The league makes millions of dollars each year selling camo jerseys, hats, and other merchandise for special patriotic holiday games, and several teams now even sport camo uniform sets year-round. This is all done as a tribute to our military, however many think this tribute is beginning to feel more hollow and jingoistic. Is slapping a team's logo over the top of a camo pattern and donating a small portion of the profits really the best we can do to honor our nation's bravest?
Which is why I'm suggesting a new program: Major League Baseball Home Base Salute. A chance to salute the individuals underneath the uniform -- not the uniform itself.
Every MLB team will join together with a prominent military base, or Home Base, within their fan region to form a charity partnership that includes special ticket giveaways, player outreach programs, and other charity and goodwill efforts. In turn, each MLB team will wear a special edition New Era hat and Majestic jersey featuring a patch from a garrison stationed at their Home Base, styled in one of three distinct camo patterns honoring the three major branches of the military. Then, all proceeds from each teams apparel sales will go directly towards their Home Base charity partnership, keeping that money in the community and spurring more local support for the cause.
Home Base Salute would be an impactful way to honor our best and bravest with more than a simple fashion statement, offering a personal tribute with a real personal impact on the men and women who serve our country so honorably.
The program easily slots in year-round and makes for a good replacement of the current military hats worn on Memorial Day, Independence Day, and 9/11. But the 2016 MLB All-Star game, held at Petco Park in San Diego, provides the perfect launch point for the Home Base Salute program.
Beginning in 1996, the Padres were the first national sports team to hold an annual military appreciation event, the first to wear camo jerseys in 2000, and then began wearing those jerseys full-time in 2008. It’s no secret that San Diego, home to one of the country’s largest Naval bases, is a patriotic city. So it only makes sense that Major League Baseball use the 2016 All-Star Game, hosted in San Diego, to honor all branches of the United States Armed Forces in an all-new way that would set itself apart from the annual year-round “tributes” that have become so banal and common place in all of sports.
This is a personal project of Jesse Alkire and is in no way affiliated with or endorsed by Major League Baseball, New Era, Majestic Athletic, or Nike.
All original work is © Jesse Alkire, 2016.