There's no better way to celebrate Memorial Day than by following up a good parade and veterans ceremony with a baseball game, am I right? It's like adding a heaping scoop of patriotism on top of an American spirit sundae. Which is pretty much why San Francisco Giants star Brian Wilson's way of honoring the holiday has to be my favorite.
He just made a name for himself as the single largest donor to the Air Force Association's scholarship fund. But he didn't do it for himself. The National League pitcher happens to know a thing or two about being a good American. He was a military brat. Wilson's dad, Michael Wilson, was a member of the Air Force before he passed away when his son was in high school.
So Wilson, who now makes oodles of moolah pitching for one of the nation's greatest teams (they're even making an It Gets Better video to help America's gay teens!), decided to give the money for HIM and for the ROTC kids who could use the help. For the next five years, two ROTC cadets (per year) will get a chunk of change that comes straight out of Wilson's pocket -- essentially straight out of AT&T Park -- to help them on the path to become an officer in the Air Force.
It's Wilson doing this out of the goodness of his heart, and out of his own patriotism, but there's something so right about seeing this relationship between baseball and the military. Come on, think of a short list of symbols of America. Apple pie. Red, white and blue. Our military. Baseball.
Major League Baseball itself has traditionally had a relationship with the military, giving our men and women in uniform their due at a host of games throughout the season (my Yanks invited the Black Team of the U.S. Army Golden Knights to parachute into Yankee Stadium a few weeks ago!). But Wilson may have topped anything so far. He'll make a major difference for some some kids over the next several years, some kids who will be American heroes.
How's that for a way to celebrate the holiday?
Image via AFA