Tampa, FL - Directors and General Managers of the Florida State League have nominated the Tampa Yankees for the Charles K. Murphy Patriot Award. The award recognizes a team for their outstanding support of and engagement with the United States Armed Forces and veterans, both at the ballpark and in the community.
One overall winner will be selected prior to this year's annual Baseball Winter Meetings in National Harbor, Maryland, December 4th-8th. All 15 Minor League Baseball Leagues will have a nominee. The Charles K. Murphy Patriot Award is named after the late Florida State League President, "Chuck" Murphy.
Every Saturday home game, the Tampa Yankees hosted "Salute to Service Members Saturday" where active and retired military received a free game ticket. The team also honored an active member of the military and their family from MacDill Air Force Base on the field each night.
Prior to the 2016 season starting, the Tampa Yankees mascot, Blue, and staff were present at MacDill Air Force Base for the annual Air Fest celebrating the 75th Anniversary of the base. The team returned to the Air Force Base multiple times throughout the season for different events like the Youth Baseball Opening Day, Back to School Fair, and Family Appreciation Picnic. In July, players and members of the front office staff were invited to try out the BOOM Simulator and learn about refueling a plane in the air. Afterwards, the players signed autographs at the Base Exchange.
The Yankees Foundation partnered with the Tampa Bay History Center to offer free admission to all military at the History Center for one day in April. For Memorial Day, Blue and the street team went to the Armed Forces History Museum Family Fun Fest.
The Tampa Yankees also worked with other local organizations who support the United States Armed Forces. In May, TY players went to Operation Patriot, a veterans nursing home in Land O'Lakes, Florida. The players went room to room to visit the residents and their families, pass out hats, sign autographs and then stayed for their BBQ lunch.
2016 marked the Tampa Yankees 10th annual Bark at the Ballpark and this year, the team worked with a new charity called K9s for Camo - an organization that provides service dogs to veterans that have returned from serving our country with post-traumatic stress disorder.
Tampa Yankees game day employee, Dallas McClain is a student at Sickles High School and a proud member of the JROTC. He and his color guard presented the flags at one of our Saturday home games. Dallas was very proud to wear his uniform during his regular work shift that night.
On July 4th, the team supported a local charity, Everyday Heroes USA; "Everyday Heroes USA" is dedicated to assisting the current and past men, women and families of the fire department, law enforcement and military through a series of programs designed to connect them with charities, businesses and volunteers willing to help. Every year, "Everyday Heroes USA" hosts, sponsors and participates in multiple events, with proceeds benefiting local heroes.
Players & Coaches wore custom jerseys that had the Declaration of Independence running through the pinstripes of the jersey. Fans bid on the jersey's in a silent auction at the game and online to raise money for Everyday Heroes USA.
During a pregame ceremony, members of the US Army, Navy, Marines, Coast Guard, Air Force, Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office, Tampa Police and Tampa Fire were each honored with a short bio read as they took the field with the team for the National Anthem. Two flag presentations were done between innings to honor two mothers of fallen soldiers through My Warrior's Place, a Retreat Center for Veterans, Military Service Members, First Responders, Gold Star, Blue Star and Silver Star Families.
As a part of the annual Tampa Yankees H.O.P.E. (Helping Other Persevere & Excel) Week initiative, the team invited military families through the USO out to the ballpark for a morning where they could play catch, take some swings and mingle with the players. Everyone that attended the morning portion was given a ticket to attend the game that night. Over 250 people attended the morning event.
The Tampa Yankees are the Single A-Advanced affiliate of the New York Yankees. For more information you may contact the Tampa Yankees offices at (813) 673-3055 or visit www.tybaseball.com.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.