Soldiers in Asia to baseball players: Get real
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(CNN) -- As a baseball strike loomed Friday, Carol Costello, CNN anchor, talked with CNN Correspondent Ryan Chilcote, who is in Afghanistan with U.S. troops. He talked baseball with them to see how the possible work stoppage plays with them from the distance of their posts in Kandahar.
COSTELLO: Baseball negotiations and the possibility of a strike are stirring up strong emotions for fans here, in the United States, and for those stationed abroad. Many of those American troops serving in Afghanistan are big baseball fans.
One of them wrote us about his current discontent with the sport. He says: "Baseball players need to stop thinking of their two houses and five automobiles, and start remembering 9/11 and become patriots and play for the game. I am a Braves fan and have lived in Atlanta my whole life.
"If the playing conditions are so bad, Tom Glavine can come and stand guard behind one of my M-240B machine guns and see what the price of his freedom really is." Signed "Staff Sgt. Scott Thomas with the 82nd Airborne Division."
Joining us now by videophone from Kandahar is CNN's Ryan Chilcote.
Boy, they are angry out there.
CHILCOTE: Well, it's a hot day here, as you might imagine, at the Kandahar Air Base in southeastern Afghanistan.
With us we have the staff sergeant who wrote that letter and two other paratroopers from his squad, who are big baseball fans and more than a little bit concerned about the possibility of a strike back home -- or maybe we could start with you, staff sergeant.
What inspired you to write that letter?
SGT. SCOTT THOMAS: What inspired us to write it -- or me to write it -- was we kept reading about how they want to go on strike for pay problems, and we thought they played for the love of the game.
And we are here doing our job, doing our duty for far meager wages than what they can make in one game. It just completely seemed unfair to us that they should go on strike for something that they love to do. What would they do if we went on strike?
CHILCOTE: And if you could have a private audience with those baseball players right now and tell them a little about life here in Kandahar and what's different about that from their life, what would you say to them?
SGT. THOMAS: Well, I'd like for them to go out and run a patrol and, you know, feel what it's like to avoid land mines, and wondering if you're going to get shot by snipers the next day or not, whether you're going to come home tonight.
While they're sitting at home wondering how are they going to pitch, or when are they going to hit a next home run, it's just not the same.
CHILCOTE: [Turning to soldier] know you are also a baseball fan. What do you have to say to these guys?
UNIDENTIFIED SOLDIER: Well, I want them to realize that they are living out the dreams of the young kids of America, and they need to realize that the kids look up to them. And it's not really about the money, but you know, it's about having fun, and the kids look up to them, and it's not really about the money.
CHILCOTE: Are you guys able to follow baseball over here?
UNIDENTIFIED SOLDIER: Not as much as we'd like. We're hoping that no matter what happens, we'll get to watch baseball, whether it's AAA players or the actual players [themselves.]
CHILCOTE: All right, well, like I said, we have three paratroopers from the 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment of the 82nd Airborne. These men are very concerned about the possibility of a strike. They say that that would not be a very American thing to do.
Back to you -- Carol.
COSTELLO: I think many people agree with them. Thank you, Ryan Chilcote, by videophone from Kandahar, Afghanistan this morning.
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