joseph, Mo., Thursday morning. They will stop for a visit at the Missouri Veteran's Home in Cameron, Mo., before making their way to Chillicothe. The All Stars will arrive around noon in Chillicothe, led by a procession of local law enforcement officers. The Chillicothe Fire Department's aerial truck ladder will be extended with a giant American flag over Washington Street. They will travel north on U.S. Highway 65 through the city, turn around at Barnes-Baker and stop at Royal Inn Pizza for a luncheon sponsored by the restaurant and Trenton Coca-Cola.
Chillicothe Mayor Chuck Haney encourages all area residents to line Washington Street at noon for the arrival of the All Stars.
"We want to give a real heroes welcome to all these veterans," Haney said. "We are encouraging everyone to line Washington Street, wave flags and let the veterans know appreciate what they're doing."
The public will have numerous opportunities to meet the All Stars, including the luncheon at Royal Inn Pizza and the tailgate party at Shaffer Park.
"If people want to come out and meet them before the game at Royal Inn Pizza right around noon, that'd be great," Mudcats General Manager Doug Doughty said. "There will be other opportunities with the National Guard and Trenton Coca-Cola sponsoring the tailgate party before the game. That's going to start around 2 o'clock in the afternoon at Shaffer Park."
At 5 p.m., the All Stars will host a patriotic pre-game ceremony featuring local veterans. Tom Douglas, Vern Wascher, Flloyd Gabel, Heath Corzette, Colin Parker and Drew Hibner will all suit up in the All Star's signature camouflage jerseys and be recognized for their commitment to the armed forces.
The game itself will also feature family-friendly activities, a tribute to veterans and a special 9/11 memorial between innings.
"During the game, they usually stop at exactly 11 minutes after nine and do a 9/11 tribute," Doughty explained. "The game won't be going on July 4 at 11 minutes after nine, but they will stop the game at a certain point and do the 9/11 tribute. They also have some fun. They have a home run derby between innings for kids. It will be a family event."
Page 2 of 2 - Following the game, the All Stars will meet at First Presbyterian Church in Chillicothe for a meal organized by Judi Shaffer and prepared by the Church Ladies Auxiliary. The team will then join the Freedom Festival in Simpson Park to sign autographs and take photos.
"We're just really happy that the Military All Stars have made a time in their schedule to come to Chillicothe," Doughty said. "We hope to do this every year. It should be a great event. And a final reminder: veterans and active duty military/first responders get in free."