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10/12/07 11:51 PM ET
Soldier's family honored at NLCS
Bauer rooting for Diamondbacks from Afghanistan
By Michael Schwartz / MLB.com
PHOENIX -- Somewhere in Afghanistan, Command Sergeant Major John Bauer must be smiling.
While Bauer, a devoted D-backs fan, is fighting a war, his wife and three children lived the thrill of throwing out the ceremonial first pitch before Game 2 of the National League Championship Series on Friday.
"Oh my gosh, they are beside themselves right now," Bauer's wife, Peggy, said of her kids, "and so is my husband. He is so excited for them to be able to do something like this. My son is 3 now, so when he gets older, he'll realize what he just did.
"I'm just thrilled, absolutely thrilled. I can't even describe it."
John Bauer belongs to a group of about 30-40 soldiers called Task Force Diamondbacks, a crew that comes together to watch Arizona games over the Internet during its free time.
The D-backs sent the fans shirts to wear while watching the games overseas, a necessity for the soldiers because they must be dressed in the same civilian clothes while out of uniform. When the unit did not have enough shirts, Bauer requested more and promptly received another order to satisfy everybody in the group.
After watching a story on the family on FOX 10 in Phoenix, prompted by John sending a picture of the troops in their shirts, D-backs president Derrick Hall came up with the idea to have the family throw out the first pitch.
"They're diehard D-backs fans as well," Hall said of the family, which attended Game 7 of the 2001 World Series. "The little son said all he wants is to go to one of the D-back games with his dad. He can't because his dad is going to be gone until December, so we thought the least we could do is have them come out and be a part of this and throw out the first pitch."
That led to the Bauer family -- which includes Jessica, 8, Ashley, 6, and Garrett, 3 -- doing something that most kids their age can only dream of in their very own D-backs uniforms that included their ages as the number on the back of the jersey.
"It's awesome," said Jessica.
"It's cool," said Ashley.
The D-backs showed clips of the FOX 10 story about Bauer on the Jumbotron before the family threw out the pitch, an event that brought tears to Peggy's eyes for the organization to care so much about her story.
"Derrick actually called my house and said he'd be honored for us to come, but it's the other way around," Peggy said. "We're honored to be here."