BRISTOL - The Bristol Blues celebrated our veterans on Sunday night with a Military Appreciation Night at Muzzy Field and the night’s festivities hit especially close to home for outfielder Chris Morris.
“This meant a lot for me,” Morris said after the game. “It meant a lot for my family. My mother and father actually came down from Brooklyn.”
The sophomore out of Manhattan College has a strong personal connection to the military; both of his grandfathers served in the United States military. His maternal grandfather, Herb Dotterweich, served in the Army in the Korean War and his paternal grandfather, Vincent Morris, was in the Navy.
The Blues defeated the Torrington Titans 8-3 on Sunday night and, even though he was not in the lineup, the win was special for Morris.
“Even though I wasn’t able to play, it was just really great to see guys on my team and guys on the other team just leaving it all out there on the field,” Morris said, “because I know that not only my family members but everybody else who served would like to see that.”
As part of the Military Appreciation Night, before the game started, Blues general manager Rick Muntean asked all veterans in attendance to rise as he named the recent wars and, as each group of veterans rose, they received thunderous applause from the sold-out crowd at Muzzy. Following the recognition, there was a moment of silence and the entire stadium fell mute.
Both the observances of the veterans and the fact that the stadium was sold out were astounding to Morris, who was overjoyed by the outpouring of support and enthusiasm of the fans to spend their holiday at the ballpark.
“It was outstanding,” he said. “That moment of silence really touched I’m pretty sure everyone at Muzzy. It was a great thing.
“It’s a holiday weekend and it’s great to see that everybody wants to come and spend their time here. Where I’m from, it’s not really like that. People tend to get into trouble when it’s the holiday season so it’s nice to see that a bunch of people want to get together and be at a baseball game and support a night where we’re just trying to honor a bunch of people who are going out there and serving our country and doing something that we can’t thank them enough for.”
Another part of the special night was the uniforms donned by the Blues. Instead of the regular white jerseys, the Blues wore blue camouflage jerseys with “Support Our Troops” written above the numbers on their backs. While Morris is the only Blues player with close ties to a veteran, the win and night still meant a lot to the rest of the Blues.
“It was a great thing that we were able to do,” Blues manager Pat Riley said. “We appreciate everything the military does and we’re very thankful that we could show some appreciation.”
A lot of what is available to us as Americans is thanks to the dedication and sacrifice of the troops that defend this country. That fact is a constant but earns more attention around this time of year and that was apparent at Muzzy Field on Sunday, as the home-town Bristol fans, along with a bunch of Torrington fans that made the trip, showed their support in a big way.
“People go out there, even kids our age are out there serving in a war right now, risking their life every day,” Morris said. “It’s a really special thing when you see people not taking things like that for granted and really appreciating what they have every single day and just doing the best they can with what they have and not being unappreciative.”
Josh Kestenbaum can be reached at (860) 973-1811 or firstname.lastname@example.org