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Visit with troops makes Sunday especially Super

Visit with troops makes Sunday especially Super

Visit with troops makes Sunday especially Super
MIAMI -- Super Bowl frenzy reached the desert in Bahrain, as members of U.S. military mingled with representatives of the Marlins to watch the NFL's championship game.

Hundreds of soldiers watched the Packers defeat the Steelers, 31-25, in Super Bowl XLV on an 18-foot-by-18-foot screen outdoors on a 60-degree night.

"There are about 75 picnic tables and 300 members of the armed forces, and the Marlins," team president David Samson told MLB.com shortly before kickoff. "We are watching the pregame and we are mingling with the troops, talking about baseball and football.

"They're throwing a football around. They're throwing a baseball around and having a milkshake."

The Super Bowl watch party is the latest event for a contingent from the Marlins during its eight-day visit to honor troops serving in Germany and Southwest Asia.

Along with Samson, players Logan Morrison and John Buck have made the trip, as have special assistants Andre Dawson and Jeff Conine.

"The [troops] are extraordinarily excited that we are here," Samson said. "The opportunity they think they have to watch a game with us is significant. But the funny part is, the opportunity that we have to watch the game with them is even bigger."

In a festive, picnic atmosphere, the troops at the watch party were treated to hamburgers and hot dogs, as well as soft drinks.

"There are milkshakes, hamburgers and hot dogs, and no commercials," Samson said. "On the Armed Forces Networks, there are no commercials."

Also part of the Marlins group are Sean Flynn, senior vice president of marketing; marketing supervisor Boris Menier; Fox Sports Florida game producer John Sulser; and three members of the Marlins Mermaids dance team.

At the watch party, the troops were dressed for a night of football, with many wearing Pittsburgh Steelers and Green Bay Packers attire.

"There are Steelers hats," Samson said. "There are Packers hats. There are Marlins hats, and there are NFL generic hats. It's pretty cool for Bahrain, so everyone has a hat. It's about 62 degrees."

Having representatives from a Major League Baseball team present has touched the troops.

"It's really good just having their appreciation, and for them to let us know that they care," said Chris Giordani, a soldier from South Carolina who attended the watch party. "Just for them to let the little guys know they care, it means a lot. They've been so nice over here. They really seem like they do care, and that's awesome."

After the game, the Marlins contingent will be on the go yet again, as it prepares for another day of visiting military bases.

"Our plan now is to watch this game, go back to the hotel, and we have a half-hour turnaround before we head to our next event," Samson said.

Joe Frisaro is a reporter for MLB.com. He writes a blog, called The Fish Pond. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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