The Mobile BayBears, Double A affiliate for the Arizona Diamondbacks, have partnered with Navy Federal Credit Union to take one seat at Hank Aaron Stadium and reserve it for those men and women in the American Armed Forces who never made it home from military action. The seat—located in section 107, row 1, seat 1—is painted black, a striking contrast to the stadium’s regular green seats, is adorned with the powerfully moving POW/MIA logo, and for the rest of days will never have another human being sit in it, a grim,but touching, reminder of those brave souls who gave the ultimate sacrifice for our country.
From the BayBears’ website…
“This is a very special announcement for a number of reasons, 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,” BayBears General Manger Heath Bennett said.
“The Black Seat not only conveys a powerful message to BayBears fans, it allows Navy Federal Credit Union to express our gratitude to the men and women of the armed forces who sacrifice for us everyday,” said Jeanette Mack, Manager of Corporate Communications for Navy Federal Credit Union.
This simple, yet symbolic, gesture by the Mobile BayBears is a tremendous move on their part, and should serve as an example of how teams could and should go about honoring our military heroes. Veteran’s appreciation days and Memorial Day post-game fireworks are nice and all, but this—keeping one seat empty forever to honor fallen soldiers—is worth more than all those other military themed promotions combined.