Marlins in Iraq

As the Iraq war further slips off the cable news and out of the minds of Americans, the Florida Marlins, of all entities, has reached out and brought some attention to American military forces serving in the country this week.

Florida outfielder Chris Coghlan, the 2009 National League Rookie of the Year, and catcher John Baker made the trek to the middle east this week along with Marlins manager Fredi Gonzalez to visit soldiers in Kuwait and Iraq — Coghlan’s brother, Kevin, has served two terms as a United States Marine in Iraq, so I assume that’s what helped bring forth this trip.

Chris Coghlan
Marlins outfielder Chris Coghlan is in Iraq this week, where his brother, a Marine, has served two terms. (Photo: Danny Wild/

I usually shoot the Marlins a few times each spring in Jupiter, Fla., so I had a chance to see Chris last March when he was still a fairly obscure prospect with the Fish.

Actually pretty funny, according to my colleague, Marlins beat reporter Joe Frisaro, the Marlins went to a hotel steak house for dinner in Kuwait and followed that up with Chinese food the next night.

Chris Coghlan
Chris Coghlan won 2009 National League Rookie of the Year honors with Florida. (Photo: Danny Wild/MLB.ccom)

“One thing I’ve noticed is the country of Kuwait is very westernized,” Baker said. “There is McDonald’s and Pizza Hut. Everybody seems to speak English. Everything is written in Arabic and English.”

John Baker
Marlins catcher John Baker is blogging and Tweeting from Iraq along with teammate Chris Coghlan as the team visits American military forces there. (Photo: Danny Wild/

Four members of the Marlins Mermaids dance squad also made the trip, riding around in Blackhawk helicopters and signing autographs. Use your imagination. Unfortunately I don’t have any photos of them… not that I could possibly top what’s already on the web…

And speaking of the Marines, I’ve re-watching this week one of my favorite mini-series ever, HBO’s Generation Kill, which follows a battalion of 1st Recon Marines in early 2003 during the initial invasion of Iraq. Worth checking out if you can find it, extremely well done.

Go Army, Beat Air Force!!

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