For the second straight year, a Marlins contingent has traveled overseas to visit US troops. They've agreed to share their experiences in periodic blog updates over the coming eight days of the trip to Germany and Southwest Asia. Follow along as we bring you their updates. First up: Marlins president David Samson.
Night 1 -- We have arrived! Our day began at 11 a.m. at Miami International Airport. Our gropu of eleven includes me, Andre Dawson, Jeff Conine, John Buck, Logan Morrison, Sean Flynn, Boris Menier, (3) members of the Mermaid Dance Team -- Kim, Ashley and Naty -- and John Sulser from Fox Sports. We checked our bags and had to pay excess baggage fees because Andre and Kim over-packed. It was a good thing Kim over-packed because Naty's bag did not make it overseas. After check-in, we had our final meal in America in Miami and boarded a plane to Dulles in Washington, D.C. That flight was only 2 1/2 hours. We then got on a 12-hour flight and landed at 4:30 p.m. (local time, 8:30 a.m. this morning), finally arriving in the Kingdom of Bahrain. Before we go there, the plane stopped in Kuwait, where we all had a chance to see the Kuwait Airport during our two-hour layover. We were able to buy some goodies, including Kit Kats, Gummy Bears and, of course, key chains and snow globes (for my daughter, Hannah, who collects them). It was smooth sailing until we got to Bahrain when John's fancy camera (he is filming the entire trip) was not allowed through Customs and Naty's bag got lost. She was very upset until she realized she would be able to go shopping in Bahrain, but then became upset again when she ralized there is no Prada in this Kingdom. We arrived at the hotel and immediately went to work out in the gym. We are all ready for Spring Training, and eveyrone in the gym was staring at Logan and wondering how a professional athlete could be huffing and puffing so much! We just finished dinner and are going to bed because our first Troop visit is at 8 a.m. (midnight Miami time). Lt. Mark Miner and his lovely wife had dinner with us, and told us that the soldiers are incredibly excited to see us tomorrow. He started dinner as a Red Sox fan, but his favorite team is clearly the Marlins. We are all glad to finally be here and are looking forward to tomorrow when we will able to visit Troops. We also plan to play baseball with them. Tensions are high here because of what's going on in Egypt, but we are all very safe in the hands of Armed Forces Entertainment (and it doesn't hurt that their hips are bulging). Speak to you tomorrow. -- David Samson