Marlins group travels from DC to Middle East
Contingent lands in Kuwait before taking short flight to Bahrain
MIAMI -- After flying halfway around the world, the Marlins' contingent visiting military troops settled into its hotel on Friday in Bahrain, grabbed dinner at a Japanese restaurant and readied for a day of baseball and autograph signing.
For the second straight year, the Marlins are working with Armed Forces Entertainment (AFE) to do their part to support those in military service.
To start off the eight-day trek, team representatives will be conducting a baseball clinic for children on Saturday, as well as meeting with troops at several military bases.
"They have set up a baseball clinic at a school nearby," said Marlins marketing supervisor Boris Menier, who is on the trip.
On the trip are outfielder Logan Morrison, catcher John Buck, special assistants Andre Dawson and Jeff Conine, as well as team president David Samson.
Menier, Marlins senior vice president of marketing Sean Flynn, Fox Sports Florida Marlins game producer John Sulser and three members of the Marlins Mermaids dance team round out the group.
"Logan, John Buck, Andre and Jeff Conine will be conducting the clinic, teaching the kids fundamentals," Menier said. "That should be a good experience."
The clinic will be in Bahrain, and it will mark the second straight year Marlins representatives will teach baseball to children in the Middle East. On the spur of the moment last year, team officials held a clinic and autograph session to youth baseball players in Kuwait.
During the 2010 trip, outfielder Chris Coghlan and catcher John Baker were part of the group.
Along with teaching baseball, the Marlins group on Saturday will have breakfast with the troops as well as visit a couple of military bases. At least two autograph sessions have been set up.
The trip started on Thursday, with most of the contingent flying out of South Florida to Washington.
Buck, the Marlins' free-agent catcher acquisition, traveled in from Salt Lake City. Initially, he was scheduled to connect through Chicago, but his flight was canceled due to the rough winter weather in the area. So his connection was changed, and he went through Los Angeles before arriving in Washington.
The contingent spent 12 hours in the air, flying to Kuwait, where there was a two-hour layover before taking a 30-minute flight to Bahrain.
While at the airport in Kuwait, they did some souvenir shopping. Once they arrived at their hotel, the dined at a Japanese restaurant.
Plans remain in the works to have a Super Bowl watch party with the troops, but nothing has been finalized. Due to the time difference, the football game will start about 2:30 a.m. local time.
The visit runs through Feb. 11, and leads in to the Marlins' week-long Caravan.
The majority of the visit overseas will be spent at military bases in Germany and Southwest Asia. Also scheduled is a trip to Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany.
"Our itinerary will get more hectic [on Saturday], when we get up early, have breakfast with the troops and have an autograph session," Menier said.