Big League Stew

MLB to honor Newtown victims, father to throw out first pitch at Rangers home opener

Mark Townsend
Big League Stew

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In a wonderful gesture from Major League Baseball, Commissioner Bud Selig announced on Friday that all 30 teams will be honoring the victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown, Conn during the opening week of the season.

According to Selig's statement, all players, managers, coaches, umpires and on-field personnel will wear a symbolic ribbon patch featuring the official seal of Newtown, along with a black memorial ribbon and a star for each of the 26 victims lining each side of the patch on the first three days of the season. This will begin with the Rangers-Astros opener on March 31 and continue through April 2. There will also be a pregame moment of silence prior to each opener.

In addition, each team will auction an authenticated jersey signed by every player and coach on their respective Opening Day rosters. Those proceeds will go to the Sandy Hook School Support Fund, which was created to provide support services to the recovering Newtown community.

You will also be able to text the word "NEWTOWN" to 80888 to make your own donation.

Those gestures would seem like plenty, but teams are also planning their own specific tributes in addition to those announced by MLB. For example, the New York Yankees will air a special video honoring the victim’s and acknowledging Newtown’s police, firefighters and other responding personnel, prior to their opener against the Boston Red Sox.

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And in perhaps the coolest tribute of them all, the Texas Rangers have invited Robbie Parker, the father of 6-year-old Emilie Parker, one of the victims, to throw out the first pitch at their home opener against the Los Angeles Angels on April 5. Parker is actually a north Texas native and a lifelong Rangers fan, and it’s said his fellow fans have gone above and beyond to raise money in his daughter’s name to help other families affected by the tragedy.

From MLB.com:

"I am so proud to be a Ranger fan, because I know that as a fan, I actually belong to a community," Parker said. "I am glad I was able to share the community with my precious daughter, and that the same community has reached out to her and let our family know that she is remembered and loved. Thank you for all you have done to support our family through this time."

Just awesome. If that doesn’t make you feel good, I don’t know what will. Hats off to those fans for stepping up and helping out one of their own, and hats off to Major League Baseball for keeping the memory of the victims alive.

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