Colonel's son Baker appreciates Memorial Day game
WASHINGTON -- Memorial Day is more than a one-day event for Marlins infielder Jeff Baker.
"To come out here and play baseball for a living, I'm very appreciative of it," Baker said. "I like to think that Memorial Day is kind of an every-day thing, not just today."
Baker was born to a military family in Germany, and the 32-year-old has lived in more places around the world than he can remember.
Baker's father, Larry, attended the United States Military Academy in West Point, N.Y., spending more than 20 years in the Army before retiring as a colonel. Today he is a teacher at Gar-Field High School in Virginia.
Growing up, Baker lived in West Point, Norfolk, Va., Egypt, Kuwait, Abu Dhabi, Key West and Colorado Springs. There could have been more stops along the way, but off the top of his head, Baker couldn't recall.
Major League Baseball has made recognizing Memorial Day a tradition. To commemorate the day, the Marlins sported camouflage caps and uniforms on Monday at Nationals Park.
"I think it's great," Baker said. "Whether it's the Fourth of July, Memorial Day, Mother's Day, Father's Day -- the platform that we have, with the television exposure, the media outlets, the social media, the whole nine yards -- we're able to recognize this stuff and maybe help get people aware of whatever it is. Whether it is breast cancer, Memorial Day, the troops, all of that stuff.
"Major League Baseball has a responsibility. I think we're doing a better job, and I hope to see it continue, continue and continue. Keep doing it. Whether it's the hats, the jerseys, the pink bats or whatever, I think all that stuff is great."
Because of how much military life means to Baker, playing at Nationals Park was fitting on Memorial Day.
"I'm really excited. D.C. is home for me," he said. "I'm sure there are going to be a lot of people out there, a lot of people in the military, former and present. I'm always excited to take part in it today.
"The big thing for me, growing up in a military family, you kind of realize that basically every day is kind of Memorial Day. You have friends and family who are affected, whether they are overseas now or someone has given up their life for us to live the way we live today."