The Padres' role as the "Team of the Military" is a longstanding tradition in San Diego and is respected throughout Major League Baseball.
During the 2011 season, however, the team is featuring something brand new.
Last January, the club unveiled its new digital camouflage jerseys at the Military Appreciation Luncheon preceding the annual Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines.
Padres Heath Bell, Nick Hundley, Mat Latos and Will Venable modeled the jerseys, giving the service men and women in attendance at the luncheon the first glance at the new look. The team, which wears the jerseys for Sunday home games and other special military events, has been sporting camouflage uniforms since 2000.
"We take our involvement with the military extremely seriously," said Padres Vice Chairman and CEO Jeff Moorad. "We believe it's our responsibility to not only honor those who have served and those who are serving, but also to be part of that community and to welcome them into PETCO Park."
The Padres received permission from the Marine Corps to use the design, modeled after the digital camouflage patterns that U.S. Marines currently wear, when Moorad visited Marine Corps leadership, including Commandant Gen. James Conway, during San Diego's road trip to Washington last year.
Replicas of the new camouflage jerseys are available at the Padres Store in PETCO Park. Each one features an official approval from the Marine Corps.
For the past two years, the Padres have supported the San Diego community while honoring the military through a partnership with the Century Club of San Diego and sponsorship of the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines.
The Padres' involvement centers on the tournament's military events, including participation in the annual Military Appreciation Luncheon and sponsorship of the Military Appreciation Pavilion, located on the 14th green at Torrey Pines South. The pavilion, open only to active duty military and their families, serves as popular vantage point for the tournament, with hosted food and beverages.
Also this offseason, the team's Holiday Community Caravan paid a special visit to Wounded Warriors at Naval Regional Medical Center San Diego and presented a check to the San Diego Fisher House. That donation represented a portion of the proceeds raised through the sale of Padres military logo merchandise in 2010.
Continuing their support of the military during the baseball season, the Padres again hosted the annual Military Opening Day on Sunday, April 10 vs. the Los Angeles Dodgers. Throughout the year, the team also arranges player appearances at military bases, provides complimentary tickets to Marine recruits and service members returning home from deployment, offers military appreciation pricing on tickets and conducts on-field re-enlistment ceremonies in addition to many other outreach programs.
Once again in 2011, the Padres and USAA are honoring each branch of the Armed Forces with dedicated Branch Appreciation games. The club has already celebrated the Navy, Army and Marine Corps and will recognize the Coast Guard (July 31 vs. Colorado), National Guard (August 21 vs. Florida) and Air Force (September 18 vs. Arizona) during the second half of the season.
A portion of the proceeds from military logo merchandise sold throughout the year will be donated to the San Diego Armed Services YMCA (ASYMCA), an organization that provides free programs to specifically address the stresses and needs of San Diego troops and their families. In 2010, the ASYMCA offered more than 40 free programs and served more than 8,000 military and their families each month.