BOSTON -- The Red Sox announced Friday that the organization created a new Seats for Soldiers program at Fenway Park, an initiative focused on showing the club's and its fans' appreciation for soldiers' work as part of the United States armed forces.
The Sox will provide season-ticket holders with an opportunity to donate their tickets to members of the armed forces for the July 9 game against the Twins. Members of the organization -- including players Josh Beckett and Tim Wakefield, among others -- will also be donating tickets for the contest.
Red Sox shortstop Julio Lugo said while it's only a small offering for the significant duty soldiers are providing our country, it's a way to show them the team's appreciation.
"For them to be going over there to war, there's no way to repay them," Lugo said. "They go over there, risk their life. The least we can do is that. We should bring all of them over here, watch the games by themselves -- feed them whatever they want."
Team principal owner John Henry said the organization is "humbled and inspired" by the work the U.S. servicemen and women are doing across the world.
"The Seats for Soldiers program will give these hard-working soldiers an opportunity to relax and enjoy America's pastime at America's Most Beloved Ballpark," Henry said in a team news release. "We hope that in some small way, this lets them know how much their dedication and service means to the Red Sox organization and all of our fans."
The Sox will pay tribute to the armed forces throughout the game in July, including a ceremonial first pitch thrown by Michelle Saunders. Saunders, formerly of Chelmsford and Charlstown, Mass., was a four-year captain for the All-Army softball team. She's a recipient of the Bronze Star and Purple Heart for carrying a mortally wounded comrade from a battle site under heavy fire. Saunders broke her back during the process.
Other armed forces members will be included in other pregame and in-game activities.
"If we can make them feel better at least for one day," Lugo said, "then I know it's going to be something special for them."
Mark Remme is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.