When David Wright suits up for Monday's game at Citi Field, the circumstances will be special enough. It will be the first Subway Series game of the year, Yankees at Mets. That is traditionally a sellout atmosphere with loyalties apparent in the stands.
That moment will be even more special for Wright. The Mets' third baseman grew up in the military town of Norfolk, Va., and he will be among players across Major League Baseball suiting up on Memorial Day in a specially designed cap and jersey featuring an authentic military digital camouflage design licensed from the United States Marine Corps. The prominent display will honor fallen veterans and benefit today's returning military veterans and their families.
"We as players are extremely proud not only to wear these caps, but also to represent and pay our respects to our returning veterans," Wright said. "I have friends and family who have given up their lives to serve a cause. Because of these men and women, I get the opportunity to play a game and live in freedom. I hope we remember these veterans."
MLB also will conduct a moment of silence prior to all games throughout Memorial Day weekend to honor members of the military who lost their lives serving their country. On Memorial Day itself, MLB will join the National Moment of Remembrance, an initiative the league has participated in since 1997, where all games will stop for a moment of silence at 3 p.m. local time.
The Memorial Day effort is part of MLB's ongoing recognition of veterans, active military and military families. MLB has committed $23 million to Welcome Back Veterans since 2008.
"Major League Baseball considers it both a privilege and a responsibility to honor and assist our troops in any way we can," Commissioner Bud Selig said. "We are proud to support this initiative, and we ask our fans to join us on Memorial Day and beyond in this effort to raise awareness and funds for this important cause."
If you haven't seen the camo collection, then take a look at the MLB.com Shop for the full array. It is pretty dramatic and will command symbolic attention when fans watch on Monday. MLB will donate 100 percent of its net proceeds from sales of the New Era caps and Majestic Athletic jerseys to Welcome Back Veterans as part of its contribution to the program.
Welcome Back Veterans, an apolitical initiative of MLB Charities and the Robert R. McCormick Foundation, provides grants to university hospitals throughout the country that provide post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and traumatic brain injury (TBI) treatment to veterans and their families in a public/private partnership.
Currently, Welcome Back Veterans is funding programs at Weill Cornell in New York City, The University of Michigan, Rush University Medical Center, Duke University, Emory University, UCLA and the Red Sox Home Base Program at Mass General Hospital in Boston.
These institutions are developing new programs and strategies to improve the quality, quantity and access to PTSD and TBI treatment for veterans, particularly those returning from duty in Iraq and Afghanistan.
MLB clubs will have the opportunity to wear the uniforms on other days where they honor the military. There will be one home game in Canada on Memorial Day, and while the visiting Braves will be wearing their USMC digital camo designs in both cap and jersey, the host Blue Jays will wear the camo jersey, but with their batting practice cap featuring the maple leaf design.
Mark Newman is enterprise editor of MLB.com. Read and join other baseball fans on his MLB.com community blog.