Minor league team will permanently leave seat vacant to honor missing troops

Mike Oz
Big League Stew

Here's a seat you won't be able to buy on Stubhub: It's Section 107, Seat 1, Row 1 inside Hank Aaron Stadium in Mobile, Ala., where the Mobile BayBears play their games.

The BayBears — the Double-A affiliate of the Arizona Diamondbacks — are making the seat a tribute to U.S. troops who were stationed overseas and never returned home. They're painting the seat black, adding the POW/MIA logo and permanently leaving the seat unoccupied, as a reminder of one of freedom's gravest costs.

In an era where probably every baseball team has a "Veterans Night" or five, this is something more captivating and impactful than offering veterans a dollar off a game ticket and a hot dog. In a press release, general manager Heath Bennett said:

"First and foremost, we wanted to find a way in our ballpark to permanently recognize the sacrifices of those who protect our freedom. There is a strong military influence in this region and that made finding the right way to show our respect very important to our staff. The seat in Section 107, Row 1, Seat 1 is now a tribute seat that will never be sat in, but it will never be empty."

Way to hit a home run right into our feelings, Mr. Bennett.

Navy Federal Credit Union is a partner in this, and it's also sponsoring "Tribute to Our Troops," a season-long commitment to providing complimentary BayBears tickets to active, reserve and retired members of the military.

This is usually the point in a post where we'd make a joke. But we won't do that here. Instead, we'll just say "thank you."

BLS H/N: AL.com

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