By Andrea Uhde
The Cincinnati Enquirer
What's more American than a bunch of fans chomping on hot dogs and sipping beer at Great American Ball Park?
Those same fans waving American flags and cheering as veterans of the war with Iraq throw the ceremonial first pitch of the game.
Baseball, Flag Day and the Army's 228th birthday will converge in a mix of true Americana on Saturday, said Ken Horinko, a spokesman for the Army Accessions Command.
"Army and baseball have had a tie throughout the years," he said. "There have been a lot of players who served in the war."
The Reds and the Army have teamed up to provide spectators at Saturday's game against the Philadelphia Phillies with a red, white and blue bonanza.
Among festivities: 10,000 fans will receive miniature American flags, the 113th Army Band from Fort Knox, Ky., will perform the national anthem, and about 50 soldiers will be recognized as the Army's newest enlistees.
Postcards from the Army's "Support Your Soldiers" program will be available for fans to sign and send to soldiers overseas, and the Army's Cincinnati Recruiting Company color guard will perform.
Sgt. 1st Class Danny Lee Linville and Sgt. Kenny Gutierrez, both of whom recently returned from Iraq and are stationed at Fort Campbell, Ky., will throw out the ceremonial first ball of the game.
"To me, it's a great honor," said Linville, 35, of Clermont County, who spent months in the western desert of Iraq.
"I grew up with the Big Red Machine," he said. "I have a room that has nothing but Cincinnati Reds memorabilia."
The Army was officially created on June 14, 1775, exactly two years before the Continental Congress adopted the American flag. June 14 is now recognized as Flag Day in the United States.
The theme of the celebration is "U.S. Army: At War and Transforming." Including the Reds game, 11 Major League games Saturday are to participate in the celebration. There will also be celebrations at Arena Football 2 games, a National Hot Rod Association race in Columbus and other events.
"I think it's always good to help celebrate the birthday of the Army, since they play such a big part, especially in the last few months," said Molly Mott, corporate services manager for the Reds.
Tickets for the Reds vs. Phillies game Saturday are available at Great American Ball Park ticket windows, the Reds Dugout Shop, at all area Tickets.com outlets, or at www.cincinnatireds.mlb.com. For more information, call the Reds ticket office at 765-7400. Prices start at $9 a person. The game starts at 7:10 p.m.
$1M gets an abode with style at Homearama
Custody fight for Justin at Square 1
Butler resident may have monkeypox
Gay-theme play attracts protest
IN THE TRISTATE
Surrogate delivers twins for Joan Lunden
E-check enemy keeps up heat
Mayor has last word on radio
Heroes' welcome planned for returning Marines
West Nile recurs in Ohio; 31 died last year
Reds, Army celebrate Flag Day
Ruling to let jurors ask questions vindicates judge
Project nurtures minority Ph.D.s
Norwood has blue-light specials
Obituary: William Parchman, 83, founded P&O
Tristate A.M. Report
AMOS: Canceled concert
BRONSON: Kiddie porn
HOWARD: Some Good News
BUTLER, WARREN, CLERMONT
Children Services dismisses employee
Low interest forces Butler Co. ball to be canceled
Chief faces charges
Lawn ornament is globe-trotter
1995 murder probe revived; figurines, other items stolen
Ohio, N.C. lawmakers spar over Wright brothers
Banquet hall makes its debut
Rules tightened on meth cases
Officers adopt new jail policy
Animal lover's gift seeds shelter's building fund
Bishops will confer in private
Admitted killer loses chance for parole