Pictures tell the story from Blackhawk trip over Tokyo
Had an awesome time today on a trip to Camp Zama, a U.S. Army base about 30 miles south of Tokyo, that I was lucky enough to be a part of along with a small crew of Mariners players and a couple other media members.
Dustin Ackley, Justin Smoak and George Sherrill represented the Mariners in a tour of the base, meeting with several hundred service members and their families, signing autographs and taking pictures.
The highlight of the trip was the transportation, a pair of Blackhawk helicopters that flew us from Tokyo to the base, about a 15-minute flight that offered a fabulous view of the sprawling city.
On the way back, the pilot of the chopper the three players were in decided to have a little fun and took the boys for a thrill ride they won’t soon forget. You can read my full story on that here.
I took pictures of everything going on during the tour and figured I’d share some of those on the blog.
Here are the three aviators waiting to board their bird.
This is Ackley in the cockpit, checking out the controls, as Smoak looks on. Smoak, by the way, could barely squeeze into the cockpit and the pilots said there’s a 6-foot-1 height limit on guys flying the Blackhawks.
Here is Smoak checking out the view over Tokyo.
This is what he is seeing out the window, as Tokyo is a massive city that just seems to go forever.
Here is Ackley, already taking deep breaths to steady his nerves. And the pilot hadn’t even started to get crazy yet!
Once on the Army base, the players met with service men and their families, as well as a local youth team. The kids seemed particularly interested in the big hulking first baseman.
George Sherrill talks to a couple of the Blackhawk crew members at the autograph line as the players signed for every service member and family members who came to the event.
Once back at the home base, the players jumped out of the Blackhawk and headed back to their hotel to get ready for the evening’s game against the Yomiuri Giants. And Smoak gave the pilots a big thumbs-up on his way out.