The Detroit Tigers are proud to give back to the men and women who serve our country and make sacrifices for our freedom and safety. Through a variety of programs, the Tigers hope to show their appreciation for our active and former military members for their service to our nation.
When Justin Verlander takes the mound at Comerica Park, he strives for victory. This season, his outings on the hill take on a new meaning. For each of his home starts, Verlander hosts Veterans from Veterans Affairs Medical Centers throughout the state of Michigan. These Veterans sustained injuries or illness in Iraq during Operation Iraqi Freedom or in Afghanistan during Operation Enduring Freedom. The Veterans along with their families cheer on the Tigers from the comfort of Verlander's personal luxury suite. After serving our country, the special day provides American veterans the opportunity to enjoy a Tigers game with their family. Veterans share 18 luxury suite tickets and parking passes in the Tigers Parking Garage. Food and beverage is provided for the guests courtesy of Verlander. Veterans receive a personalized welcome letter from Verlander while all guests receive a Verlander's Victory for Veterans t-shirt and are welcomed on the videoboard during the game.
When you see Verlander on the mound, he is not only playing for his team and Tigers fans around the world, he is also playing for America's heroes.
"Operation Opening Day" is intended for transplanted Detroit Tigers fans currently on military duty at home and abroad. The DVD presentation of Opening Day 2013 is a gift from Mario Impemba that features the game telecast of the Detroit Tigers defeating the New York Yankees, 8-3 and all the festivities surrounding the annual Detroit holiday. This project is also made possible through the cooperation of the Tigers and Major League Baseball Productions.
Continuing his tradition of supporting the men and women of the United States Armed Forces, beginning in 2013, FOX Sports Detroit broadcaster Mario Impemba launched the MVP (Military Veterans Program)---a salute to those who served. Through the program, Mario hosts Veterans who fought in earlier conflicts (World War II - Persian Gulf) at Monday home games at Comerica Park. A group of 20 Veterans and their guests receive a lower-bowl ticket to the Tigers game, an "MVP" t-shirt, a voucher for ballpark dinner (hot dog, chips and soda) and an autographed photo of Tigers broadcaster Mario Impemba. In addition, the Veterans and guests arrive to the ballpark in style in the FOX Sports Detroit Fan Express. The Detroit Tigers have partnered with local Veterans groups to identify.
The Detroit Tigers commemorated the National Day of Service and Remembrance on September 18, 2012 by honoring the men and women who lost their lives in the line of duty during the attacks on 9-11 as well as local first responders who have lost their lives in the line of duty.
The Tigers donated 1,300 tickets to local first responders, along with their families, to attend the game when the Tigers took on the Oakland Athletics. Over 100 first responders were recognized on the field at Comerica Park, prior to the National Anthem, for their service to our local communities. Among those recognized were first responders serving the Dearborn Heights Fire Department, Detroit Police and Fire Departments, Farmington Hills Police Department, Franklin Bingham Department, Livonia Fire Department, Michigan State Police, Royal Oak Fire Department, Saginaw Police Department, Trenton Police Department, Waterford Police Department, Riverview Fire Department and Wayne County Sheriff's Department.
To celebrate the dedication and sacrifice of all branches of the military and their many veterans, the Detroit Tigers hosted Armed Forces and Veteran Recognition Day on Memorial Day.
The Tigers donated 2,500 tickets to active service members and veterans, along with their families, to attend the game when the Tigers took on the Minnesota Twins. A special performance of the National Anthem was sung by Technical Sergeant James Donaldson of the 127th Wing, Michigan Air National Guard from Selfridge Air National Guard Base. After that National Anthem, Christopher Sardo, Senior Vice Commander of the Disabled American Veterans, Colonel Michael Thomas of the Michigan Air National Guard from Selfridge Air National Guard Base and Major William Burnett of Tuskegee Airmen, Inc each threw a ceremonial first pitch. Moments before the Tigers took the field, Captain Penny Carroll of the Michigan Air National Guard delivered the official game ball.
The Tigers recognize the devotion and bravery every current service member carries out, while also remembering the duty served by the many veterans across our nation.
To honor the dedication of the men and women serving our country, on select home games, the Detroit Tigers invite a member of the Armed Forces currently serving a tour of duty or recently returned from deployment to deliver the game ball to the pitcher's mound. The service member will be announced to the crowd and welcomed as he/she walks the official game baseball from the sidelines to the pitcher's mound.
During WWII, around 20,000 African American recruits were trained at Montford Pointe Camp. Through their courageous acts of heroism, they proved that race, color, creed, and national origin did not determine what constituted a Marine and simultaneously helped put an end to discrimination throughout the Armed Forces.
The Detroit Tigers hosted local members of the Montford Pointe Marines, who recently received a Congressional Medal of Honor in Washington D.C. Additionally, the Veterans were recognized prior to the National Anthem. The Montford Pointe Marines also had the opportunity to meet Detroit Tigers Legend and hometown hero Willie Horton.