Some members of the Marlins -- including manager Fredi Gonzalez, outfielder Chris Coghlan and president of baseball operations Larry Beinfest -- are on a goodwill mission to Iraq, where they plan on spending time with U.S. troops over the coming week. Marlins catcher John Baker has agreed to serve as a foreign correspondent, sharing his thoughts and observations on the trip by sending occasional updates to Fish Bytes. Here's his latest as the Marlins contingent reached Kuwait on their way to their final destination:
Jan. 25, 2010 -- 36,000 Feet above central Iraq
6:52 AM Pacific Time
5:53 PM "I don't even know the name of the time zone." Time (SWA?)
Wow. I am writing this at the tail end of what has been an extremely long yet somehow pleasant travel day. We were lucky enough to be upgraded to business class, so my seat nearly fully reclined on the second flight. I am on a Boeing 777 and it is a huge plane. From the pictures you can see that it is quite comfortable. Amazingly, the seventeen hours of flying time has not seemed that long. It really hit me when I looked at the in flight monitor and watched the little computerized airplane fly directly over Baghdad and a region marked "Mesopotamia." It is not everyday that I get to be this close to the Cradle of Civilization.
The flights have been uneventful. I read on the first flight and listened to some music on my iPhone. Ona side note, after having this iPhone for less than a week, I don't know how I lived without one. Currently, I am reading Krakauer's "Where Men Win Glory." It is the story of NFL Player turned Army Ranger, Pat Tillman. After 9/11 Pat turned down a 3.6 million dollar contract to enlist in the Army and was killed in action two years later in the Khost region of Afghanistan. He was a victim of friendly fire. I've only just started the book, and it is already a sad story.
The second flight has actually been kind of fun despite its length. Coghlan and I engaged in a spirited debate aboutr life, faith, love, baseball and our motivations for heading out on this adventure. After that he slept. I seriously think he has been asleep for the better part of this flight....like ten hours!! I watched the Tarantino movgie, "Inglorious Bastards." I thought it was great, but like I do most of the time when I watch a Tarantino film, it ends and I feel like about half of it went right over my head.
I'll probably watch another movie in the hotel room tonight, maybe "Food Inc." or perhaps "Facing Ali." I feel like a documentary is somehow appropriate. Anyways, can't wait to get to the hotel, take some of my own photos and keep everyone updated.
-- John Baker (Photo: Baker and Chris Coghlan)
If you want to read more about Baker and the trip, you're invited to visit his personal blog at www.johnbakerbaseball.com or follow him on Twitter at @manbearwolf. Coghlan is also updating the Iraq trip on his Twitter account: @cogz4Christ