North Platte honors Veterans and Active Military with the Plainsmen and U.S. Military All-Star Game
North Platte Plainsmen
NORTH PLATTE, Neb. (KNOP) - On July 8th the North Platte Plainsmen and the North Platte Community will honor U.S. Military Veterans and Active Duty Military when the Plainsmen play the U.S. Military Allstar Team. The U.S Military All-Star team is in its 32nd season and this is its first year back on the road since the Covid-19 Pandemic. The team was founded by President George Bush Senior. Members of the team come from all branches of the military, except the Space Force, which they are hoping to get its first member next season. This season as the team makes its “post-Covid return” they are doing a tour of the Mid-West including several stops in Nebraska including; Hastings, Fremont according to Tank Stone the Vice President of Development for the team.
Not only will the team be playing a baseball game, but they’ll also be honoring Veterans from the North Platte Community and the surrounding areas. Before the game, the oldest living Veterans in the area will be honored on the field for their service. Another ritual that the All-Star Team participates in is, at 9:11 P.M. if they’re in the field they stand at attention towards the flag, or if they’re in the dugout they come out to the baseline and stand for the playing of Lee Greenwood’s, “God Bless the USA.”
“There’s something about those roaring crowds that make those young ones that are joining feel good and the old ones that are needing that pat on the back. That’s what we’re really known for a pre-game honor ceremony,” says Stone.
As the U.S. Military is honored for their service to their country, they’re also playing America’s game of baseball. Americans love to come out and support baseball on a summer night, and Stone says the atmosphere is even more patriotic when the All-Star team is in town.
“Of course they love baseball. But, the military aspect of it and then we surround ourselves with more military, the national guard not just the recruiters, but they’ll come and bring a climbing rock wall for the children and the parents love that. The Air Force might bring in a tractor-trailer that has virtual reality tour and flight simulators, things like that. It gives the young ones and some of the older ones that never were in the military kind of a cool reckoning to see how advanced our technology is that way. There’s an awe about it, there really is. Never mind what these young men really stand for, you know they decided to put country first over their own careers in baseball,” explains Stone.
So, with the All-Star Team constantly traveling and moving around, how do they find their player and coaches? Well, depending on where they’re traveling, they’ll reach out to bases and set up tryouts. The team is open to all branches to join. When it comes to coaches, the team has had civilian coaches in the past, but according to Stone, he likes when they’re current former military because they have a better insight into what the team is all about.
The U.S. Military Team doesn’t wear the traditional baseball jerseys either. Most of the time for baseball, the player will pick a number, and then their last name will be on the back of the jersey, but that’s not necessarily the case for the U.S. Military Team. Players on this team might put a date coinciding with a significant one within their branch as their number. For example, Stone explained that some Army guys might use 50 as their number and “Chosen” as their name to represent the “Chosen River Battle.”
The U.S. Military Team will play their Nebraska Leg of their tour through the Mid-West at the beginning of July. The team will be in Gering on the 1st, then travel and play in Hastings on the 6th, Fremont on the 7th, and then round out their games in Nebraska with North Platte on the 8th.
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