MLB Has More than Fireworks this July 4th

Expect more than just baseball and fireworks happening at MLB ballparks this Fourth of July. The patriotic spirit is there in the expected ways–food specials, new merchandise, veterans celebrations—as well as the unexpected (cheap haircuts, really?). Whatever game you choose, it doesn’t get better than Independence Day at the ballpark. And ScoreBig is here to help you save on every ticket to every July 4th game.

Salute the Troops

Major League Baseball honors our men and women in uniform throughout the season, but Independence Day is when they really roll out the red carpet, with priority seating for veterans and getting a few lucky troops onto the diamond during the National Anthem. For all you non-military types, don’t feel left out: You still might get to enjoy the dramatic sight of fighter jets flying over the ballpark. Take that fireworks.

Other teams have come up with less flashy but more creative ways to honor veterans. At Oakland Coliseum, home of the A’s, guys can donate $10 to a military veterans’ charity and get a military-style buzz cut right at the park, courtesy of the hair experts at Sports Clips.

Stars and Stripes Swag

For the seventh straight year, players at July 4th games will don commemorative caps with patriotic elements added to their usual team logos. Some past designs have put patriotism ahead of fashion, but this year’s caps look pretty cool: They come in either red or blue and feature an American flag etched into a star behind each team’s logo. You can grab a cap at the game or order one up online at MLB.com. All sales benefit the Welcome Back Veterans Fund, so each cap comes with a warm, fuzzy feeling, too.

Honoring The Luckiest Man in Baseball History

On July 4th, 1939, Yankees first baseman Lou Gehrig stepped up to home plate at Yankee Stadium for the last time. Wielding a microphone instead of a bat, he delivered the most famous speech in baseball history, calling himself “the luckiest man on the face of the Earth,” even though he was being forced into early retirement by ALS, a disease that would take his life just two years later. The speech became even more famous a few years later, when actor Gary Cooper delivered an even more tear-jerking version of it in the 1942 film Pride of the Yankees.

2014 marks the 75th anniversary of Gehrig’s speech, so Major League Baseball is pulling out all the stops to commemorate it, with ceremonies set to take place in every ballpark around the league with a July 4th home game. They’ll play a special video before each game in which current MLB first basemen will each recite one line from Gehrig’s speech. By the end of it, there won’t be a dry eye in the house.

The Yankees will be on the road on July 4th, facing the Minnesota Twins, so they’ll have an additional Gehrig tribute at the Twins’ home, Target Field. They’ve even immortalized Gehrig’s speech in bobblehead form: The first 10,000 fans at the Yankees-Twins game will receiving their very own Bobblehead Lou, posed in front of a (non-bobbling) microphone stand.

Mascots Join USA

Team mascots love add some patriotic flair to their game-day attire on Independence Day. The Minnesota Twins’ mascot, T.C. Bear, typically dons an Uncle Sam hat and beard. Both the Arizona Diamondbacks’ Baxter the Bobcat and the Washington Nationals’ Screech the Bald Eagle get decked out in military fatigues to salute America’s veterans. And that’s just wardrobe changes. You just might catch other mascots sporting the stars and stripes all over their feathers and fur.

By Andy Hermann for the ScoreBlog

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