White Sox Play War Games With Service Members Overseas

CHICAGO (CBS) — The White Sox played war games — by satellite — with members of the military stationed overseas in Afghanistan and Qatar.

The Sox hosted soldiers stationed locally, and teamed up with them against teams of players on active duty.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Bob Roberts reports

“Awesome,” said Sox catcher A.J. Pierzynski, one of three players who took part in the two-hour match. “It’s amazing what technology can do for people and how it can connect you.”

Pierzynski and pitchers Chris Sale and Matt Thornton had varying degrees of success. Thornton, in particular, did not want to give up the controls to the soldiers stationed locally. But that was fine with Greg Zinone, founder of the group “Pros vs. GI Joes, which staged the event.

It’s unlike anything else,” he said. “You’re haging out with the guys. It’s almost like you’re their buddies for 30 or 45 minutes.”

Army Specialist Jose Manuel Villa Jr., one of those who participated at U.S. Cellular Field and won the first round in the war games, said the competition was fierce.

“That Qatar One guy was pretty good,” he said.

Pierzynski says everyone had a good time.

“For all they do for us, that we’re able to give them an hour or two of fun and distraction from all they do on a daily basis, then that’s worth it,” he said.

Sox Community Relations Director Christina O’Reilly said the team learned of Pros vs. GI Joes from the Florida Marlins, the only other Major League Baseball team to participate so far, although founder Greg Zinone said the group is working with a number of teams in other professional sports.

The Sox have already set up a rematch at next year’s spring training in Arizona.

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