(Busch Stadium) This social media post from Brayan Pena on Tuesday afternoon caused a double-take…
Im very proud to announce with the support of my wife & family that i will be joining the ARMY RESERVE this off season " God Bless America "
— Brayan Pena (@cuban2727) July 5, 2016
But yes, the St. Louis Cardinals catcher is serious about signing up for the Army Reserves when the season concludes.
“It’s just something that I’ve been feeling for a long time,” he explained before Tuesday’s game against Pittsburgh. “It’s something that I think is the right thing to do. It’s time for me to give something back to this great country. It’s not something that I just woke up and I did it. I’ve been giving it some thought and research. I’m very excited. It’s an honor for me.”
“Him and I, he really gave me a lot of advice,” said Pena. “It’s something that I’ve been waiting for and I just got the call yesterday.”
The call was from the Reserves in Orlando, who explained that while he can be involved, Pena will have to wait until he is no under a Major League contract to actually enlist.
“They told me I cannot be enlisted, but I can go there and do a lot of stuff for our soldiers and stuff like that,” he said. “I can still get the training and everything, but officially I can’t be enlisted.”
“I’m going to have my 2 weeks training and I’m going to go different bases and talk to our soldiers, I can do baseball clinics, I can do a lot of stuff,” said Pena.
“It’s not a game, I know that but sometimes you have to do what you have to do,” said Pena, who became an American citizen six years ago after defecting from Cuba.
Both Mike Matheny and John Mozeliak were encouraging of the show of patriotism by Pena, although Mozeliak qualified that he’s going to have to learn more and fully review the baseball implications of the arrangement.
photo credit: Bill Greenblatt/UPI