“They wore spikes, not boots. They wore caps, not helmets. They carried bats and gloves, not rifles.” This is how one reporter described the U.S. Military All-Stars just before they were to play the Boston Red Sox.
Former Red Sox general manager, and previous director of player development for the U.S. Military All-Stars, Dan Duquette, said, “They are the best of the best in the armed forces.”
The organizing committee of the Grand Forks International is very excited to announce that the only military barnstorming team in the world will be making their Canadian debut at the 2012 GFI Tournament. This team was formed in 1990 and travels throughout the United States each summer, playing 100 games in up to 45 States. They have also played in several countries.
Lieutenant Commander of the United States Navy (Ret), Terry Allvord, founded the program 23 years ago and continues to lead this unique team which is made up of all branches of the military. Their players are selected among thousands of personnel worldwide and represent some of the most talented athletes in the armed forces.
They have been called the Harlem Globetrotters of baseball. They are not funded by anyone but take time off their schedule and travel on their own dime. They just love the game of baseball and want to go tour. They may have a catcher that’s part of the Marine Corps and the pitcher might be from the Navy; the second baseman might be part of the Army and the first baseman part of the National Guard. They also try and get first responders involved.
“For this team to be in the lineup at the 2012 GFI for their initial appearance in Canada is remarkable; having the U.S. Military All-Stars accept our invitation is special, and we are appreciative of their willingness to be part of North America’s richest invitational baseball tournament,” said GFI president Gerry Foster.
But wait, that’s not the only announcement for the GFI this month. Foster also let slip that the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) is fielding a team.
UCLA is one of the most familiar names in College sports in the United States. The Bruins, in the major sports of basketball, football and baseball, have a history of excellence and championships and the UCLA Bruins Alumni baseball team will be participating in the 2012 GFI.
This team was started in 2005 and the chief architect behind this squad is legendary UCLA coach Gary Adams.
Adams is the winningest coach in UCLA history. In his 30 years at the helm he led the Bruins to 984 wins, and has a total of 1,172 victories in his college coaching career. He coached 44 major league players while at UCLA (second most in collegiate baseball history) and was inducted into the prestigious NCAA Baseball Hall of Fame in 2004 and the UCLA Hall of Fame last November.
On a separate note of interest Gary Adams has also written several children’s books, including The Ladybug Story and So Flat, So Deep, So Far.
Sharing the leadership of this team is General Manager, Marty Stuka. Marty is a businessman but maintains a heavy involvement in the world of baseball, including the Director of International Baseball Operations for MVP Baseball. He has coached against national teams from 8 different countries and in 1983 he coached the French National Baseball Team in the European Championships.
The UCLA Alumni team makes an international trip each year. Last year they played a series in the Czech Republic. Other trips have included Spain, Italy and Australia. Now in 2012 they will bring their team to James Donaldson Park in Grand Forks. Marty Stuka said a few days ago, “We are getting very excited about the trip to Grand Forks.”
“We also are excited, and very much looking forward to welcoming this team from Los Angeles to our community and tournament,” Foster responded.
The GFI will take place in the last week of August 2012 in Grand Forks.