Some members of the Marlins left on Sunday for 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 first as the Marlins contingent headed for Iraq with a final stop in Kuwait:
Baseball is irrelevant. At least that is the prevalent thought that keeps running through my head. What do I really do for a living? I play baseball. I do the same thing that I did when I was five. I play a game.
The men and women of our armed forces don't have the luxury of playing games. They live in a world different than mine. They live in a world that I know nothing about. I guess it is time to find out how they live, who they are, and what they do. At 10:59 Pacific Standard Time on Sunday, January 24th, my plane takes off for the first leg of a long journey that will take me to a part of the world I never imagined visiting.
I am scared and excited at the same time. I know that there are risks involved on our trip, risks that I can't fully comprehend. These risks are the same for the people I will be visiting, risks that they take every day, some of them for years at a time. I am worried about one week.
My job is not as important as the lowest ranking member of our armed forces, because without their sacrifice, I wouldn't have the opportunity to do what I love for a living in a safe and peaceful country. I am so grateful to the Marlins for providing me with this chance to say thanks to the men and women that deserve it the most.
Both of my grandfathers served in our military, one in the Army and one in the Air Force. I have two cousins that were Marines and another that was a Navy Seal. My dad's brother was in the Air Force. These people are my family, and I hope that they understand that they are my inspiration for this trip.
Talk to you from Kuwait!
-- John Baker .