LOS ANGELES, Calif. (NBC, KYMA/KECY) - In honor of Veterans Day the Dodgers hosted about 350 pre-selected active-duty service members and veterans for a special batting practice event at Dodger Stadium.
In one of the most iconic stadiums in sports, hundreds of service members took the field and some took a swing.
"I haven't done this since I was about 12 so we're going to see how it goes," said Emmannuel Barnett of the United States Air Force.
Barnett was one of the active-duty service members who showed up for the Dodgers Veterans Day Batting Practice.
"It's actually surreal to be on a baseball field, I didn't know how big it was. To see those guys running around and making plays is impressive," Barnett expressed.
A good reason
The annual event gave Vets the chance to take an up close look at the 2020 World Series trophy and hear from Dodger outfielder Chris Taylor.
"My granddad was a fighter pilot," Taylor shared.
Taylor took questions from service members Saturday. He says it's a good reason to come back to the ballpark in the offseason.
"Think about the things they have done and are doing every day overseas. I think it is important to recognize that and appreciate it. They've made such huge sacrifices so that we can live the lives we live," Taylor explained.
Service members in the Army, Marine Corps, the Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard, and Space Force took part in the event, and though they had their fun, they also took time to reflect the significance of this day.
"Pay homage and respect to those that have served, especially those that have paid the ultimate sacrifice, that's something no corporation or company will ever ask of you, something that most of us aren't willing to do."Gaston Rodriguez, Veteran
Back at home plate, Barnett said these events help push him forward.
"It definitely shows that what we do is appreciated. Sometimes it's hard to get through those tough days, you feel like nobody cares, but seeing stuff like this shows the community actually cares about what people are doing for this country."
One of the other great parts of the event is that the team partnered with the Department of Mental Health to ensure Veterans know about the resources available to them.